Freezin’ Polar Plunge at Camp CaPella | Community Spirit

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Freezin’ Polar Plunge at Camp CaPella

Sunday, February 6

Donations to Benefit Camp Sunshine and Camp CaPella

DEDHAM, January 28 – At 1:00 p.m. Sunday, February 6 on Phillips Lake in Dedham – home of Camp CaPella – ridiculously brave volunteers will plunge into ice cold water in frozen Phillips Lake to demonstrate their bizarre mindsets and raise funds for Camp Sunshine and Camp CaPella at the awesome annual Polar Plunge.

Plungers, shocked spectators and the nonpartisan news media are invited to witness the polar opposites of human warmth and spontaneous, willful human refrigeration.  All contributions from plungers, visitors and sponsors will be donated either to Camp Sunshine (for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families) or Camp CaPella (for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities).

Before and after jumping into the freezing water, polar plungers may lounge around in a hot tub provided by Sand Dollar Spa and Pool in an attempt to regain their sanity within a few seconds.  The Dedham Fire Department Cold Water Rescue Team will be onsite and ready to respond if needed.  Hot chocolate, coffee, hot dogs, pizza, sandwiches and snacks (providers include Angelo’s Pizza and Beef O’Brady’s) will be available to plungers for free and for spectators by donations.  Sponsors also include Machias Savings Bank.

Visitors can park at the Lucerne Inn next door to Camp CaPella or at Dedham School, with shuttles riding to and from the campground courtesy of Rent-a-Wreck.  No parking will be allowed on the access road to Camp CaPella or at the camp.

Joe Dowling – a volunteer at Camp Sunshine, member of the fundraising committee for Camp CaPella and a member of the Kiwanis Club of Hamden that sponsors this event – will once again dare to plunge in the Polar Plunge this year, as he has for all too many years in the past.

“For many years Camp Sunshine has been promoting these Polar Plunge events in various locations,” recalls Joe Dowling.  “Camp CaPella is the perfect place for the Polar Plunge into a hole in Phillips Lake that is otherwise frozen over.  But because a bunch of us will jump into the freezing cold water, many more folks will make donations to one of these camps,” Dowling explains.  “It’s crazy fun, but donations will help children with disabilities and life-threatening illness have fun at camp in warmer weather this summer.”

Dana Mosher, executive director at Camp CaPella, himself banishes any thought of making his own Polar Plunge, though he sings the praises of those who do.  “Maybe they’re a little loony, but it’s a great comedy to see for yourself.  And it’s all for a good cause – our collaboration between two camps – so maybe we can help by heating up the conversation.”

Pledges for the Polar Plunge can be made online at the Camp Sunshine website, (or call 659-0437), and pledge forms may be printed out from the Camp CaPella website (  Plungers will also have the choice to make pledges for Camp CaPella or Camp Sunshine.

Located on Phillips Lake in Dedham, or Lucerne-in-Maine (12 miles from Bangor, 13 miles from Ellsworth), Camp CaPella ( provides quality-of-life experiences for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities, one of only two camps in Maine serving the disabled.

Founded in 1984 and nestled on 23 acres alongside Sebago Lake, Camp Sunshine ( remains the only program in the nation whose mission is to provide respite, support, joy and hope to children with life-threatening illnesses and their immediate families through various stages of a child’s illness. Year-round week-long camp sessions are free of charge to 1,200 families each year, including 24-hour onsite medical and psychosocial support, with programs recommended by more than 100 treatment centers nationwide. Since its inception Camp Sunshine has provided a haven for more than 28,000 family members from 47 states and 17 countries.