The annual Winter Solstice Nude Charity Swim raises money for the charities Love Your Sister and Lifeline. Participants plunge naked into the icy Lake Burley Griffin at daybreak. Last year, a bagpiper played before the intrepid swimmers launched. Although the event started with only four people three years ago, it is growing. Last year, sixty people participated, and this year, an estimated 31 teams and 122 people are signed up so far, with two days to go. The chilly dunk is scheduled for sunrise at 7:12 am, and the morning forecast is for partly sunny skies with the temperature a little below freezing.
The other charity event is the tenth annual CEO Sleepout sponsored by the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Australia. On 20 June, one of the longest nights of the year, leaders across Australia in business, government, and communities will sleep without shelter to raise money to battle homelessness and poverty. In Canberra this year, the CEO Sleepout will be held at the airport, in Hangar 47 on the Fairbairn RAAF base. Airport representatives say that temperatures regularly fall to below freezing and “aircraft noise will be a constant reminder of the harsh realities of sleeping rough.” The hope in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is to raise at least $700,000 AUD for services to help the homeless.
While I don’t think I’ll be shivering in Lake Burley Griffin or sleeping rough in a hangar on this winter solstice, I’ll be supporting the people who do and celebrating the arrival of the longer days to come.
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