‘Shocking’ cold at Lake Jump

April 15, 2019 GMT

The sharp chill in the air and the frigid water temperatures didn’t stop a small army from running into the waters of Lake Michigan Saturday morning at the Ludington Lake Jump.

About 50 people took the plunge for the 20th annual event, which raises funds for a different beneficiary each year.

This year’s cause is the proposed splash pad in Ludington’s Fourth Ward, and residents, visitors and supporters turned out en masse to help pay for the project.

It was just 38 degrees on the lakeshore when the line of participants braced themselves for the impact of the cold waves and rushed into the water at 11 a.m. on the dot.

35th Dist. State Senator Curt VanderWall was one of the brave jumpers.

“It’s a little cold today to be honest with you,” VanderWall said. “it’s shocking and it took my breath away, but it’s always fun to do. It’s a great thing for the community.”

Gary Johnson, a manager at the Ludington Walmart, took the plunge in uniform.

Johnson said enduring the cold was worth it.

“It’s a fantastic cause,” Johnson said. “Every year, another organization benefits from it, so we all come out and do the best we can (for the beneficiary).”

Once counted and tallied, funds will benefit the 3,000-square-foot splash pad in Copeyon Park.

If $50,000 is raised, the money will be matched by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

The chances of meeting that goal are good, if history is an indicator.

In 2018, the Lake Jump raised $91,700 for the Lakeshore Food Club, according to its website. This year’s fundraising efforts were already off to a good start, thanks to the efforts of community members like Christine Lamb, who has raised $1,2000 for the splash pad through her own campaign.

Lamb was one of the jumpers on Saturday, and said the cause is close to her heart.

“I am passionate about the splash pad because I wanna to leave a legacy for my children,” Lamb said. “I want to create a place where they can enjoy the fresh air, unplug from electronics and potentially meet new friends.

“My hope is that this project teaches our children to set goals, stay the course, push through and stand tall even when facing pushback or adversity. I feel truly blessed that so many people came out to support this cause.”

Stephanie Reed, chair of the Ludington Splash Pad Committee, said organizers are feeling confident that the fundraising goal will be reached.

“We were very happy with the turnout of jumpers and supporters!

“I am very optimistic about reaching our $50,000 goal for the MEDC matching grant,” Reed said. “Since that deadline is April 27, all the Lake Jump donations will fall within that window to be matched.”

Reed said the splash pad will be a boon for the community

“It will provide another fun, safe water play area for the families of our community and those visiting,” she said.

Donations can still be made to reach the goal, and Reed said those interested in contributing who couldn’t make it to Stearns Park on Saturday can donate directly at www.patronicity.com/lsp.