Back last Friday, I mentioned the Teddy Bear Picnic. Well, yesterday, it happened, and it was a lot of fun.
We had lots of fun. We had bears wearing little glasses, bears with little white canes, lots of stuff. We had a model of a communication board for kids who have trouble speaking, we had the colouring books that showed lots of disabilities, and we had lots of blind guy stuff, which turned out to be the giant hit.
At first, it was a bit overwhelming, but then I got into my groove. Everybody wanted their names brailled, even the parents. And some of them wanted their dogs’ and bears’ names brailled too! Good stuff! We even got visited by the Mascot for the Guelph Storm. Poor Stormy. I kept asking him questions, and he felt he couldn’t talk. At the end, he tried to give me a high five, and out of sheer confusion, I ended up shaking his hand! Woops! Ah well, it made for some funny stories.
I think the organizers said we got over 500 people at the picnic, despite the fact that we got poured on twice. Those are some determined picnickers. We sure saw a lot of kids, and lots of them coloured in colouring books, took alphabet cards, and played “decode the braille message.” One kid cracked me up. She started reading the print in the print-braille book I had, and then started adding her own words. She read the last page of the book, which was on the subject of the Perkins Panda, the silly little bear the Brailler folk put out, and then said “Perkins, you are too easy for me. I can read chapter books way harder than you. You are reeeally easy.” She decoded the braille message super fast and then said, “I’m going to take this home and I’ll write notes to you in braille code, dad! She was only seven! I chuckled to myself.
Some kids asked about Trixie, who ended up being held onto by another committee member so kids could sidle right up beside me and watch the brailler and watch me read. It was awesome to educate little ones about why you shouldn’t pet a working dog. I even got to straighten out a woman and tell her that most blind people don’t fondle people’s faces to identify who they are. I wished I had had more time with each kid, but I was in super high demand just brailling names!
It was a lot of fun. Some committee members thought they couldn’t be of any help at all, but they ended up being the most helpful. The one lady holding Trix could just reel kids in like fish with a simple “Hello, how are you?” They were right in our booth in two seconds. It was great. I hope everybody who dropped by learned a thing or two.