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January 26, 2024

Kelly Pool polar plunge returns to raise money for lifeguard recruitment

Philly Phreeze generated $70,000 in 2023, but this year, the city's fundraising goal is $125,000

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Philly phreeze lifeguards @PhilaParksandRec/Facebook

After a successful inaugural event in 2023, the Philly Phreeze polar plunge returns Feb. 24. The fundraiser supports the recruitment of lifeguards to work this summer at Philadelphia Parks & Recreation pools.

The City of Philadelphia is calling on residents to do their civic duty by jumping into a frigid pool in February.

Philly Phreeze is set to return to Kelly Pool next month after a successful inaugural run last year. The polar plunge raises money for aquatics programming and lifeguard recruitment to ensure that public pools can open in the summer. 

RELATED: Watch ice sculptors at work at the Founders Philly Freeze-Out in Manayunk

Staffing shortages were so pervasive in 2022 that 21 of the city's 74 pools remained closed through the season, and at least one 70-year-old grandmother returned to the lifeguard chair. To entice more employees, the city began offering $1,000 bonuses last year — funded in part through the Philly Phreeze.

Roughly 150 people participated in the first Philly Phreeze, which raised $70,000 last winter. The city's fundraising goal for 2024 is $125,000 to support the hiring of 400 lifeguards. Donations totaled just under $2,000 Friday morning.

Anyone hoping to take the plunge Feb. 24 must raise at least $50 to participate. All divers will receive a T-shirt, but those who hit $100 or $250 will earn additional swag, including hats, beach towels and blankets.

Philly Phreeze

Saturday, Feb. 24 | 12-2 p.m.
Kelly Pool
4231 Lansdowne Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19131

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