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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Binker Camp an event for wayward teddy bears

One of my earliest club bears was `Binker` a 3.75 inch mohair bear wearing a green jacket and hat.  He was a particularly troublesome chap, well meaning but easily bored.  After numerous phone calls from owners who were having particular difficulties with his behaviour I decided to recall all `Binkers` back to my house to work on their character skills.  I devised a `Binker Camp`.

Three hundred `Binkers` were returned, from seven different countries for a summer of fun, learning and development.   Here they are pictured at flag raising.  This was taken the day after they arrived but by the end of camp they were all standing still and in line during the event because they learned the importance of showing respect to the flags.

When they arrived their loving owners had sent them with their favorite books and toys; some had cell phones; money to call home; extra clothing; medications;  Clearly part of the problem with these bears was that they were over indulged at home but a summer at mine was clearly what they needed to get them back in shape.  I had a number of phone calls from concerned owners but they were all reassured.   All `Binkers` were required to write home on  Sundays and I will be posting up a copy of one of the Binker`s letters tomorrow.  A few were homesick but I kept them so busy with activities that they soon got over that.

We worked on character development and they each had their own goals of what they wanted to achieve during Camp.  We had special sports events where they could show their skills at soccer, baseball and running.  Of course, not everyone is good at sport so we included other skills such as poetry reading, public speaking, general knowledge, knot tying  and swimming.

No camp is complete without a Musical production and we chose `Oklahoma`.  Of course, none of these boys wanted to take on the girl roles in the event so we called upon in-house bears such as `Hattie`, `Flore` and a number of others.  Unfortunately that was not without its problems.  My well behaved, respectful in house-bears went into a meltdown as they fought over who was to fill the major girl roles and frankly left the `Binkers` quite speechless.... which was a major happening in itself!   We all learned the role of negotiation in decision making and the production went along without a hitch.

Living by the sea one of the most important goals was to have every `Binker` swimming by the time they left camp.  To that end we were very successful.  Safety was a priority.  Unfortunately we did have an outbreak of measles but our Camp Nurse coped very well and the majority of the Binker`s had either had measles or been vaccinated but we still had poison ivy.

By the end of Camp all the Binkers had learned what was expected of them and they returned to their owners with a Camp t-shirt; Achievement awards for each individual Binker; a report on their behaviour and the goals they had worked towards and medals for events they had won.
They had, on their last days fishing activity, each caught a little merbear in shell which they also took home to their owners.  Everyone had a great time and I was very proud of their transformation but I have to be honest I was relieved to see them go. 

Unfortunately I have received a number of complaints over the last year about these `Binker`s`
lapsing into inconsiderate behaviour again.  It has been some time since the Camp and while I do advise owners not to over indulge these little characters and their antics they remain an easily bored `handful`.  

Therefore, I will be announcing a special event for `Binkers` in the next week.

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