Halfway between the equator and the North Pole lies the 45th parallel. Those who live and play in New Hampshire’s scenic and adventure-rich North Country have likely seen the controversial green plaque marking the spot. (Due to the Earth being not quite a perfect sphere, and also the fact that the sign has been moved and/or stolen on occasion, the exact location of the 45th parallel is a little fuzzy.)
Just north of this shifty line of demarcation, in the town of Pittsburg, can be found some of Court Appointed Special Advocate of New Hampshire’s most steadfast supporters. You might call this a tale of two bears.
Corrine Rober and Steve Baillargeon are long-time supporters and friends of CASA. Some of Corrine’s “first steps” helping CASA took place on the runway for fashion show fundraisers. In 2014, Corrine and Steve’s company, Bear Rock Adventures, launched a full-day fundraising and awareness event for CASA. Running for multiple years, these jamboree benefits offered activities and attractions for the whole family, along with some key visibility for CASA of NH.
“We’re always looking for ways to connect to the community and meet the needs in the community. There are a lot of struggles for kids in the North Country, and not a lot of support,” explains Corrine.
More recently, when the CASA Cares Gala returned live in 2022, after being held virtually during the pandemic, Corrine and Steve were large contributors to the event’s success. Not only did they donate a Bear Rock Adventures glamping and ATV package for the auction, they added to the excitement in person, and placed the winning bid for lunch and a tour of the capital building with Governor Sununu.
As a sign of their commitment, Bear Rock Adventures has also officially selected CASA as one of their charities of choice. Corrine and Steve directed their PR team to include CASA messaging in Bear Rock’s marketing, and they recently hosted an open house at the store to spread awareness. “We’ve always believed in what CASA is doing. The need for assistance for youth in the area made us decide that CASA is one organization that is really vital for our community,” says Corrine.
Additionally, Bear Rock Adventures has partnered with The Family Restored, whose mission is to strengthen and support families affected by addiction through family support groups, 12-step workshops, and scholarships to help pay for treatment and recovery housing.
A stone’s throw down the road from Bear Rock Adventures (perhaps with a stop at Moose Alley Cones for a Bear Paw sundae) is At Bear Tree Inn and Cabins, also home to Murphy’s Steakhouse. In 2002 proprietor Georgie Lyons became only the second ever CASA of NH volunteer north of Dixville Notch. As a CASA, Georgie spent three years advocating for four North Country children. “I loved the training,” she says, “and it felt really good helping the children out.”
Having stepped back from her CASA role due to the many commitments of running a business, Georgie now serves on the CASA North Country Advisory Council. “It’s disheartening to see what these kids are going through in this day and age,” says Georgie. “There’s so much more pressure and stress on children and parents.”
Her confidence in the good a CASA can do for children has kept Georgie connected with the organization for the past two decades. “It’s a great organization, and it’s so needed,” she says. From donating lodging for staff during work trips to sharing the word about CASA far and wide, Georgie plays a key part in furthering CASA’s mission in New Hampshire’s north.
While the exact location of the 45th parallel is somewhat wavering, the support of Georgie, Corrine, Steve, and others like them in the North Country is anything but. CASA of NH is so grateful for our friends in “high” places.