From the community

WCCC Polar Bear Dippers are Ready to Take the Plunge

Posted Jan. 15, 2014, at 8:27 p.m.

CALAIS _ There will be a lot of love at this year’s 14th annual Washington County Community College dip because the theme is Valentine’s Day.

The event is sponsored by the Student Senate and the motto this year is “Cupid’s Plunge.”

The WCCC Student Senate held a contest and this year’s design was created by WCCC student Logan Dubay. She won a WCCC three-credit course valued at $265.

The dip is at noon on Friday, January 31, at Split Rock on the Pleasant Point Reservation.

New this year is how the proceeds will be divided. Half will to go to the Ronald McDonald House in Bangor and the other half to Sarah’s House in Brewer.

Again this year, WCCC Culinary Art’s students will hold their annual Chili Cook-Off contest.

The Maine National Guard will be on hand with snacks and tents where swimmers can change their clothes and get warm once the dip is over.

Looking ahead to the dip, Karen Gookin, director of Residential Housing and Student Senate advisor said she hoped for good weather. In the past, temperatures have ranged from a bone-chilling below zero to above 20 degrees and to a knock-down drag out snowstorm that delayed last year’s dip. But once again there will be a huge bonfire to keep everyone warm.

Participants from both sides of the international border including from St. Stephen and St, Andrews, New Brunswick are expected to participate again this year.

Last year’s dip raised more than $13,000. That amount was down from years past because the snowstorm forced the event to be delayed by a week. As a result some of the plungers who participate annually were unable to attend.

“Of course we are hoping to beat last year’s amount, but if we raise just $1 it will be 50 cents more for each beneficiary than they had before “Dip Day,” Gookin said.

For 13 years, the money raised from the dip has been donated exclusively to the Ronald McDonald House to help families of children who travel to Bangor for critical medical treatment. The Ronald McDonald House was founded in 1983 and has provided lodging to more than 15,000 families with seriously ill children. Each year upwards of 500 families stay at the house with more than half of them from either Washington or Aroostook counties.

But with the announcement last year of the construction of a housing facility in Brewer for adults in need of cancer treatment, the Student Senate decided to donate proceeds to both agencies.

“According to its fact sheet, on any given day CancerCare of Maine sees upwards of 300 patients and of those, more than 130 travel 30 or more miles each way to receive cancer services. Although each patient’s treatment is unique, it is not uncommon for some patients to visit the facility as much as 40 times in the first year for treatment.

Translating those numbers locally, in Washington County on average more than 675 patients each year require three of more weeks of treatment and live 80 plus miles from the site.

Those who wish to participate in the dip can pick up their sponsor forms at the college or on the school’s web site at www.wccc.me.edu. Those who turn in pledge sheets with $75 or more will receive a hooded sweatshirt with this year’s Polar Bear Dip design on the back to commemorate their adventure. Please make checks payable to WCCC Polar Bear Dip.

In 2013 Washington County Community College was ranked one of “America’s Top 50 Community Colleges” by Washington Monthly. WCCC was named number 24 out of 700 community colleges nationwide.

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