Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

Plungers to brave icy waters to aid Children's Museum

Date: 1/11/2011

Jan. 12, 2011

By Katelyn Gendron

Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD — Diving into the frigid waters of Hampton Ponds could seem like an act of lunacy on any other winter day but not on Jan. 29 when hundreds of enthusiasts take the plunge to support Amelia Park Children's Museum.

The Penguin Plunge is the museum's largest annual fundraiser, attracting the young, the old and the elaborately costumed to an afternoon of friendly competition. Board member Diana McLean assured that a shakeup of board members, volunteers and staff in the past year wouldn't inhibit this year's event or the overall operation of the museum.

"You never want to see good people go. Anytime there's a change there's an opportunity to revisit what we're doing and what works well," she said, citing that Sam Goertzen, interim executive director, is one such positive change in museum operations.

McLean hopes to raise $10,000 at this year's plunge, which will be used for the museum's daily operating expenses and maintenance of its 12 exhibits.

Goertzen noted that new staff and volunteers have had to get up to speed quickly in order to keep up with the constant stream of kids and parents utilizing the museum.

"We have been jam packed in here," she added. "You unlock the door at 9:55 [a.m.] and they're there [waiting to get in]."

Attendees have the opportunity to experience various exhibits including playtime at a bank, grocery store, hospital, cafe, a rocket ship, reading area, dress up station, LEGO building and music center, complete with stage, disco ball, Karaoke and DJ station.

"It's beautiful in here ... the parents and kids are so happy to be here," Goertzen said, adding that her staff is diligent in keeping the exhibits clean, especially during cold and flu season.

Grant applications are currently out to fund more exhibits, McLean noted.

Those interested in participating in this year's Penguin Plunge may visit for registration and pledge forms. Pre-registration will take place at the museum located at 29 South Broad St., on Jan. 28 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Awards will be presented at the Penguin Plunge in several categories including youngest plunger, best costume and to the plunger who raises the most money.

Additional information may be obtained by calling the museum at 572-4014 during hours of operation: Sunday, Monday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Bookmark and Share