In 2016, our caller, Ron Baldwin, and his wife, Jan McLean, had a dream.
They were … and still are … active members of the Rocking Roosters in Newtown. But Ron was a caller and had a vision of starting his very own club.
Ron and Jan evaluated the situation and found there was an area – lower Fairfield County - that was not covered by the existing clubs.
In the Fall of 2016, they began to make dream a reality and launched the first class of bear cubs. 13 enthusiastic mainstream dancers graduated the Spring of 2016. In 2017 another class of 13 graduated.
It was decided that these two classes provided the critical mass to allow us to be a member-run club … and that happened on October 24th, 2017.
Success stories like this do not happen without a lot of work. We are grateful to our Papa and Mama Bear for everything they did to start our club. They continue to be our collaborators, cheerleaders, inspiration and guiding lights as we move forward.
Our founder, leader, club caller and inspiration!
I am really proud of the Square Bears. Since our first open house in December of 2016, we have grown from 0 to 24 Mainstream dancers. That this was accomplished with only one angel is truly remarkable. And what a delightful group the Bears are, friendly and sociable, they truly enjoy each other’s company. They laugh when their square breaks down and always keep a positive attitude. As a new caller, I feel blessed to have this group to share with on our learning journey and look forward to the coming years.
Our co-founder and cheerleader ... the heart of our club!
I love these guys! When we put out the call for people to come and give square dancing a try, I never dreamed we could be so lucky. The stars must have been aligned that day. I can’t imagine a nicer group of people: friendly, kind, interesting and full of fun and laughter, and most of all, open and willing to learn and to try something new. Whether they’re dancing in a square (sailing through the calls or messing up totally and laughing hysterically) or socializing during the breaks, it’s obvious that these Bears definitely enjoy life. I am proud of how far they’ve come, and proud to call them my friends.
In May 2019 the Square Bears made this their the new home. We dance in a lovely, large, air-conditioned hall.
Ron Baldwin is a retired engineer and his wife, Jan McLean, is a mixed media artist. They live in Shelton, Connecticut. They have 2 grown children and 4 grandchildren.
When not square dancing, Ron designs and builds sets for Center Stage Theater in Shelton. Jan exhibits her art throughout the area.
Ron learned to square dance while stationed with the Army in Germany. He went to caller’s school there and called for a year for the Nurnberg Honeycake Squares. In 1981, Ron met Jan, a
recent square dance graduate, at a square dance campout in Hanau, Germany. There was instant chemistry and they have been together ever since. Ron came back from Germany in 1982 and Jan came back a short while later.
Ron left the Army in 1983, joined Jan in Shelton and went to work as an engineer for Branson Ultrasonics. They danced with the Goodtimers club in Ansonia, CT for about 2 years and then stopped dancing when that club folded.
After he retired in 2013, Jan and Ron started dancing again and joined the Rocking Roosters in Newtown, CT.
Ron went to caller’s school in 2016 and he and Jan founded the Square Bears in December of that year.
Jan and Ron are Class Coordinators for the Rocking Roosters and Recruitment and Retention Coordinators for CASDC (Connecticut Association of Square Dance Clubs). He is a member of Callerlab and the Connecticut Callers Association.
2019 - 2020
2019 - 2020
Hospitality: Peggy & Dave Ceponis
Facilities: Paul Keene
Greeting and Class Coordinators: Cathy and Steve Ernst
Marketing: Peter Engstrom
Webmaster: Kathy Engstrom
CASDC Rep: Ron Baldwin
Hudson Valley Council Rep: Paul Keene
The Norfield Grange in Weston, CT was our original home for dancing from the Fall of 2016 to May of 2019.
Check out this great video