On a balmy New Year’s Day, almost 70 kids scaled the heights of The Lake Club waterslide and plunged into 2019.

The Polar Bear Plunge has been a New Year’s Day tradition at Reynolds Lake Oconee since 2007. Much like its other iterations around the country, the idea is straightforward: jump, slide or dip your toes into the chilly pool to ring in the New Year. Afterward, dry off with a warm towel and enjoy unlimited hot apple cider or hot chocolate.

However at Reynolds, in our mild Georgia winters, the day’s weather doesn’t always adhere to the polar origins of the Plunge. This year the air temperature crested at a pleasant 63 degrees.

The plungers definitely weren’t complaining though. Many took advantage of the mild weather and stayed in the pool after their plunge, playing with their friends and family as if it were a summer day.

Ava Shurling, age 11, took the plunge for the third time. “My friends and I went together, and the hot chocolate was good after,” she said. “Once I got used to it, the water wasn’t cold at all.”

All plungers received a Certificate of Achievement for taking the not-so-chilly ride down the waterslide, walking away with a memorable first day of 2019.

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