BURLINGTON, Vt. (WFFF) — Every year around this time, some hardy Vermonters take a dip into the frigid waters of Lake Champlain to raise money for the Vermont Special Olympics.
Before COVID hit, athlete Bennett Townley says he was well rounded in many different sports. “Before I did skiing, I did bocce, floor ball, track and field, and in high school I did bowling, bocce, and basketball.”
Townley says after the pandemic began, the programs went virtual. “That just involves home exercises and like setting goals on three in particular exercises.”
He says what being involved in the Special Olympics means to him. “People with unique abilities are able to be included in the community and get the experience like other sports were.”
Just like the programs for the athletes, the Penguin Plunge is virtual this year too. While most people might not have a body of water in their backyard, Chairman Jay Nunn says he has a few ideas on how everyone can participate.
“You can go snowshoeing, you can go skiing, you can have somebody pour an ice cold bucket of water on your head, you can do snow angels in your front yard, jump into a pile of snow, the options are limitless. We only ask that you take a video, you have fun, and you be safe.” Nunn adds that if you aren’t up for some snow fun, you can always sponsor someone, or donate to the organization directly. The Virtual Penguin Plunge will continue for six weeks.