The steps to becoming a member of the prestigious polar bear club are really quite simple. First, you wake up in time to be at the top of the beach stairs by 7:05 in the morning. Then, you ensure that the lifeguard leading the polar bear dip has your name written down, as proof that you have done it – otherwise you might be missed on the list. After making it down the stairs, line up at the edge of the water, and wait for the countdown! Next, you get to run into the water, make sure you dunk your head, and run back out as quick as possible (before the cold really hits you). A tip I have learned over the years was to have someone holding a towel ready for when you emerge from Lake Huron soaking wet. Finally, dry off and go get changed before chapel!
If you do this four of the six mornings during your week at camp, you have made it. Congratulations on making it all the way to the Polar Bear Club! At the end of the week closing campfire, you will receive your Polar Bear Certificate, and prize – usually a freezie, to proclaim your dedication to the cold.
However, the real incentive to being a member of the Polar Bear Club is the experience. Lake Huron is usually the stillest, calmest, and clearest at this early hour. Jumping in is often a highlight of my week.
Ever since my first year as a camper, and every year since, I’ve been a part of the Polar Bear Club. When I search, I can even find my old certificates lying around. I can remember how proud I was of those certificates, and have been so privileged to have the opportunity to hand them out this year.
This year, we had over 100 campers in the Polar Bear Club!
Congratulations to everyone who was a part of it, and I hope you all challenge yourself to do it at least once next summer!