Swim ‘n’ bear it: Kootenay Co-op Radio is gearing up for the fourth annual Polar Bear Swim fundraiser Wednesday, Jan. 1 at noon. Photo: Rand Al-Hashmy

Brrrrring in the New Year with the Polar Bear Swim

Kootenay Co-op Radio teams up with local stewardship groups for annual dip

Submitted by Kootenay Co-op Radio

Bundle up in your bikini and bathing trunks — then get out there and raise a few bucks for three worthwhile West Kootenay volunteer organizations.

The countdown is on for Kootenay Co-op Radio’s annual Polar Bear Swim fundraiser, slated for Nelson’s Lakeside Park, Wednesday, Jan. 1, with festivities starting at 11 a.m.

KCR 93.5FM is teaming up with the Friends of Kootenay Lake and the youth group Fridays for the Future for this year’s swim.

“We take great pride in bringing this fun, family friendly event to the community, that’s what it’s all about,” says KCR board chair Jeff Flood. “But the dip is also an important fundraiser for our three groups. We’re asking participants to encourage their friends, co-workers and family to pledge funds for them to, well, literally go jump in the lake.”

Dippers can gather pledges as individuals or as a team. Pledge forms and volunteer inquiries can be picked up at KCR, on Hall Street across from the Nelson and District Community Complex, or by emailing admin@kootenaycoopradio.com.

The Fridays for Future youth organization has spearheaded recent climate change awareness rallies in town. The Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society is dedicated to sustaining a healthy Kootenay Lake for future generations.

Friends of Kootenay Lake spokesperson Paige Thurston estimates that the lake temperature will be a balmy 4 C.

“That might feel cold to us,” says Thurston, “but that temperature is in fact very comfortable for lots of other fish and wildlife.”

For those a bit daunted by the chill, there’ll be hot chocolate, chili, propane heaters and medical staff too.

Feel free to wear your favourite costume, or darn near nothing at all — volunteers are hoping to beat the record of 100 swimmers this year. Prizes will be given out to swimmers who raised the most funds, as well as those donning the best costumes.

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