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Happy to jump in lake, happy to support club

As you may know, it was Polar Fest this past weekend. The weekend was filled with events such as the fishing derby, the spaghetti dinner, the frozen bowling and the Polar Plunge. Siri, our friends Julia (from Germany) and Maria (from Peru) and I decided that we would join in on the festivities and brave the Polar Fest Plunge.

Our team name was "The Exchange Students." Thoughtful, right? At first, the group consisted of just Julia and Siri, but Maria and I decided that we would join in. Wait, I know what you are thinking, the "Exchange Students?" How can Berit fit in, as it says at the bottom of this article, she is a "sophomore at Detroit Lakes High School?"

True enough, but in August, I start my exchange year in Chile, so on Friday night, we constructed flags from our respective countries out of felt. Once our Danish, German, Peruvian and Chilean flags were finished, we were ready to go.

The plan was to wear our flags, swimsuits and tutus. Boy, were we going to be chilly. On Saturday morning, we woke up and got ready to go. At breakfast, Julia made sure we all had enough to eat. You see, she didn't want us to have a heart attack when we jumped into the lake. You see the logic, right? (Yeah, I don't either.)

After stuffing ourselves full of pancakes, we headed down to the Pavilion. With our tutus and flags in hand, we registered for the jump.

Between the four of us, we raised $576 for the Boys and Girls Club. Julia and Siri did most of the raising of those $576. (By "most" I mean "all.") After registering our team, we received our numbers and went to put on our costumes.

As the clock ticked closer and closer to our turn to jump, Julia and Maria were getting nervous. They kept on saying, "Berit! I can't believe we are doing this! It's CRAZY!" In the meantime, I was just standing there completely ready to jump. The three of us watched as Siri jumped with the swim team before jumping with us. She looked pretty darn cold as she climbed out of the freezing lake, which didn't make Julia and Maria any more excited to jump.

Finally, it was our turn to head into the warming trailer. Our number was soon to be called. We climbed up the ladder into the trailer. Inside there were a bunch of screaming women who had just climbed out of the freezing lake. Not exactly the most reassuring thing to see just at that moment.

We stepped outside only to realize that we missed our slot, our number had been called. Maria, Julia and I made Siri go and make sure that we were still able to jump. I'm sure some members of the group wouldn't have been too sad if we had missed our opportunity. Lucky for them, we were still on deck to jump! We just had to sit in the hot tub for a while first.

When the man with the microphone was finished asking us where we were from and where I was going, we plunged into the freezing cold water. At first it was a bit of a shock. My breath was cut short; I was left gasping for air. The four of us bolted out of the lake as fast as we could.

Back inside the warming trailer my toes actually started to have feeling again! It felt great to jump in the freezing water knowing that you were doing it for a good cause. I've never been to the Boys and Girls Club, but from what I've heard it's a great place to be -- a place worth losing feeling in my toes for.

Berit Ramstad Skoyles is a sophomore at Detroit Lakes High School.