SOUTHINGTON — The Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA has postponed its annual Sloper Plunge for one week, pushing the date to March 6.
“We realize this is not ideal and we may lose some plungers due to the date change…however we need to keep in mind the health and safety of all for this event,” said an announcement of the delay on the YMCA website.
The event, which raises money for the YMCA’s Camp Sloper, was originally scheduled to take place today at Sloper Pond.
Mark Pooler, YMCA chief executive officer, said the delay is due to expected inclement weather over the weekend. While the YMCA normally would have tents and pavilions where plungers could warm up and shelter from any rain, due to COVID-19 precautions that was not possible this year.
“Unfortunately it’s supposed to be a 98 percent chance of rain … and while some of the plungers are just going to be there for a quick in and out … we just have to keep the health and safety of everyone in mind,” he said.
In addition to staff and volunteers from the YMCA, Pooler noted that firefighters volunteer to be on hand for over five hours to ensure that plungers are safe, which he did not want to ask them to do in the rain.
“It gives us one more week of fundraising and next weekend the weather’s looking much better,” Pooler said.
Around 200 plungers had registered for the event, which will be spread out over five hours to abide by state pandemic guidelines which prohibit more than 50 people attending an outdoor gathering at once.
The event typically sees plenty of spectators lining the waterline to cheer plungers on, but this year those not participating will be asked to watch from home via a livestream that the YMCA will have online.
The plunge, which is usually held in January, had already been moved once to give teams more time to recruit plungers and get organized. Local businesses and organizations — including Lake Compounce, the Southington Board of Education and Cheshire YMCA — form teams to jump into the water together, with each member asked to raise at least $100 towards the $50,000 goal. The money is used to help campers in need.