At 4:30 in the morning of November 13th six brave hikers took their first steps on the Appalachian trail determined to hike the 41 miles that run through Maryland in 24 hours. Why would they undertake such a challenge? To raise awareness for Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs and get community members interested in learning about how they can help local abused or neglected children through a CASA program in their community.
CASA organizations are volunteer based organizations that train and support volunteers to advocate in court for children who have been abused or neglected so that every child has a safe, permanent, nurturing home. A CASA volunteer provides a source of constant support during a traumatic time in a child's life.Familiar with the life changing impacts a CASA volunteer can have on a child and his or her future, Greg Blair a recreational hiker and a former advisory board member of Carroll County's CASA program, Voices for Children of Carroll County, wanted to spread awareness about CASA. He wanted people to know that CASA programs help thousands of children in Maryland communities each year and nationally have served millions of children since being founded in 1971. What formed was a plan to complete what is termed the Maryland Challenge, hiking the 41 miles of the Appalachian trail in Maryland in under 24 hours, with five friends, and a philanthropic twist.
On Saturday, the hiking team numbered six but the network of support numbered in the hundreds. The hikers were entirely outfitted through the generosity of the following Maryland and national companies Keen Footwear, EaglesNestOutfitters, GSI Outdoors, Lowe Alpine, Mountain Hardwear, Camelbak, Princeton Tec, Clif Bars, Teko Socks, www.hikingupward.com and SteriPEN. The support provided by these companies was enormous and a true testament to their dedication to the CASA mission of helping children in need. The team enjoyed gorgeous views, each others company and the sweet feeling of accomplishment at their 9 pm finish, clocking them at a speedy 16.5 hours to hike the 41 miles. Perseverance, big hearts and plenty of water helped make the event such a success but it would have never been possible without the companies that reached out to prepare the hikers and give back to the community.
Additionally, the Facebook event group created for the event, 41-Miles 24-Hours 1-Voice, collected over 550 supporters. The team updated the page throughout the hike so supporters could track their impressive progress. Now, after the completion of the hike, pictures and videos from the hike are being added generating further interest. From virtual support to thousands of dollars in hiking donations the 16.5 hour physical challenge brought together a community that cares. It was undoubtedly an unforgettable day for the hikers and it has clearly helped CASA's mission reach a wide audience, hopefully leaving an unforgettable impact that urges more people to reach out and volunteer in their communities today.
For more information about volunteering with your local CASA program check out National CASA's website www.casaforchildren.org or Maryland CASA's website www.marylandcasa.org
About Lowe Alpine:
Born in 1967, Lowe Alpine originated in the Colorado workshop of climber Greg Lowe and his brothers, Mike and Jeff. Since that time, Lowe Alpine has grown to become an international company now owned by Asolo SpA (www.asolo.com.) Along the way we've retained Greg's vision and enthusiasm by choosing to innovate rather than follow the crowd. Leading patented technologies such Torso Fit System (TFS), Torso Fit Expedition (TFX), AirZone, Load Locker, along with their TFX COMFORT GUARANTEE all result in excellent fit and carry. Lowe Alpineâ€¦When Fit Matters Most.
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