SOUTHINGTON – Teams are forming for the 17th annual Sloper Plunge, which will see groups leaping into the chilly waters of Sloper pond. The event helps raise money so families in need can send their children to Camp Sloper this summer.
The Sloper Plunge will be held Saturday, Feb. 26 at 1 p.m. at YMCA Camp Sloper at 1000 East St. This year, the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA is hoping to raise $80,000 to provide financial assistance for families hoping to send their kids to Camp Sloper.
Mark Pooler, CEO of the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA, said this is his favorite time of year due to the “great buzz” around the Sloper Plunge.
Last year, the Sloper Plunge took place with no spectators and teams jumping 30 minutes apart due to covid-19 restrictions at the time. This year, spectators will be welcomed back.
“Last year was great, but we missed the fans cheering people on and the community feeling as teams congratulate each other when they come out of the water,” Pooler said. “We plan on having it back in person this year and we will continue to monitor and see where things end up. Hopefully, we will all be able to gather safely outside with protocols in place to keep people safe.”
Pooler said the Sloper Plunge always receives “wonderful” community support.
“Everyone seems to really rally around the cause of sending kids to camp, especially after the last couple of years and the challenges for kids with the pandemic,” he said.
Justin Hubeny, outdoor center director at YMCA Camp Sloper, said the Sloper Plunge is a “staple” fundraiser in town, which plays “a huge role in sending kids to day camp during the summer.
“All children deserve the opportunity to experience the magic of summer camp. The Sloper Plunge gives children the opportunity to come to camp who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to,” he said.
People can find a list of teams they can support at sccymca.org/sloperplunge. This year, 13 teams are participating.
A new team this year is “Team Brian – Making it Happen,” which was established in memory of late former Board of Education Chair Brian Goralski, who died Sept. 2 following a battle with cancer. The team is chaired by Brian Goralski’s wife, Cathy Goralski, and his children Andrew and Jessica.
“Anyone who knew Brian knew that his personal, civic and professional life primarily centered around children and youth,” Cathy Goralski said. “They all know that Brian was always ‘all in.’ Our team’s hope is that donors will emulate the spirit of these two values, not only to honor Brian’s legacy, but most importantly to generously donate to this amazing community effort that helps to send children to camp.”
Other participating teams include the Southington YMCA and Cheshire YMCA, Southington Police and Fire, Southington Public Schools and Cheshire Public Schools, Southington Politicians and Cheshire Politicians, Southington High School Football, Team Lake Compounce, Leaping Ladies and Hartford HealthCare.
Those interested in joining a Southington team can email Pooler at email@example.com. He can then connect people to the team or captain of their choice. To join a Cheshire team, email Doug Levens at firstname.lastname@example.org. Participants must by 18 years old, able to swim and able to collect $100 donations.
This year's Sloper Plunge is sponsored by title sponsor Maximum Sound & Security as well as East Coast Mechanical, Inc., All Waste and The Fire Place.
“The Sloper Plunge is one of my favorite events in Southington,” said Ralph Campochairo, owner of sponsor Maximum Sound & Security. “It is a great cause and what is better than helping kids and families in need. I choose to support the event because I know the YMCA does good stuff for our community.”
The YMCA is currently looking to secure additional sponsors. For more information on sponsorships, email Julie Gianesini at email@example.com.
To make donations in support of the Sloper Plunge, visit sccymca.org/sloperplunge or mail a check made out to the Southington Community YMCA to: Southington Community YMCA Attn: Julie Gianesini 29 High St. Southington, CT 06489. Those who mail in checks are asked to note “Sloper Plunge” in the memo field.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.