About 90 participants plunged into the cold water, which was around 50 degrees. Participants received a cup of hot cocoa and a long sleeve ‘Epic Plunge’ T-shirt. They also contributed to raising a total of $4,500 to support a nearby playground.
“The whole point of this is to benefit PlayGrand Adventures, which is right around the corner from us,” Kier Rouse-Perry, director of marketing for Epic Waters, said. “PlayGrand Adventures is an all-abilities playground for children and adults with disabilities, so the playground is completely accessible to everyone.”
The amount of money raised this year topped last year’s total of $4,100. Epic Waters and PlayGrand Adventures are both part of Epic Central, an area that encompasses several businesses. Epic Central includes two other facilities: the Summit Active Adult Center, a facility for senior citizens, and The Epic, a recreation center. Rouse-Perry said the different facilities are very supportive of each other.
“PlayGrand Adventures is near and dear to our hearts,” Rouse-Perry said. “We like to be accessible to anybody who has disabilities. We want to make sure we’re inclusive and to help our partners around the area.”
Jennifer Colon, youth recreation coordinator for The Epic, participated in the plunge with her family. She has a family of nine with members ranging from 5 to 83 years old.It is difficult and often expensive for her to find activities in which the entire family can participate.
All of the participants lined up and jumped into the water, which allowed Colon’s family to jump together. Although the water was very cold, she tried not to let her discomfort show in front of her son.
“It’s frigid cold,” Colon said. “It’s, like, Titanic cold.
“[In the future] I would probably bring a few more people to struggle, to go through it with me.”
“[PlayGrand Adventures] is totally different [from] any other city park,” Phil Harris, a park planner with the Grand Prairie Parks, Arts, and Recreation Department, said. “Matter of fact, it’s different [from] most parks in the U.S.”
There are several accommodations in the park,which make it more accessible for visitors. PlayGrand uses rubber as a groundcover, which makes it easier for someone in a wheelchair to get around the playground. There is also a wheelchair-accessible swing.
“You roll your wheelchair up in the swing,” Harris said. “You anchor it, and somebody can swing you. A lot of those folks never have experienced that at all.”
Harris has even seen high school students in wheelchairs who wereexcited to use this park. Harris is 71 and still enjoys PlayGrand, proving it is also accessible for people of any age.
“[If] I like to play, you can like to play too,” Harris said. “For everybody. All ages, all abilities.”