Chilly dip aids Camp Moore
John Sentner Memorial Plunge draws 100-plus
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POINT PLEASANT — The waters of the Atlantic Ocean were at a chilly 35 degrees off the coast of Point Pleasant Beach on Saturday afternoon as costumed thrill seekers prepared to take a frigid dip in the name of charity.
Over 100 plungers dressed in bathing suits and wetsuits, polar bear hats and unicorn masks, ran into the ocean on the Point Pleasant beach on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the 10th annual John Sentner Memorial Plunge, gathering in Martell’s Tiki Bar after returning to dry land.
Hosted by the New Jersey State Elks Association, the plunge is held as a fundraiser for Camp Moore, a camp in the Ramapo Mountains run through the Elks Association for special needs children.
“There is no one else that has a program like Camp Moore that can send children to camp at no cost to their families, putting smiles on their faces. It’s an experience away from home,” said Anthony Alfonso, state chairman for special children’s committee for Camp Moore.
This year, the rowdy crew raised over $50,000 for the camp — exceeding the plunge committee’s goal.
“We’re on fire today,” said Barbara McCredie, plunge committee co-chair.
In the past nine years, the New Jersey Elks have raised over $860,000 for Camp Moore, according to committee co-chair Peggy Berry.
Traditionally, the Elks have teamed up with other organization to raise money for multiple charities. This is the first year the New Jersey State Elks Association hosted the event on their own, Ms. Berry said, with all of the funds going to Camp Moore.
“We set a $50,000 goal for ourselves for our first time doing it and we exceeded it,” she said.
Veteran plunger Pete Smith was key in helping the committee exceed its goal as this year’s top fundraiser, raising $8,000 for Camp Moore.
When asked why he comes back from the frosty dip in the ocean every year, he said, “It’s all for the kids.”
Among the plungers this year were the late Mr. Sentner’s family, including his wife Judy Sentner and two daughters Tracey Sentner and Amy Sentner.
According to Amy Sentner, her father founded the plunge 10 years ago after he was inspired by his son’s participation in a plunge for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS].
“He said, ‘If my son is stupid enough to raise money and jump in the ocean, why can’t we do that for kids,’” Amy Sentner said of her father.
After his passing, the plunge committee continued his work.
“He would be absolutely thrilled,” Mrs. Sentner said of her husband. “I’m sure he’s up there watching them today.”
Mrs. Sentner commended the Elks’ work at Camp Moore, calling the institution “fabulous.”
“It’s just wonderful that they do this for them. They have group and groups that go up there every year and they can’t wait to go back there every year,” Mrs. Sentner said.