How far would you go to raise money for your employer? A group of very dedicated Wilton Family Y staff members are about to prove their loyalty and dedication, by taking a swim in the frigid waters of the Y’s pond. It’s all for the Swamp Romp, part of the Wilton institution’s annual fundraising effort. This year’s Romp is Friday, March 14 at 4 p.m..

“The Swamp Romp is the Y staff’s major fundraising event to support our Annual Campaign,” explains Karen Strickland, development director for the Wilton Y. “It’s a great way to kick off the fundraising for 2014 with the staff setting a brave example by jumping into  Kiwanis Pond in frigid conditions. This year, the goal was to raise $8,000 and we have already exceeded that with sponsorship donations from friends, family and colleagues of more than $10,000.”

This year’s Romp is the fourth time the staff fundraiser has been held, and 34 people will take part–two board members are joining the group, the rest of which is comprised of Y employees.

“It is a great team building event for the staff.  Once you’ve done it it is like wearing a badge of pride for the organization,” said the Y’s Camp Gordyland director Aaron Britton, who organizes and oversees the event. He can proudly claim the mantle of romping all four years, along with Kim Murphy, Elena Baggio and Laura Koellmer, who have also shown their bravery every year the event has been held.

But everyone who romps is deserving of praise, considering the water temperature is currently hovering somewhere between 32-38 degrees. Not everyone goes in all the way, says Strickland, and they do take safety precautions.

“Some people only go in the water up their ankles or knees, and don’t get fully submerged. But the majority dive in all the way. We have EMTs and the Fire Department Dive Team there.”

Think it takes big dedication to dive into the icy waters? Some employees are really dedicated. “We send groups of people in by Y department–camp, nursery school, membership, etc..  And some staff who work in multiple departments Romp for each one, going in two or three times.  That is crazy,” Britton says.

Crazy yes, but the payoff is huge. Considering that the contributions raised from the overall Annual Campaign by year end in 2013 totaled $213,000, it’s a major help and accomplishment.

“These funds allow the Y to remain open to everyone by offering important outreach programs such as chronic disease prevention, youth leadership initiatives, senior wellness and financial assistance for families in need.  We truly appreciate all the efforts of the Y staff in participating and securing donations to make the 2014 Swamp Romp a big success,” Strickland says.

You can support the Rompers in two ways–by showing up to cheer them on and by donating. To make a donation, click this link to go to the Y’s website donation, and select “Swamp Romp 2014” on the campaign drop down menu.

Photos courtesy Wilton Family Y