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Posted on Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ford Lake Frozen Leap participants to plunge into icy water for charity

By Katrease Stafford

The Ford Lake Frozen Leap is back for a fifth year and attendees can expect to see a number of people — and possibly one special celebrity guest — jump into the icy lake for a good cause.


Organizer Tim Adkins expects about 50 people to jump into Ford Lake to benefit SOS Community Services. file photo

The event organizers are seeking to raise $20,000 for the Ypsilanti-based service organization SOS Community Services.

Tim Adkins, co-founder of Pakmode Media + Marketing, said his organization has partnered with Lakeshore Apartments again for the Ypsilanti Township event. Pakmode and Lakeshore are co-founders of the annual event.

"The two of us really started it and have grown over the years," Adkins said. "This is our second year fundraising for SOS. The first three years were for the Washtenaw County American Heart Association."

Mike Hart, a former star running back for the University of Michigan and current Eastern Michigan University running back coach, will be the celebrity judge for the "Best Leap" contest. Adkins said Hart will also jump in the lake if at least $15,000 total is raised for the event.

So far, the group has raised $9,500 and has about a week to go in fundraising, Adkins said. Last year the group reached its $10,000 goal on the day of the event, so this year might be on track to raise more money.

"The first couple of years we did it, we didn't really have any goals in mind," Adkins said. "We just wanted to raise money for a good cause locally and have fun. As the years progressed, we said let's be a bit more strategic about it."

Adkins said SOS was chosen because he, his business partner, Bilal Saeed, and Lakeshore believe in the group's mission to decrease homelessness in Washtenaw County.


Participants are encouraged to dress up in costumes. file photo

In 2012, the SOS food pantry served 7,571 people, an increase from 7,390 in 2011. During its last fiscal year, SOS housed 44 families, and 253 people in total, through temporary housing programs. A total of 36 families moved into permanent housing.

SOS also helped 123 homeless children through programs such as after-school tutoring. On average, SOS houses 60 families each year.

Twenty-one teams are registered this year and 67 individual fundraisers. Adkins expects between 40 and 50 people to jump into the icy water. The rest are participating to raise funds for SOS.

"One hundred percent of what we fund-raise has a direct impact on our local community," Adkins said. "It's just great people doing great things."

Adkins said the EMU football team has a team, as does the Washtenaw County Sheriff's office, which has raised $1,200. Adkins said the sheriff's office group, the WCSO Polar Pigs, is one of the top fundraisers.

"We encourage people to dress up in team costumes," Adkins said. "We’ve had all kinds of fun costumes."

People can sign up for the event right up until the event day, Saturday, Feb. 16. The event starts at 11 a.m. and people will begin jumping in at about 11:15 a.m.

"I think it's pretty cool to have this idea to have a fundraiser for a local non-profit and we’ve grown every year," Adkins said.

Members of the the Washtenaw County Hazmat Response Team, and members of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's dive team will be on hand for safety precautions. Jumpers will also have access to a warming station.

Chelsea Brown, community relations coordinator at SOS, said the event means a lot to the organization and will allow it to provide more services throughout the year.

"This is a pretty unique event," Brown said. "...Every little bit counts. It's all about working together as a community."

Click below to see a video of last year's Frozen Leap by Groundcover News:

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.


nunya III

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 4:37 p.m.

Sorry Kyle. I was just scanning for interesting morning entertainment. This article doesn't need anything written it just needs the video which is why I didn't read through. My bad.


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

How is the fundraising done. Is there an entry fee or spectator fee? Or are donations divorced from participation?


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

Anyone can donate and it does not require "leaping" and there's no fee for spectators, the more the merrier! We've actually got a lot of attractions for those who are planning to just come and watch. Matthew Altruda - host of TreeTown Sound on 107.1 will be our emcee, we've got a dj, food, coffee/hot chocolate (for donations of course), the Fox Sports Detroit Girls and a great panel of judges for our "Best Leap" contest. Here's the link to our fundraising site: Thanks for your interest. Hope to see you out on Saturday!

Katrease Stafford

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

Hi, dexterologist. You don't have to participate to donate. You can go right here to donate: You can click right on the donate to a fundraiser button. I believe it will ask you to pick a particular team to donate to. All of the proceeds go to SOS.

Katrease Stafford

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Anyone plan on participating in this event?

Katrease Stafford

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

Thanks, Truffledog. I'm hopeful we'll be there to capture all of the fun!


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

Over twenty teams with over a total 100 people are already committed. Notably, the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office, led by Derrick Jackson have a large and lively group dubbed the Polar Pigs. Check out the Crowdrise website to see whois jumping and the great photos and more!


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

Ford Lake is pretty disgusting. I'm surprised people that wouldn't consider jumping in the lake in July would do it in February. Oh well, to each his own.


Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 1:02 a.m.

Ok .there Lefty... thanks for the correction.But hey...I was close enough to get a little respect right ?. At any hard feelings....Ok?


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 9:41 p.m.

Sorry tdw, my response was gear toward the original comment by EyeHeartA2. You're close with your lake history. It was actually created before WWII (about 1933) as a power source for the plants.


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 6 p.m.

Oh BTW you stated the water upstream of Ann Arbor is cleaner and is dirtier downstream of Ann Arbor.Do the math


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 5:30 p.m.

Gee whizz you see any mention Ann Arbor whatsoever in my comment ? Nope.You see garbage flows down stream.I mentioned up stream.And as a matter of fact I do know about the lake.It was formed to supply power to Willow Run during WW2 for the production of bombers.Is that good enough ?


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

Blame Ann Arbor for Ford Lake's condition. Water upstream of AA is clean. Water downstream of AA is dirtier. You do the math. The water is cleaner than it used to be and is cleaner in the winter than in the late summer when algae is in full bloom. Wonder how many local residents know the history of this man made lake.

Dog Guy

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 4:16 p.m.

No kayak for me today, tdw: you can't have your kayak and heat it too


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 3:49 p.m. add to my comment.If you look at the water on the east side of the dam the water is very clear.Now this is a little off topic but if you take the river east of the dam to Bellevilie Lake it reminds me of something from Disney World.Herons,Egrets,birds everywhere, even in the trees and you might even see the Bald Eagles that live on the lake.Just don't do it in a kayak, I hate kayaks


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

Actually, Ford Lake is really not THAT bad anymore.Many of the businesses up river that really polluted it are long gone.But that green algae fairway that shows up in the summer is pretty nasty


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

To bad you could not cover the Special Olympic Polar Plunge on Belleville Lake this past Saturday, that has been going on for years!

Kyle Mattson

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 2:17 p.m.

Hi misty we focus most of our coverage on Washtenaw County; however, in the future please feel free to share such events to our community wall page. Thanks!

nunya III

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

Why the video from last year?

Kyle Mattson

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 6:03 p.m.

Thanks for the honest feedback tdw, our reporters and entertainment staff do try to highlight as many upcoming events as possible. Luckily we live in a very active community with plenty going on, but that come with the downside in that it is simply not possible to preview every one in this extended format. We do recommend checking out the event section of the site to see what may going on, as well as refer you to site's like Tim's iSpy for niche coverage on topics like the indie music scene here in the Ann Arbor area.


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 3:32 p.m. I'm gonna defend nunya DOES have a tendency to post articles of events after the fact. I still think Kyle's comment was clever


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

Thank you, Kyle! Nearly spit my coffee out!

Kyle Mattson

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

I try tdw. Sorry if that read a bit weird too...I'm still on my first cup of coffee this morning.


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

Kyle.....You just gave me my first chuckle of the day.Thanks


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

Perhaps its because this years event is still 5 days away ?

Kyle Mattson

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

It's pretty simple nunya, we don't have a time-traveling Delorean on hand for our reporters and photographers to jump forward in time to next week in order get a video of this year's event.


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 11:37 a.m.

Not that this has anything to do with the article but I wonder what happened to the flip-flops the girls in the pictures were wearing after they jumped in


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

ahi.....Very good.....I did not think about that


Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

most flip-flops float.