Bachelor parties and fundraisers… they’re not always found in the same sentence.
Yet Thomas Minter recently gathered his buddies from around the country (including Washington D.C., Idaho, Southern California and beyond) for a one-of-a-kind bachelor party built around the 2018 South Lake Tahoe Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics.
“Bachelor parties are a good excuse to come together and do something that is important to the future groom,” said Minter. “Even if they [my friends] were afraid of the cold, they had to do what I wanted, right? This was a special event that we will hold dear in our hearts.”
Minter, who is scheduled to tie the knot with his fiancé, Rachael, in August, regularly participates in charity events and has cycled his way from San Francisco to Los Angeles in each of the last two years as part of the AIDS/LifeCycle ride. This year, however, he is saving up vacation days for his honeymoon and wanted to find a weekend fundraiser instead of the seven-day trek. The South Lake Tahoe Polar Plunge happened to fall on the same weekend as his planned bachelor party.
The connection was immediate… and a snowy ski/Plunge weekend was set.
“My inspiration to support Special Olympics comes from my mother, who has worked tirelessly throughout her career teaching children with special needs or intellectual disabilities, providing educational opportunities that prepare these students for a meaningful life,” said Minter. “Additionally, my aunt just recently became the president of Special Olympics Vermont. I missed out on their Penguin Plunge earlier this year, so my goal was to do something similar, locally.”
Minter and his friends, with the appropriate team name of Thomas’ Bachelor Party, were persistent in their fundraising efforts leading up to the weekend and reached out to potential donors via social media channels, email and personal communications. Some chipped in themselves. Overall, the group raised an impressive $3,587 in support of Special Olympics athletes.
“Raising funds through various efforts is so important to help children and adults with intellectual disabilities develop confidence to succeed,” said Minter.
And as it turns out, not even Mother Nature could stand in their way.
“We were all skiing heavy powder in what seemed to be a blizzard on Friday morning when we received the text informing us that the Polar Plunge had been postponed* until Sunday,” explained Minter. “Since we had early departure times on Sunday morning, we were unable to attend the rescheduled event.”
*The South Lake Tahoe Polar Plunge was rescheduled from Saturday, March 17, to Sunday, March 18, due to heavy winter storms and dangerous travel conditions.
“I must admit, many of my pals were a bit relieved not to have to jump into freezing temperatures, but, being the bachelor, I convinced everyone to think about our mission to support Special Olympics. Everyone rallied together and came up with a safe alternative to plunge into 4-foot deep snow in our backyard. All with green Speedos on for St. Patrick's Day, we lined up and jumped all together into the snow!”
Special Olympics Northern California & Nevada empowers more than 25,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities through year-round sports training and competitions, inclusive school programs and health screenings – all completely free of charge thanks to supporters like Minter any many others.
And while he’d absolutely be up to participate in the Polar Plunge again, Minter said it would have to be in celebration of a different life event.
“I’m so excited to spend the rest of my life with Rachael, so it will have to be for someone else’s bachelor party.”
The South Lake Tahoe Polar Plunge raised a record-setting $200,000, which will directly fund 800 athletes for an entire year. Find an upcoming fundraising event near you or donate to Special Olympics by clicking the link below.