This is Week 5 of GOOD Morning Wilton editor Heather Borden Herve‘s “50 Weeks of Change” series, “A Year-Long Journey of Rediscovery, Renewal and Rededication” in commemoration of her 50th birthday this year.

Have you ever seen pictures of acquaintances who take part in a polar plunge around New Year’s Day to raise money? There, in full color proof, you see them elated and shivering after jumping into the water in frigid temperatures. When I see anyone I know participate in a polar plunge, two thoughts come to mind:  first, how incredibly admirable and brave they are to do such a thing; and second, they are out of their minds, you’d never catch me doing that in a million years.

So I guess I must be out of my mind also, because just I signed up to participate in the Wilton Family Y Swamp Romp, to raise money for a really GOOD cause. After all, this is my year of changes and challenges, to take myself out of my comfort zone in order to grow and make the most of every opportunity. With the Swamp Romp, I’m diving right into a major challenge to see what I’m capable of–and helping other people overcome challenges they face too.

This year’s Swamp Romp takes place on Friday, March 16, at 4 p.m.. That’s when, despite the cold temperatures (and even colder water), “rompers” take a freezing dip into the Kiwanis Pond at the Wilton Family YMCA to raise money for many children from Norwalk, Redding and Wilton who can’t otherwise afford to participate in YMCA programs.

Money raised from the Swamp Romp supports over 3,500 children who participate in year-round programming at the YMCA.

What do donations support?

$100 could save a child’s life by teaching them the life-saving skill of swimming with free swim lessons.
$250 could reduce the achievement gap by sending a child to summer camp to participate in STEM programs.
$500 promotes self-reliance for young adults with special needs in the Roaring 20’s Program.
$1,000 increases family time to a low-income family with an annual membership.
$2,500 provides a safe place after school for a child of a working parent.
$5,000 sends a YMCA team to the CT Special Olympics.

Robert McDowell, chief executive officer of the Riverbrook YMCA says that helping children and families this way is something that pays back exponentially.

“The Y is the starting point for many youth to learn about becoming and staying active, and developing healthy and safe habits they’ll carry with them throughout their lives. The benefits are far greater than just physical health. Whether it’s gaining the confidence that comes from learning to swim or building the positive relationships that lead to good citizenship, participating in youth development programs at the Y is about building the whole child, from the inside out,” he says.

So, will you help? Here’s a link to my fundraising page. Every little bit goes a long way toward making a difference in the lives of children in our community. Interested in challenging yourself and taking the plunge alongside me? Consider signing up to participate in the Swamp Romp. The more challenges you face, the more positive changes you make happen–for yourself and for others.

Hopefully I’ll see you on March 16, either romping alongside in the chilly waters or cheering us on from the sidelines. And if you can’t make it to the Y that day, I’ll be streaming live on Facebook the whole experience. Be sure to tune in on the GOOD Morning Wilton Facebook page.