-By John Lynds
Knowing the water would be frigid, participants in the First Annual Cupid Splash Fundraiser at Constitution Beach Saturday said the anticipation was the worse part.
“I knew it would be cold and waiting around looking at the water was the worst part,” said Derek Brodin who braved the 40 degree water for the fundraising effort.
Save the Harbor/ Save the Bay hosted the Cupid Splash, a cold-water plunge and pledge fundraiser to kick-off their 25th Anniversary year.
More than 150 participants simultaneously splashed into the icy Atlantic waters on eight public beaches from Nahant to Nantasket including East Boston, raising a total of over $20,700 to support free events and programs on our region’s public beaches.
At noon “Splashers” of all ages gathered on Constitution Beach for a campfire, temporary tattoos, and the chance to compete for round trip tickets on Jet Blue Airways before plunging into the icy water. The Splash was followed by a Warm-Up Party at Kelley Square Pub sponsored by Harpoon Brewery for participants to thaw out and celebrate the First Splash of Spring.
“What a great way to spend a sunny Saturday,” said Gail Klimas, East Boston’s Team Captain and Associate Executive Director of East Boston YMCA. “I want to thank everyone who took the plunge and everyone who made a pledge.”
The Madeja family was the biggest fundraiser on Constitution Beach, raising $1850 and winning a pair of Jet Blue Airways round-trip tickets!
“Thanks to our partners in the beach-front communities and waterfront neighborhoods this year’s Splash was a great success”, said Save the Harbor spokesman Bruce Berman. “We can’t wait for next spring to do it again.”
Eastie Splashers came in fourth raising a total of $2,155. Revere Beach raised the most with $4,799 followed by South Boston’s $3,345, Lynn and Nahant with $2,320 and Dorchester with $2,316. Eastie was followed by Nantasket, Winthrop and Wollaston Beach in Quincy.
The event was originally scheduled for Valentines Day, hence the name Cupid Splash, but organizers had to postpone the event due to weeks of bad weather that plagued New England, which left too much snow and ice for participants to get into the water.
However, the extra time gave organizers the chance to reach out and recruit some more splashers – and to raise some more money for the cause.
To qualify, each participant has to register, sign a release, fulfill their pledge and go into the water up to their knees, though many Splashers in Eastie went for a quick dip for the Save the Harbor/Save the Bay fundraiser.
Last year, money raised by Save the Harbor/Save the Bay helped fund the highly successful community-wide beach activities sponsored by the East Boston YMCA.
Last year grant money from Save the Harbor/Save the Bay supported the East Boston YMCA’s Beach Kick-Off Day and an end of season beach dance at Constitution Beach. The program brought public school kids to the waterfront on their day off in June with games and activities on the beach, as well as in late August with an end of summer beach party.
The grants usually support initiatives that make local beach groups stronger by increasing participation, membership, and financial support through memberships, individual contributions, corporate sponsorships and contributions from local businesses.
Save the Harbor/Save the Bay launched the “Better Beaches” in 2008, in partnership with the Metropolitan Beaches Commission and the Department of Conservation and Recreation to help jumpstart public activities and free events on public beaches like Eastie’s Constitution Beach. By all accounts, it has done just that, helping groups in Eastie and eight other communities put their beaches to work for all residents.
In 2009, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay and participating groups built on this success by raising a total of $112,000 to support 31 well-attended events, including concerts, sand castle competitions, family reading nights and beach festivals that attracted hundreds of thousands of regional residents to the cleaner waters of Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay.
This year Save the Harbor/Save the Bay will make another round of grants ranging from $500 to $5,000 to non-profit organizations, community groups, neighborhood groups and Friends groups from Eastie. Lynn, Nahant, Revere, Winthrop, South Boston, Dorchester, Quincy, and Hull.