The (Not So) Virtual Polar Bear Club

May 7, 2020
Polar Bear Club will go on virtually announces Todd Siekman this spring.
Mr. Siekman announced the virtual polar bear club at assembly earlier this spring. Worth noting he’s a Bowdoin graduate.

The Virtual Polar Bear Plunge ?

Yes, the Polar Bear Club is happening this spring, and although it may be socially distanced, that ice-cold water is far from virtual!

Traditionally, Polar Bears begins each spring once the ice is gone on nearby Songo Pond. The club meets twice a week for a quick and chilly swim before breakfast. The only rules are that you must dip all the way in, sometimes twice if that’s the day’s challenge. The fun and the challenge is making it through the entire season. Those who make every outing earn Polar Bear status.

Trying to replicate the campus experience, advisor Todd Siekman posts an outing or assignment, essentially a deadline to upload a video of yourself completing a dunk. Several local students have been going to the same locations (while observing proper social distancing) and are clearly excited to see each other and are having a great time, he says.

Ready to dive into GouldLife?

“It has been going well so far,” says Siekman. “There are smaller numbers than normal but very enthusiastic.”

At this point everyone who is participating is in New England, he says. Some are at the coast jumping in the ocean; others are at local streams or ponds. One student who is injured dunks in an unheated swimming pool.

Cecille Anderson ’20 keeping the streak alive

“The fact that they are making it work, and in many cases have parents helping them, shows the excitement they have,” adds Siekman. There are quite a few 9th graders this year, he says, and seven who have completed all challenges so far and another 1 or 2 who have made some.

For some seniors, their status as four-year polar bears is on the line. Those who never miss a dunk throughout their Gould career are honored at assembly with a large block of, you guessed it, ice.

Last year's four year polar bear club honorees.
Last year’s faithful four-year polar bears with (partially smashed) trophies in hand.

Were you a four-year polar bear? Share your memories in the comments.


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