Camille Busco is a senior at Royal High School in Simi Valley. She remembers a particular moment when she visited the Ventura County Animal Shelter asking to volunteer, but was denied because she was under eighteen years old. After she returned home, she thought about other individuals who had probably been turned down for volunteering opportunities because they were underage.
Camille wanted to give those same individuals ideas that would help the animal shelter so that they would still be able to fulfill their desire to serve. It was then she came up with the idea for her Gold Award project, “Answering the Animals’ Calls.”
She began by collecting animal supply donations and old materials from her church, school, and community to make homemade toys out of. She then organized an activity where she taught 30 volunteers about animal shelters and how to make the homemade toys. The result was over 200 toys!
Camille then began putting together binders that the Simi Valley and Camarillo Animal Shelter could keep at their front desk, listing ten different ways that individuals under eighteen could still help out. The binders were separated into the four main animals at the shelter: dogs, cats, rabbits, and small animals. Within each section she included instructions on how to make DIY treats and toys, basic animal care information, and guidelines on what each animal should be fed.
“I made these binders because I believe they will benefit people who are adopting an animal for the first time, someone who has had animals in the past, and those who just want to help the shelter,” she said. “The donation drive also benefited the Ventura County Animal Shelter in the trying times of need during the SoCal fires.”
The binders were also added to the Key Club at her high school, where students can learn about different ways to help the shelter and become encouraged to volunteer once they are old enough.
“Across the whole world animals need to be taken care of,” Camille says. “The small step I made toward improving my local animal shelters is a step in the right direction. We have an important stewardship over our corner of the world and taking action on a local need has the potential to turn into something big. The more people take action on their thoughts and ideas, the more things change and become better for everyone.”
With the completion of her project, Camille took away many important leadership and communication skills. “I learned better time management skills because I had a lot of tasks to accomplish and needed to be efficient in the ways I went about them,” she says. “I learned how to better communicate with those around me and improve my leadership skills.”
“Completing this project helped me understand that when I set my mind to something I will go all out to make it happen and make it be the best it can possibly be. I put my heart and soul into it. I learned that I don’t stop trying even through setbacks.”
If you are interested in learning more about the Gold Award, you can find more information here!