The Hobby Horse House at 208 South Mauvaisterre is organizing a “polar plunge” into the lake at the public beach on February 23rd to help fund its activities.
Executive director Lecie Brannan explains that the non-profit organization’s main reliance on state funding created the need for fundraisers like this one.
“Due to budget cuts at the state level, all not-for-profits are having to do more fundraising in order to be able to continue providing the services that our clients really need,” she says. “So we decided to do a lot of different fundraisers throughout the year.”
Services offered at Hobby Horse for families and children include supervised visits, private adoptions, private counseling, student mentoring, positive parenting class, and work with foster children. Hobby Horse is developing another parenting class for children with special needs.
There is an entrée fee of $50 if you do want to help by jumping into the lake. College and high school students would pay $30. Brannan says participants don’t have to have sponsors, but it would help.
“The more people you have sponsoring you, the more people are going to come out and watch you, which will create a bigger crowd and make it a more well-attended event and generate lots of excitement,” says Brannan.
Brannan predicts no matter how warm or cold it is three weeks from tomorrow, the water will still be cold.
“They don’t have to jump all the way in; they can get in just up to their ankles. Whatever they feel like they can tolerate, whatever they’re brave enough to do,” Brannan says. “We will have hot drinks and food afterward and we will be offering t-shirts and prizes for those people who raise the most money. We are going to have a contest [where] we’d like for people to dress up and come up with some safe costumes to wear in the water.”
There will be two divisions in the polar plunge- student and adult. Brannan says MacMurray and Illinois Colleges will compete to see which school raises more money.
The Morgan County Search and Rescue Team will be present in case anyone needs help getting out of Lake Jacksonville.
The event later this month will start at 10 a.m. Those with questions about the plunge and how to get involved can call the Hobby Horse House at 243-7708 or stop by during regular business hours.