Polar Leap

Our annual POLAR LEAP, presented by the YMCA Camp Ernst Junior Board on February 24, 2024, WAS A GREAT SUCCESS!!

We ran into the freezing cold waters of Camp Ernst Lake and raised more than $21,000 for camper scholarships!


  • Camp builds confidence and social-emotional skills
  • Camp helps kids learn how to make friends and introduces them to new experiences
  • Camp provides youth with the opportunity to achieve goals in a supportive environment and connect with nature
  • Camp introduces kids to camp counselor-role models and creates lifelong memories
  • Camp is FUN!


How you can participate:

Plunge into the icy waters of Camp Ernst Lake on February 24 to raise money for summer camp scholarships! To register (or to donate), click here. Create a fundraising page and raise at least $50 for camper scholarships by February 15th in order to join the official leap!

When you create your page, tell us why you leap!

  • Do you “leap” because you think all kids deserve a summer camp experience?
  • Maybe someone donated for you to go to camp years ago and you want to give back?
  • Or maybe you have always wondered what it would be like to swim in the lake in the winter?

Whatever your reason, your leap will make a difference in a child’s life this summer when they attend summer camp and grow in spirit, mind, body, and friendship.

Leap-ing Levels

  • $50 to leap!
  • $75 to leap + Camp Ernst bracelet
  • $100 to leap + bracelet + POLAR LEAP t-shirt
  • $150 to leap + bracelet + water bottle + t-shirt
  • $200 to leap + bracelet+ water bottle + t-shirt + tote bag
  • VERY IMPORTANT POLAR LEAPER: $500 to leap + bracelet + water bottle + t-shirt + tote bag + blanket + plaque
  • VERY IMPORTANT POLAR LEAPER: $1000 to leap + bracelet + water bottle + t-shirt + tote bag with surprise merch + blanket + plaque

Don’t take the plunge alone! To be considered a team/compete in the team category, you must have a minimum of three people raising funds. Raise the most as a team and you get a special team prize! (Individual incentives are still based on individual fundraising.) Teams raising at least $2500 are also eligible to win a cabin at one of our family camp sessions and to earn volunteer service hours.

Here are some tips to help you get sponsors: set a monetary goal, personalize your ask, donate yourself, and post periodic updates about your progress. Studies show that the closer you are to your goal, the more likely people are to donate. Your closest contacts are the most likely to contribute. Remember, donations can come in any amount!

  • Shoes to plunge in
  • Warm change of clothes for after your plunge
  • Towel
  • Friends
  • Offline donations
  • A costume is optional
  • 10:00-10:30 a.m. – Check-In and games begin at Lakeview Lodge
  • 10:30 a.m. – Head down to lake
  • 11:00 a.m. – Announce fundraising total, awards, prize levels, and get ready to leap!
  • 11:30 a.m. – Pancakes at Lakeview Lodge

Want to be a part of this COOL event, but don’t want to leap in the lake? You can still help out by supporting a leaper with a donation, creating a page and fundraising, or becoming an event sponsor! You can also attend the event and offer moral support–we need cheerleaders, too!

For more information, email ce@myycamp.org , or call 859-586-6181.

Can’t make it to Camp Ernst for the leap, but still want to be a Polar Leaper? You can still participate by becoming a fundraiser and doing a virtual leap! Sign up, raise the money, and take a video or photo of your leap into cold water (or dumping cold water on your head) and post to Instagram tagging us @CampErnst. We’ll send you what you earned, and you’ll know that your cold-water leap helped a child enjoy a hot summer experience at camp!

For more information, email the camp office ce@myycamp.org, or call 859-586-6181.

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