August 10, 2021 – Jennifer Bacon and Dean Michel, REALTORS® with CENTURY 21 Granite Realty Group, and fellow supporters plunged into the early spring cold waters for the second annual ‘Jump In The Lake Challenge’ to help raise over $50,000 for the Kawartha community.
The funds raised will go towards helping build the Coboconk Wellness Centre, a much-needed health hub that will include everything from after-hour care to dental, physiotherapy, and much more. “The Kawartha Lakes community has committed to raising $1 million,” says Jennifer Wilson, General Manager of the Coboconk, Norland & Area Chamber of Commerce, “Thanks to Dean and Jennifer, we are well on our way as we officially launch the community fundraising campaign this summer.”
The Jump In The Lake Challenge sprouted from business coach David Greenspan’s appeal to find a unique and exciting way to motivate others. When COVID-19 hit in 2020, their local food shelter was greatly impacted by increased food prices, limited volunteers due to safety measures, and rising demand for help. Recognizing the pressing need for funds, Dean made a creative pledge to jump in the chilly waters of Balsam Lake if he received $500 in donations. With the overwhelming support, he then challenged his wife Jennifer to jump in if they reach $1,000. The community quickly rallied together and raised over $15,000 and almost a dozen members took the plunge in early May 2020.
The second annual challenge has quickly evolved and grown. The 2021 Jump In The Lake Challenge was one of the largest fundraisers the community has ever had, with over 600 donations and over 35 people joining the icy jump. Dean and Jennifer credit the growth to the increased promotional efforts that helped created anticipation around the event. The two REALTORS® shared their story on a local radio station and CBC Ontario. Their local municipality, City of Kawartha Lakes, helped with signage and online collateral, even making branded beach towels and shirts for the participants.
To ensure everyone’s safety, participants were asked to participate in the challenge from their respective areas instead of one central location and share their jumps online. This safety measure became a great opportunity to expand the challenge to other communities as participants could jump into their nearby lake, ocean, pool, or even ice bath. Brandon Nimigon, the broker at CENTURY 21 Granite Realty Group Inc, joined this year’s challenge from his community in Haliburton and even created a fun wager with Dean to see who could raise the most money. The loser had to stay in their respective lake for a full minute, so they had plenty of motivation to push their fundraising efforts. Brandon fell just short and respected the wager but challenged Dean to a rematch next year.
“We want to thank everyone that participated, donated, and helped spread the message,” says Dean and Jennifer. “Giving back to our community is so important to us and it was inspiring to see how our community members rallied around this great cause. We loved seeing how many people took the plunge and had such a good time while jumping into the cold water or cheering family and friends on during the event.”
There is already much anticipation for next year’s Jump In The Lake Challenge with the community and outside members already pledging their chilly dip. “Our hope next year is to expand to other areas of the province and inspire others to do something similar in their community,” says Dean and Jennifer. You can learn more about the 2022 Jump In The Lake Challenge at http://kawarthalakeside.com/challenge