Freezin’ for a rea­son

Plungers raised over $10,000 for new Dildo play­ground dur­ing po­lar dip

The Compass - - THE COMPASS - BYMELISSA JENK­INS SPE­CIAL TO THE COM­PASS

The sun was shin­ing, but the breeze was cool May 4 when 18 res­i­dents from the Trin­ity Bay town of Dildo ran into the ocean to raise money for a new play­ground for the com­mu­nity.

Two ad­di­tional plungers had fam­ily com­mit­ments, and plunged the night be­fore.

The salt­wa­ter was at only two de­grees, but men and women faced the unique chal­lenge with ex­tremely suc­cess­ful re­sults — more than $10,000.

Cars lined the road, putting traf­fic at a grid­lock, while more than 200 res­i­dents, al­most half of them chil­dren, gath­ered around the brave par­tic­i­pants.

The Dildo Recre­ation Com­mit­tee has been work­ing hard for just over a year to raise the money for the play­ground, hop­ing to have the $80,000 by July 28, the ex­pected build date.

The af­ter plunge to­tal was some $60,000.

Com­mit­tee pres­i­dent and Dildo res­i­dent An­gela Reid has been a part of the fundrais­ing ef­forts since it be­gan.

“Since we’ve formed the com­mit­tee, we have had enor­mous num­bers (come out) for ev­ery sin­gle event we have had,” she said.

All about the kids

Reid has two chil­dren that will ben­e­fit from it when fin­ished, es­pe­cially her el­dest daugh­ter Sa­man­tha who is seven. Her other daugh­ter is 16-months-old

“When we have to get into a car and drive Sa­man­tha to a play­ground, it’s a big dif­fer­ence from be­ing able to put on her shoes and walk there,” she said.

Jackie Thorne is also a com­mit­tee mem­ber, and mother of 16-month old Phillip. She is also ex­cited for her son to have the chance to play in the neigh­bour­hood.

“My lit­tle boy is go­ing to en­joy this play­ground for years to come,” she elated.

Mother of two, Jessica War­ren, feels the ex­cite­ment when­ever her chil­dren men­tion they are get­ting a play area.

“My daugh­ter Lilly says ‘ Go play­ground!’ and my son Joshua is ex­cited to run around and play pre­tend with his friends,” she said.

The neigh­bour­hood has con­tin­u­ously sup­ported this event be­cause it is for the chil­dren.

“We are all so ex­cited to see this be­come a re­al­ity,” noted com­mit­tee mem­ber and mother, Cindy Reid.

Tak­ing the plunge

Some plungers dressed in an­i­mated at­tire, in­clud­ing hula skirts, funny hats and in­flat­able swim rings, while two men painted Hello Kitty on their faces. Some even donned shirts that said, “Freezin’ for a rea­son.”

This light­hearted ap­proach at­tracted many kids, who con­tin­ued to laugh and cheer af­ter the plunge con­cluded.

Mo­ments be­fore the event started, the com­mit­tee an­nounced there was an or­ange buoy about a hun­dred feet out that held a sur­prise and the swim­mer brave enough to re­trieve it would get to keep it.

Matthew El­ford was the dar­ing win­ner of four live lob­sters.

“I think peo­ple did (the plunge) be­cause they are think­ing of the big­ger pic­ture,” Reid sug­gested. “Ev­ery sin­gle one of them has an enor­mous heart.”

Nam­ing the play­ground

The dip took place in Dildo Cove di­rectly across from the fu­ture home of the fa­cil­ity.

This land pre­vi­ously be­longed to for­mer Dildo res­i­dent Bill Pretty.

His wife Ce­cily gave the land to the com­mit­tee in mem­ory of her late hus­band for the vol­un­teer work he had done over his life­time in Dildo, in­clud­ing get­ting an out­door pool and other recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties for the chil­dren in the town.

The com­mit­tee de­cided to call the play­ground the “Bill Pretty Me­mo­rial Play­ground,” to re­mind res­i­dents of his ded­i­ca­tion to the recre­ational com­mu­nity and to the chil­dren.

Thorne’s boyfriend, also named Phillip, passed away when she was seven months preg­nant. He was a huge sup­porter of the play­ground and wanted to be a part of the com­mit­tee.

“We have an an­nual event ev­ery year in Phil’s hon­our, and there will be a piece of equip­ment erected in the play­ground in his mem­ory,” she ex­claimed.

A plot of land ad­ja­cent to the prop­erty was also do­nated to the com­mit­tee to al­low for a larger play area.

Do­na­tions and sup­port

There was plenty of com­mu­nity sup­port from res­i­dents and busi­nesses alike since the pro­ject com­menced last year.

“Most events we’ve had have been to ac­tively raise money for the play­ground, so peo­ple have been com­ing out just to try and help us reach our goal,” Reid ex­plained. “Just be­ing in ru­ral New­found­land, peo­ple want things to do, they want places to go.”

She says the town is get­ting the play­ground at an ex­cel­lent price through a lo­cal busi­ness, and Rona has of­fered to de­liver the ma­te­ri­als free of charge.

The pro­ject has brought the com­mu­nity to­gether, and fam­i­lies hope it will do the same with their chil­dren.

“It is not only a place for our chil­dren to play, but a place for them to de­velop friend­ships and mem­o­ries that will last a life­time,” War­ren said.

“I think the en­tire town is feel­ing the ex­cite­ment at this point. The chil­dren are go­ing to have so much fun,” added Natasha Trainor, com­mit­tee mem­ber and mother of two.

Other events

The com­mit­tee will also be hold- ing a “Miss the green” golf tour­na­ment in aid of the play­ground at Pitcher’s Pond Golf Course in White­way June 8.

Their sec­ond an­nual dessert and silent auc­tion will take place at the Lion’s Club in Dildo — last year’s event raised over $7,000.

melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

Sub­mit­ted pho­tos

Plungers dart out of the wa­ter af­ter their cold salt­wa­ter dip to raise money for a lo­cal play­ground.

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