Kay Trice has perfect attendance for Santa Swim
CAMBRIDGE — For Dorchester County resident Kay Trice, the annual Santa Swim event, where community members brave the cold and wade into the Choptank River in support of the Care and Share fund of Dorchester County, is a holiday.
Trice, who recently retired from her position at the Dorchester County Social Services Department, has been involved in the Santa Swim since its inception. The first time the Santa Swim took place, it hardly had a following, she said.
“It was a blowing, gusty day, just bitter cold, and I think there were maybe close to 20 participants,” Trice said. “It ended up being fun; I still have my gift of a red towel. It was the very first year and we had white caps.”
Care and Share fund of Dorchester County was formed initially through the Department of Social Services’ volunteer coordinator — one of the reasons Trice decided to participate in Santa Swim, she said. Trice said in earlier Santa Swims, she would gain supporters around the office.
Trice said she would like to start visiting local businesses to ask for individual support for the swim and likely will be able to do so for the event’s 18th annual swim Saturday, Dec. 8. Trice should have little trouble finding funding, as she was the top individual contributor in 2016 with $500.
Just how much money has Trice raised in her 18 years of participating in Santa Swim?
“Oh, I would have no idea. I’ve never kept track of it,” Trice said.
Trice said she has continued to come back to support the event every year because she enjoys it and enjoys supporting her local community.
“I enjoy the camaraderie,” Trice said. “You get a warm feeling inside before you ever hit the water talking to the other Santa participants before you go in . ... It was meant to help people in the community who, through no other services, help them with needs that they might have.”
Individuals and groups have been gathering sponsors for the Santa Swim. The Santa Swimmers will be wading into the Choptank at 10 a.m. with registration beginning at 9:15 a.m.
In 2017, 50 people plunged into the Choptank River during the snowstorm, raising $25,000 to the Care and Share Fund of Dorchester.
The participants raised $10,000 alone the day of the Santa Swim in 2017.
The Care and Share Fund, in addition to the holiday programs, provides aid to people who have critical needs that public sources do not meet. Care and Share also provides help with prescriptions, utility payments to prevent cutoff and medical equipment, and offers a variety of other services.
Participants of the Santa Swim will be competing for first place trophies in the following categories: individual, team, organization and business.
A Santa Swim team is a group of individuals who raise funds together. Teams may choose to take the plunge together, or “promote” a captain to take the plunge. The rules do warn: “Throwing a member of the team into the river does not constitute the selection of a captain.”
Each Santa will receive a Santa Claus hat on the day of the Swim. Santa’s elves will be on hand to give a towel to each Santa to wrap up in when they get out of the water.
There will be a “survivors’ celebration” immediately following the swim. In addition to the entertainment provided at that celebration, prizes and awards will be handed out.
The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake resort supports the swim in numerous ways, including donating food to the celebration after the swim, providing soup, hot and cold beverages and other refreshments to swimmers.
For more information about the Santa Swim, visit www.careandsharefund.org.
Kay Trice raised $500, the most by any individual, for the 16th annual Santa Swim in Cambridge in 2016.