Young Women’s Leadership Dips Down and Rises Up

Emily Rubin and Sage Collis

In early spring, ocean water temperatures in York were recorded at less than 37 degrees Fahrenheit on average, considered ‘dangerously cold’ for even professional swimmers. However, this didn’t stop the Saltwater Mountain Co. group from practicing their daily ‘cold water dip’, accompanied by York High School’s Young Women’s Leadership club.

Saltwater Mountain Co. is an organization aimed “to empower women, support mental health and build community – one step, one breath and one dip at a time”, according to founder Amy Hopkins. Hopkins began Saltwater Mountain Co. in 2022 to support those struggling with mental illness during the pandemic. Today, the organization donates a percentage of its profits to NAMI Maine, which helps Maine citizens with mental illnesses. If you’re interested in supporting Saltwater Mountain Co.’s mission, you can visit their online store, which sells merchandise that helps you brave the cold water, like hoodies, beanies, and mugs. You can also visit to take a look at their list of upcoming ocean dips that are free and welcome for anyone to join!

York High School’s Young Women’s Leadership club members participated in this dip with excitement and courage! Club members from all four grades showed up to polar plunge alongside usual dip members. Molly Kenealy, a junior, did the dip with enthusiasm as she has nothing but positive words to say about her experience. “I did the dip because I think it’s a really fun way to connect and bond as a club, and it’s never as bad as you think it’s gonna be; it’s super rejuvenating!” Fun fact, not only is the dip rejuvenating, it is super good for relaxing muscles! While some members of the group were a bit more hesitant than the normal dippers, every single member who showed up; dipped. Claire Hanson, a senior at York, says that “it was empowering to be around so many strong and brave people.” Hanson said it best, it takes extreme bravery to jump into the frigid waters of Harbor beach, and that is what brings groups like Dip Down to Rise Up and York High School’s Young Women’s leadership together, bravery and the sheer desire to empower young women.