Annual winter dip holds special meaning for Woodland senior

Woodland senior Chloe Campbell is looking to raise $2,000 for the Special Olympics of Connecticut through the penguin Plunge in March as her senior project. Campbell has taken the plunge every year since sixth grade for her younger brother Matthew, who has autism. - CONTRIBUTED


Every winter since sixth grade, Chloe Campbell has taken a plunge into frigid waters to help raise money for the organization that has meant so much to her little brother.

Now, as a senior at Woodland Regional High School, Campbell has made it her focus this year to get as many people as possible to brave the frosty waters of Lake Quassy for the Special Olympics of Connecticut’s Penguin Plunge.

The Penguin Plunge is a fundraiser for the Special Olympics, which provides year-round sports training and athletic competition and opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities. “Penguins” receive donations to take the plunge and all of the money raised goes to the help fund activates run by the Special Olympics.

For her senior project, Campbell is working to put together as large a team of “penguins” as possible to take the plunge in March at Lake Quassy in Middlebury.

The project holds a special place in Campbell’s heart because she’s been doing the plunge yearly for her younger brother Matthew. Campbell said her brother, who’s 13, has autism and it’s difficult for him to find a place where he’s comfortable.

“My brother, it’s really hard for him to fit in,” Campbell said.

Several years ago, Campbell said, her mother found out about the Special Olympics. The non-profit organization has given Mathew a place where he fits in, and Campbell said the opportunity to do all the things he wanted to do.

“The Special Olympics of Connecticut has helped my brother achieve goals that we never thought he would be able to reach,” Campbell said. “My brother is my reason for all of this.”

The Penguin Plunge is scheduled for March 11 at Lake Quassy in Middlebury. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and the plunge begins at 12 p.m. It costs $75 to take the plunge, which can be paid for through pledges.

Along with seeking “penguins” for the plunge, Campbell is also accepting donations. Her goal is to raise $2,000 for the Special Olympics.

For more information, to sign up to be part of Campbell’s team or to donate, e-mail Campbell at chloecampbell31@gmail.com.