News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.

Troop 551 Annual Polar Bear Swim

  • (courtesy photos from Mark Peters)
  • (courtesy photos from Mark Peters)

by Mark D. Peters

El Monte

On December 7, El Monte Boy Scout Troop 551 participated in the Annual Polar Bear Swim at Camp Trask in Monrovia Canyon Park.

Every December in the dead of a “California winter,” Camp Trask hosts the Polar Bear Swim where brave Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venture crew, leaders and parents alike from El Monte Troop 551, jumped in the ‘freezing’ swimming pool to earn the coveted Polar Bear Swim patch. This year the pool was at a chilling 48 degrees. The Scouts (and parents) that jumped in the pool and did the swim/walk across the short length of the pool, dunk their head under the water and get out; experience a keen sense of mind & body numbing accomplishment. Parents are encouraged to take a dip and get a patch as well and are sometimes needed to help their younger Cubs who are not swim tested across the pool. It’s really fun and the kids get a thrill out of it.

Afterwards Troop 551 enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies while it rained outside. This experience will be one that our Troop will never forget.

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