Friday, June 28, 2013

Giving back

Growing up I wasn't a big volunteer. I mean, of course I'd help out around my parents house, and when I needed service hours to graduate high school I was able to volunteer at the nursing home my dad ran...but giving back was never something that I did on a regular basis.

Rewind four years ago. I realize that the firm I was working for was getting painfully slow, so I started looking for ways to use my engery...I went to the SPCA website and hunted through their volunteer listings. One thing I knew I absolutely could NOT do was work with the animals. Why?

Because I would take them all home.

And then The Hubs would leave me.

And then I'd be that person who, rather than going out to eat with my family, I'd stay home and count my cats.

I didn't want that life.

So I decided to keep hunting through the listings and I found an ad for a Humane Educator. I did a little research on what that would entale and here's the big did NOT involve animals, instead it described talking to kids and sharing the SPCA's philosophy and how to be a good pet parent. Now that was something I could do!

I met with the director at the time and that started the ball rolling. Well, less of a ball and more of a tumble weed that turned into a bale of hay...which turned into a GIANT ball (...I don't know what its called when its bigger than hay, my point is that things snowballed.)

And in that snowball, we decided we should host a summer camp. Open to the public. And I would run it. Wowza.

I am an Interior Designer. Not a teacher. (Although I did a few semesters at the community college last year...but that's besides the point.) But I was up for the challenge. I dove into the books and binders and websites and found as much information as I could and our first summer camp was a huge success. Last year we had even more kids than the previous year and again, another HUGE success!

This year our eyes might have been bigger than our mouths. We hoped to have 100 kids in camp. (Typically we have like, 25!) And although we didn't even come close to the 100 (thank goodness, I mean I'm only one person, right?!) we did have 20 amazing kids come to camp this week who all got to play and learn about animals and get excited about pet care!

It makes me so happy to run this program. I'm so thankful to run my own business which allows me the freedom to take off a week from the typical workload, and pick up this awesome load of work!

Yesterday was exotic animal day and we had a great time meeting with a wildlife rescue expert who brought some of her animals including two baby raccoons, a skunk (who was de-scented!) geckos, a bearded lizard, chameleon, a tortoise named Bulldozer and a three month old groundhog!

Its amazing to see how big the eyes on my campers faces get when they see these animals and become passionate about animal care! So, while I don't clean out cages (which is so important) or walk the shelter pups, I am able to start planting the seeds of volunteerism into these kiddos heads!! Which makes me so thankful! Who knows, one day all my campers might end up being the best dog walkers out there!!