The Richmond Register

Local News

July 16, 2014

Taking the plunge

RICHMOND — Weather was an unusually pleasant 72 degrees Wednesday, and the sun was shining as teens attending the Richmond Police Summer Camp ran relay races.

Police department volunteers smiled as they watched the activities at Betty Miller Park, which also houses the Richmond Teen Center.

But teen center director Georgia Parks looked nervous.

She knew that in only a few minutes, after a fire department tanker truck arrived, she would be jumping into a two-foot pool of chilly water.

She was the first to take the plunge in a cold-water challenge to raise money so the teen center can purchase a van.

About 30 teens attending summer camps conducted by the Richmond’s parks and police departments challenged local officials, including the mayor, commissioners, judges, lawyers, the fire and police departments, the parks and recreation board and others to pay up or “take the plunge.”

Those challenged were asked to donate $100. Those who don’t could pay $20 and post a video of themselves taking a chill.

For those who missed the sensational “cold water challenge” craze that recently bombarded Facebook pages across the country during Relay for Life this year, a cold water challenge is a new fundraising method.

“Raising the money for our own van means so much to us because we won’t have to pay to rent transportation anymore,” Parks said, dripping wet after jumping into a tank of cool water, to the teens’ delight.

In the past few years, the teen center has made many trips to colleges, including the University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University, Berea College and Eastern Kentucky University. Teen center participants also have visited a Louisville homeless shelter and Frankfort, where they learned about the state capital.

The center also takes teens on field trips throughout Madison County, said Erin Moore, the city’s parks and recreation director.

Tuesday, the teens painted a mural at Dillingham Park, where they also spread new mulch.

“They could feel ownership over something in town,” Josh Hale, a police officer and camp volunteer, said of acquiring a van. The effort is teaching the teens respect for their own work and the work of others, he said,

The field trips are important beyond educational purposes because they keep the teens excited about coming to the center, Parks said.

Between 50 and 60 teens regularly come to the center after school and during the summer. The center provides them with a meal and something constructive to do, she said.

Donations for the van will be accepted with or without a cold water challenge. They can be made by calling the center at 625-0010.

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