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Changes made to Polar Bear Dip to make event socially-distanced

Ninety-six brave (?) people took part in the annual Ness Lake Polar Bear Dip January 1. The event raised just under $11,000 and the funds will go towards sending Harwin children to camp next summer. Chuck Chin/Hell Yeah Prince George photo For Chuck Chin's full set of photos - click here

 Many Polar Bear Dips across the province have been cancelled but the people of Prince George have found a safe and fun way to do it.

Event organizer Michael Gauthier said “This is something unique to the North, there are not many places you have to cut through a foot of ice to go for an afternoon dip,” said Michael Gauthier, organizer of the Ness Lake Bible Camp Polar Bear Dip, slated for January 1. “We are really stoked to have the community come out and while helping make camp affordable for all families.”

More than $130,000 has been raised over the 20 years the dip has happened to help send kids to camp that otherwise could not afford it.

With colder weather and COVID-19 safety measures, the camp will be making a few changes to prevent crowding and ensure that no one has to wait in line at the waterfront. Because of these changes, all participants and spectators will be required to provide proof of vaccination to attend.

The formal ceremony has also been cancelled to make the Polar Bear Dip a drop-in event.

“So much of the event in years past has been about having big crowds who want to watch these crazy people take the plunge,” said interim director Dave Horton. “Big crowds cannot happen this year but we are going to get photos and video up as soon as we can on our social media to make sure that people get to see how wild PG people are. Dippers are welcome to bring some friends along to watch as long as these groups are under six people total.”

This will not only allow for greater spacing between people inside, it also allows the staff to direct people between the indoor heated spaces and waterfront more easily. The event will now take place as a drop in from 1:45 p.m.-3 p.m. Hope to see people there.

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