Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

By Coby Hutzler


A frigid wave is sweeping the country.

What began as a dare to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, has exploded in popularity and led to record donations to the ALS Association - almost $100 million in just the past month or so.

That wave is called the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Participants can "challenge" other participants, and the challenged person can either submit to a dousing of ice water and donate $10 to the ALS Association, or they can donate $100 for the privilege of staying dry and warm.

Whether they dunk or not, they can challenge someone else, and on it goes.

Staff members at Albertson's grocery in Baker City recently accepted a challenge and submitted to a mass soaking, and an assortment of challenges and volunteerism led each of Kcia Fletcher's three sons - Ethan, 7, Dawson, 5, and Oliver, 2 - to bathe themselves in frigid water.

The challenge has gotten so popular that it's seeing use beyond donations to ALS research.

Just ask Ginger Savage, executive director of the Crossroads Carnegie Art Center in Baker City. Savage employed the challenge to fund two visits next year by the Missoula Children's Theater (MCT).

The theater, which visits communities and enlists local children to act in a play, has been coming to Baker City for six years. A glut of interest this year meant that not everyone who wanted to participate was able to.

"I probably had to turn 15 kids away," this year, Savage said. "It hurt my heart."

That prompted a plan to bring the MCT to Baker twice in 2015. However, it costs the center $2,900 for a visit by the MCT, "which is a screaming good deal, all things considered," Savage said.

The $5,800 needed for two visits seemed like a tall order, and that saw Savage turn to buckets of ice water to help her cause, appealing to the young cast of this year's play for help spreading the word.

The goal was to raise the money primarily through audience growth at this year's play, but donations started to roll in as well.

See more in Friday's issue of the Baker City Herald.