Every New Year's Day, over 1,000 penguins gather on the beachfront of the Princess Royale in Ocean City, MD. They aren't visiting from the South Pole. These “penguins” are participants in the annual Penguin Swim to benefit the Atlantic General Hospital Foundation. Now in its 24th year, the fundraiser reaches community members of all ages.The day begins at 10 a.m. with registration, carnival games, a cash bar, a live band and penguin costume contest in the second‐floor atrium of the oceanfront hotel. At 12:45 p.m., participants, family, friends and spectators take the event outside by parading down to the beach. A roped‐off swim area is designated for the Penguin Swim. At precisely 1 p.m., the Ocean City Beach Patrol sounds the horn and all participants rush into the water.“They can go as far as they want,” explains Joy Stokes, event coordinator, “Some jump, swim, go up to their waist or just their feet. The idea is simply to get in the water, ring in the new year in a fun way and raise funds to help the hospital provide quality care for the community.”Each participant raises at least $25 prior to the event. Many fundraise throughout the year through networking and social media to contribute more as individuals or teams. The 2016 event raised a total of $101,640 in individual and team funds as well as sponsorships from local businesses, organizations and community members. Atlantic General also receives many in‐kind donations for materials, atrium activities and awards.Immediately following the swim, participants warm up inside the hotel and enjoy an awards ceremony from 1:15 to 2 p.m. This includes individual and team categories, with winners receiving recognition, trophies and prizes. Additionally, all registered swimmers receive an official Penguin Swim T‐shirt.Stokes attributes much of the event's success to three key planning aspects. She notes, “We use social media and community outreach to effectively promote the event. Additionally, we have two co‐chairs and a committee of hospital associates and community members that help make this event one of our largest fundraisers. We also award prizes to all participating ‘penguins’ based on individual fundraising efforts.” Three prize levels are available, and participants who raise more than $500 receive one prize from each level. Top participants are listed on the Penguin Swim website (aghpenguinswim.org/).Source: Joy Stokes, Event Coordinator/Development Assistant, Atlantic General Hospital Foundation, Berlin, MD. Phone (410) 641‐9671. E‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.atlanticgeneral.org/
Special Events Galore – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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