BBC, Bumble Bee Club

How The Bumble Bee Club Started

For many years I had a client in Boras whose MD was a smoker but never bought any cigarettes and when I was working there he always asked me for a fag! In 1980 he was closing a management course and as a gift he manufactured some costumes and presented them. Anyway, after their celebration, he gave me four costumes. I saved one for myself and gave the others away to friends in connection with a party or birthday. The first to a close friend, #15076 Bengt Conradson, and another to #13514 Jan Jerre.

After a while I asked the MD if they had some more material. He had so I bought their stock in various colours and the pattern and they manufactured some 40 - 50 costumes. So now I had a lot of gifts to give to nice people when I went to parties. Not all were Senators but since at that time I attended a lot of Jaycee activities I think most of them were and all were Swedish.

In 1982 I organized and invited members (we had no name at that time) to the beach in Tylösand after the lunch. So the active club started at the 25th anniversary of the Crayfish Party.

It is very difficult to get the right type of material so for several years I could not get any except from big companies who had minimum order quantities of 5000 m. However at the end of 1985 I got some and at the Savonlinna EC in 1986 I went international and started to find new members from different countries

I went to my first DO in York in 1988 and we got a name. I received a photo of seven of us from Mary Rassmussen - wife of #17311 - and she called us the Bumble Bee Brigade which I changed to the Bumble Bee Club as we by then were regarded as a club. In 1994 at Den Haag I organized the first swim in connection with a European Congress and almost every EC since then has had a swim organised by me or BBC members and is now part of the regular programme. It has also been part of the World Conference programme when in Europe with a swim being held in Copenhagen, Vienna and Antalya. In 1994 I also started to register the members.

After receiving numerous postcards from lady Senators I could not deny them any more so in 1996 I helped them to buy material and get them manufactured but left the responsibility to Clare Ashton #31337 and Åsa Johansson #33805.

My joy is to see grown up people, often with high positions in the community relaxing for a moment, forgetting their troubles and being a little bit childish.

#22866 Roger Alm,

JCI Senator

‘One Size Fits Nobody’

The BBC is a club, like the Senate, that you cannot apply to join. You become a member when the founder Roger Alm, # 22866, or his representative at a Senate event sidles up to you with a suspicious looking parcel. Usually the unsuspecting Senator thanks Roger for the unexpected gift and wonders what they have done to deserve a present from such a distinguished Senator. It’s only when they open it that their face drops at the prospect of having to wear the famous BBC uniform!

What is really good about the Bumble Bee Club is that there are no formalities. There is no committee with meetings and minutes and agendas. There is no hierarchy or elections for office because there can only ever be one chairman of the BBC, Roger its founder. Meetings are held at Senate events whenever the chairman decides to hold them and members gather in their elegant costumes, either on the beach or round a pool. They lark about in the water like children at play and have been known to attract dubious glances from members of the public. Mothers have been seen to scoop their children from the pool or to move further up the beach as the Bumble Bee members appear. Particularly when the music begins. It’s not often you see a bunch of mature men and women cavorting about in silly costumes or playing trumpets in the swimming pool.

Roger selects member according to strict criteria. Well strict criterion anyway. In his own words `I select new members if I find them nice!’ He goes on to say that it can take five minutes or many years and he chooses Senators who have worked hard for the Senate. That is why you find many past Senate chairmen and members of the ASE in the Bumble Bee club. He also recognises those who have worked hard at Senate events by offering home hospitality for instance.

That is what is really special about the Bumble Bee club. You see folks who are really `important’ within their own community, the world of business or the Senate itself behaving like children and enjoying letting the world laugh at them. It certainly brings you down to earth wandering about the beach dressed in a Bumble Bee costume. And it makes for interesting conversations when a member of the public plucks up the courage to ask what it’s all about. The simple answer is it’s all about having fun! And long may it continue.

#45643Ian Nelson,

JCI Senator