Freezin’ for a reason
Plungers raised over $10,000 for new Dildo playground during polar dip
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.
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.
Plungers dart out of the water after their cold saltwater dip to raise money for a local playground.