Now this is dedication – already raised the entire amount and that is as a result of setting up her own mini business!!

At first I felt really excited at the prospect of such an awesome experience with a very well organised company. It will be the first time away from home for four weeks and a real test of how I will cope independently. I am aiming to become a vet and really loved the concept of de -worming goats and going on a safari. For me this is the chance of a lifetime to see such beautiful creatures close up and I know I will relish the experience. One concern I had was that of safety, but after re – reading the literature provided by Camps International and looking at the website, I was very reassured and now am not concerned at all. I am also embracing the fact that I’ll be helping local people. What a great opportunity to help others.  I’m really excited at meeting people from a different culture and can’t wait to see the Massai dance. There are a few really good friends of mine going on the trip, and in fact one of them actually comes from Kenya too. Eeek can’t wait.

As I aspire to become a vet I came up with the idea of starting a pet sitting business to raise funds for the trip. Mum & Dad were supportive and stipulated that I must earn the money myself somehow. The same evening as the initial Camps International meeting for parents at school (May), me & my Mum set up a facebook page named ‘Happy Pets York’. We look after all species of animals, cats, dogs, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, fish, African Pygmy hedgehogs, and reptiles (including tarantulas and bearded dragons). We also dog walk too! I was blown away by the initial demand and am loving the varied work. With regard to obstacles, It has at times been hard getting up at 6am and cycling to a clients house, looking after their pets and cycling home, and then doing the same routine in the evening when it’s cold and dark but it’s really, really worth it. I love making sure that all the animals needs are met and especially love cuddle time. I don’t enjoy walking dogs in the torrential rain, but it really is to benefit the dog and meet their needs.

By the end of September we had raised enough money to pay for the whole trip and the business has gone from strength to strength, so that now we have also set up a pet taxi service. I’m learning to drive when I’m 17 and so will be helping out with that too. It been a fantastic experience so far.

I have recently been studying hard for my GCSE mock exams and am happy to say that my grades ranged from B’s to A’s. I still have a lot of studying to cover to achieve the grades for Vet school. This week I also picked my A level subjects which are Biology, Chemistry, Psychology & History and took part in a 6th Form taster day. Boy did I feel grown up as we don’t need to wear a uniform and can take our phones to school. Bonus.

I’ve been busy mucking out stables and riding, and have got my stable routine finely tuned. Can’t wait for Spring and lighter evenings. I’ve managed to raise all the money for the trip which is a huge weight off my mind as I really didn’t want to ask family members for handouts. My fundraising effort through the Happy Pets York pet business has exceeded all expectations, but at the same time has been a massive experience in meeting different clients and varied species of animals. I’m socially much more confident now at meeting people that I don’t know, and having a conversation.catherinehap6

I’ll keep going with fundraising, and who knows, if I can earn the same amount again, maybe I could take part in another Camps International trip ……that really would be awesome and something I’d love to do…..or even become a team member in the future. I’m sure I’ll be bitten by the travelling bug and want to explore more places. I tell everyone I meet about Camps International and my forthcoming trip to Kenya. They are all really pleased for me, and I’m the one who they ask for to look after their pets. I may invest in a really good camera to take some awesome shots on location, and this way, when I return home, I can maybe contact the local press and give my story / pictures to be published. I really do hope this will inspire other teenagers to take part too.

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