One of the most popular events of the year, the 15th annual Chicago Polar Plunge, returns to the icy waters of Lake Michigan for one fun-filled morning and all in the name of an incredible cause. Last year, nearly 3,400 participants dipped their toes in or went waist high into Lake Michigan, in an effort to raise funds for the programs and athletes of Special Olympics Chicago. Known for its festive costumes and courageous participants, prizes will be awarded to top three individual fundraisers, top team fundraiser, best three individual costumes, best group costume! All participating Plungers will receive free parking at Lincoln Park Zoo or a free bus for groups of 20 or more; a souvenir t-shirt; warm towel when exiting the water; free photo downloads; and complimentary food at the “Melt Down Party.”
Once the dive is concluded, all are invited to a “Melt Down Party” which will take place inside the North Avenue Beach boathouse and in expanded heated tents from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free and participants will receive free food and non-alcoholic beverages.
New this year, Chicago Polar Plunge supporters will have the chance to get involved without leaving their warm and cozy homes by taking part in the “Virtual Polar Plunge.” Participants are encouraged to fill an ice tub and jump in their own cold “lake” for Special Olympics Chicago.
Special Children’s Charities has been supporting Special Olympics Chicago programs since 1969. Created by Jack McHugh, Special Children’s Charities’ primary mission is to promote, foster and encourage physical and mental health and improvement for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and closely related developmental disabilities.
In cooperation with the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools and Special Olympics Illinois, Special Children’s Charities is committed to providing year-round sports training, recreational and social programs for the children and adults of Special Olympics Chicago. The Special Olympics mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Special Olympics Chicago is one of 17 areas of Special Olympics Illinois offering training and competition in 22 sports. Athletes learn fundamentals, rules and strategies from their coaches during a training period prior to competition. Competitions are held at the area, regional and state levels. The first International Special Olympics Games were held on July 20, 1968 at Soldier Field in Chicago. Since then, Special Olympics Chicago has grown to serve more than 5,000 athletes, offering year-round sports training and competition in 22 sports.
Special Olympics Chicago consists of more than 5,000 athletes, participating in 22 sports training and competition events. We have training locations throughout the Chicago area, working with the Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Schools. Special Olympics Chicago would not exist today without the time, energy, dedication and commitment of hundreds of volunteers throughout the city. Special Olympics relies on its dedicated volunteers. Special Olympics’ energetic and dedicated volunteers are all ages and skill levels, including: students, senior citizens, business people, family members of athletes, amateur and professional athletes and coaches, Chicago civic leaders, teachers and others.