Waukegan, Illinois (December 20, 2023) – The Waukegan Park District and City of Waukegan are partnering to host the 25th Annual Waukegan Polar Bear Plunge on Monday, January 1, 2024 from 10am to 11am at the Waukegan Municipal Beach, located at 201 E. Sea Horse Drive. All proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit Special Recreation Services of Northern Lake County – Waukegan, helping individuals with disabilities participate in camps, athletics, health and fitness programs, and more.
Individuals can preregister for $20 per plunger online or at the Field House Sports, Fitness & Aquatics Center, located at 800 Baldwin Avenue in Hinkston Park. Preregistration will be open until Friday, December 29, 2023 at 4pm. On-site registration for $25 per plunger will be available from 9am to 10:45am on the day of the event. The first 300 plungers will receive a commemorative event shirt.
BCU is the 25th Anniversary Sponsor of the annual Waukegan Polar Bear Plunge. Headquartered in Vernon Hills, Illinois, BCU is a not-for-profit, member-owned credit union with more than 325,000 members in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Jeremiah Johnson, President of the Waukegan Park District Board of Commissioners, stated,
“The Waukegan Park District is excited to partner with the City of Waukegan again to host the 25th Annual Waukegan Polar Bear Plunge. Together we are celebrating a quarter-century of this community tradition that benefits Special Recreation Services of Northern Lake County – Waukegan, making a positive impact in the lives of individuals with disabilities.”
Jay Lerner, Executive Director of the Waukegan Park District, stated, “With so many brave individuals plunging into the frigid waters of Lake Michigan, the 25th Annual Waukegan Polar Bear Plunge will be an impactful and unique way to welcome the new year. The Waukegan Park District expresses its gratitude to all plungers, sponsors, and volunteers who play a pivotal role in making this annual event a success.”
Waukegan Mayor Ann Taylor stated, “The Waukegan Polar Bear Plunge is one of my favorite Waukegan events. It is a great way to ring in the new year in support of the students and athletes of Special Recreation Services of Northern Lake County – Waukegan. We are delighted that we can again partner with the Waukegan Park District to host this event in celebration of its 25th anniversary.”
More information and preregistration are available at waukeganparks.org/plunge.
About the Waukegan Park District
Established on December 26, 1916, the Waukegan Park District (WPD) has 53 properties and more than 742 acres of land, including the 18-hole Bonnie Brook and 9-hole Greenshire Golf Courses. Properties are managed to the highest environmental and conservation standards. Facilities operated by the WPD include the Field House Sports, Fitness and Aquatics Center, Waukegan’s Greg Petry SportsPark, Waukegan Skate Park, BMX Track, SplashZone, Percussion Playground, recreational centers, disc golf course, dog exercise area and agility course, outdoor sports fields, picnic areas, playgrounds, splash pads, and sports courts including basketball, tennis and pickleball. A full range of programs and services are offered year-round for all ages, from infants to seniors, as well as special need populations. Healthy lifestyles, wellness initiatives, and a connection with the outdoors and nature are integrated throughout programs, services, and special events. Arts and cultural activities are provided by the Jack Benny Center for the Arts, Waukegan Symphony Orchestra and Concert Chorus, and the Waukegan History Museum. We offer something for everyone!
A member of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD), Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA), and the Park District Risk Management Agency (PDRMA), the WPD employs 73 full-time and 219 part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees and is recognized by the IPRA as an Exceptional Workplace.
Nationally accredited by the NRPA Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) and State accredited through the IAPD Distinguished Agency Accreditation, the WPD has received the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Triple Crown Award for receiving the GFOA’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, Popular Annual Financial Reporting Award, and the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. The WPD was awarded the NRPA National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management in 2013, and was named a Gold Medal Finalist in 2012, 2013, 2019, 2021, 2022, and 2023.