December 31, 2013 - 1:00 PM
VERNON - Angela Yablonski hasn’t taken a dip in Kalamalka Lake in years—she’d rather float above the surface at home in her swimming pool. Yet somehow, she’s found herself not only organizing a Polar Bear Swim, but taking the plunge as well.
Yablonski, who owns Curves in Vernon, never thought her next swim in Kal Lake would be in the middle of winter, but a good cause can inspire people to do crazy things. Proceeds from the Polar Bear Swim will go towards the Zimbabwe Project, which Yablonski founded. The project helps Zimbabwean communities become self-sustaining through a variety of initiatives including farming, sewing, construction and school-based projects.
“Friends and family said ‘we’ll sponsor you if you jump in the lake,’” Yablonski says, noting her supportive mom will we waiting for her with a towel.
“It’s for a good cause, it’s hard to say no to those kids.”
Yablonski travels to Zimbabwe each year to check in on the projects and make sure everything is running smoothly. This year, she plans to bring photos of the Polar Bear Swim to show the kids.
“Even the thought of snow, they can’t grasp the idea of it,” Yablonski says.
Sue Nixon, who works at Curves, is also donning a bathing suit and psyching herself up for her first—and possibly last, she chuckles—Polar Bear Swim. She’ll be accompanied by two grandkids, ages 13 and 10.
“You have to do everything in your life once, except sky diving, I won’t do that,” Nixon says.
As a first-timer, she’s not entirely sure what to expect. She figures getting in and out of the water will take approximately two minutes, a period she didn’t think was so bad until someone looked at her and gasped, “Two minutes?”
“As it gets closer, I’m not sure how smart I was to get myself into this,” Nixon says.
It may be spontaneous and exciting, but both women agree it’s helping others that’s propelling them into the ice-cold lake.
“It’s a great way to bring in the new year, helping others,” Yablonski says.
The swim is set for January 1 at Kal Beach. You can register online or in person at 11:30 a.m. the day of the event. Swimmers, including Mayor Rob Sawatzky, will hit the water at 1 p.m.
A barbecue will be provided by Kal Tire and hot drinks by Tim Hortons. There will also be live entertainment and prizes.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013