By Ali Shoup, Vice President, and Gita Smith, Vice President, Core Bank
What started out as a fleeting thought quickly turned into reality. Before we knew it, we were committed to doing something insane! That’s how amazing experiences happen, right?
It all began while sitting around our conference table discussing how our group wants to give back to the community. As we grow our team in Kansas City, giving back is important to all of us. A community focus is one of our core values. We often look to our larger Omaha team as an example, and we wanted to implement something with some Kansas City flare.
Polar Plunge 2019
The topic of the Polar Plunge, benefiting Special Olympics, came up. The Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Kansas is the state’s largest fundraiser that aims to keep athletes with intellectual disabilities on the playing field all year round.
Our Omaha team has participated in the Polar Plunge for a decade, with some individuals participating even longer. This year, they had a team of 42 plungers and raised over $13,500. That’s 25% of the team in Omaha and an average of over $300 per plunger. Wow!
For our first attempt in Kansas City, we had only three committed plungers on board at first. We had a meager fundraising goal of $75 per plunger. Being our inaugural year, we had no idea what to expect. We had no idea what we were doing because none of us had participated before. We’d seen the news highlights and thought those people were crazy! But we knew it was for a great cause, so we were in.
As the day neared, we added people to our team. We even had our COO join us from Omaha. He was a trooper and a very experienced plunger! We ended up with eight plungers, raising over $1,800. That’s 40% of our Kansas City team participating and we raised 300% of our goal!
On the day of the Plunge, it was a balmy 22 degrees with remnants of a snow storm on the ground. Yikes – it was cold! The water temperature was 33 degrees and the sun was shining. Honestly, it wasn’t awful, and it was definitely invigorating. We plan to continue the event in the years to come with much higher fundraising goals and even more team member participation.
It was truly an amazing experience for a great cause. We’re proud of our team and the momentum we have going for giving back. And we all have a new respect for hypothermia. High fives!