Clackamas Staff Take the Plunge for Special Olympics

What would it take for you to dive into a pool of frigid water in the midst of winter?

What would it take for you to do it 300 times?

A Frigid Endeavor for a Great Cause

Clackamas Federal Credit Union President and CEO Aaron Goff has a lifetime goal of 300 polar plunges, and for a good reason. For Goff, it’s not about the number, it’s about what diving into that water represents, which, for the past four years is $150,000 in donations for Oregon’s Special Olympics, a cause near and dear to his heart.

As of this month, his plunge number stands at 236, so he’s got few to go.

When asked if those plunges keep him young or age him, he laughs and answers, “Well, I don’t think they keep me young.”

Goff is passionate about giving back to the community, a trait he shares with the overall Credit Union Movement, which was founded on the “People Helping People” philosophy.

Clackamas Federal Credit Union CEO Aaron Goff takes the plunge with his daughter Olivia.

And he’s especially passionate about Special Olympics, an organization he’s supported for 14 years. He brought that passion with him when he joined Clackamas four years ago, and his enthusiasm inspired other team members to get involved.

“I think it’s a great cause, and there’s no other organization that’s done as much to promote inclusion for people with cognitive disabilities than Special Olympics,” Goff explained. “We have a child that has developmental disabilities, so it means a lot to our family for that reason.”

This year, 23 Clackamas staff members are “polar plunging” for Oregon Special Olympics as part of a new event the credit union came up with called “Tour de Plunge” — seven plunge events in different locations taking place over a few weeks. Goff also has a team participating in the Super Plunge — 24 plunges in 24 hours, meaning that this year, Goff’s staff will be completing 31 plunges in total to raise money for Special Olympics.

A Deep Commitment to Giving Back

Goff has served in the credit union industry for 30 years, and he strongly believes in the mission of making a difference in members’ lives as well as giving back to the community. It’s one way credit unions stand out from other financial institutions, he said.

“At Clackamas, our mission is to improve lives and we don’t say we improve lives through better checking accounts. We improve lives in many different ways. Financial services and education is the bulk of it, but we’re involved in various charitable activities.”

Throughout the year, the credit union delivers food packages, helps with housing insecurity and medical needs due to the pandemic, and participates in other Special Olympics activities, such as the Plane Pull and serving on the Young Professionals Council. But the Polar Plunges are Goff’s personal favorite way to support the organization, something he shares with his daughter, who joins him for the fun.

“I just love this event because it does so many things for us as an organization,” he said. “It’s fun, it fulfills our mission, it’s a team-building event, and it promotes inclusion. There’s nothing like the camaraderie. It really checks a lot of boxes for us.”

To follow the Clackamas team’s journey through Tour de Plunge, check out the credit union’s Facebook page.

Posted in Community Impact, CU Difference.