It’s crunch time for 11-year-old Chalfant Valley resident Corie Elizabeth Campbell, who launched a vigorous fundraising campaign in September to earn $8,000 by May 1 to finance a People to People Student Ambassador tour of the United Kingdom.
Two ongoing raffles with prizes to be announced in April, chores for hire and a hand-painted mug sale have helped Campbell to get half way to her goal so far.
On April 1, two raffle prize winners will take home either a Sturm Ruger 10/22 rifle or a Remington 870 .12 gauge shotgun. The first-place ticket-holder gets first choice.
On April 15, three ticket-holders will share in winning 12 bags of Nutro pet food, 12 bags of Canidae pet food or a gift basket full of goodies for their pet. Through her father’s efforts, Nutro and Canidae donated these prizes valued at $800. The first- and second-place ticket-holders get first and second choice.
Tickets cost $10 for two and $20 for five and are for sale at Wye Road Feed & Supply, Eastern Sierra Community Bank and Lee Style in Bishop, TJ’s Merc in Chalfant Valley, and NAPA Auto Parts in Lone Pine.
With mere weeks to go in her fundraising campaign, Campbell said she is asking for continued public support so that she can represent her school – Edna Beaman Elementary in Benton – and each and every local community while serving as an ambassador in the UK.
“She will represent all of us, Bishop, Benton, Chalfant Valley, the Eastern Sierra really,” mother Amy Campbell explained. “It’s a unique opportunity. And we are working hard to raise the funds not just asking for donations.”
Campbell, a sixth-grader who maintains a 4.0 grade point average at Edna Beaman Elementary, continues to meet P2P’s many rigorous program requirements.
The real challenge, the family noted, is raising 100 percent of the $7,000 tuition, which includes airfare, hotels, hostels, meals and guided tours. Campbell must also raise pocket money for the 19-day trip to England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, the country of her heritage on father Cory Campbell’s side.
“I am also reaching out to family, friends and local businesses to help sponsor my trip,” Campbell said.
Her grandparents, Lynne and David Campbell, immediately became sponsors at the $300 rate. According to Amy, Bishop VFW Post 8988 has also agreed to make a donation.
Campbell said that the fundraiser’s success to date is due to the collective hard work of her family, which includes sisters Kali, 13, and Allisa, 10, who she said have “huge imaginations.” Last year, they began by scouring thrift stores for plain white coffee mugs. “We bought every one they had,” said Amy, hand painted each one with green, red, silver and gold Christmas motifs and sold 65 mugs at $10 each during the holidays.
The profit earned on the mugs plus funds Campbell has raised doing yard work, dog walking and car washing netted them the seed money to buy the two rifles.
No stranger to hard work, Campbell earned her proverbial seat on the bus by successfully navigating P2P’s gauntlet of criteria. These included “filling out an application, getting (three teacher) references and going through an interview process,” according to a press release put out by the family. Amy said the list of requirements also included five orientations in Reno, homework assignments and a series of online quizzes about destination histories and governments.
The P2P Ambassador Program, according to its website, is an offshoot of the P2P movement founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. “Eisenhower was acting on his firm belief that direct interaction between ordinary citizens around the world can promote cultural understanding and world peace,” the website states.
The Ambassador Program “offers extraordinary, life-changing educational travel opportunities for students, educators and professionals,” the website continues. “With nearly 50 years of experience, more than 500,000 alumni and destinations on seven continents, People to People Ambassador Programs is the world’s most recognized and respected educational travel provider.”
Campbell said she looks forward to the P2P website’s promise that she will “experience new cultures, make lifelong friendships, and build the foundation for personal success.”
In particular, Campbell said she is excited about giving exposure to her small school, taking her knowledge into the real world and continuing the learning process.
“Our tour leader said the difference between tourists and ambassadors is that tourists go there to learn. We (ambassadors) go after we learn. Benton is small, not a lot of people know about it and I am proud to represent it,” she said.
“I am so excited about my trip because it teaches responsibility, I always wanted to go to those countries and I want to zip line down a castle wall,” Campbell continued. She said it would also be awesome to participate in a “Hunger Games”-style “medieval encampment dinner and learn defensive arts as an honorary knight of Warwick Castle (in England),” as one tentative itinerary item is listed.
Although Campbell claimed she is not overly adventurous, she vowed “to try at least one bite of everything served, if they don’t tell me what it is first.” However, even after finding out what it is, Campbell said she would still try haggis, a Scottish dish made of a sheep or calf’s offal, suet, oatmeal, and seasoning and boiled in a bag, traditionally one made from the animal’s stomach.
If she survives the haggis, the trip will enhance Campbell’s education, added Amy, “especially in government because Corie had history and government homework assignments and will meet actual government officials over there.”
Campbell, already planning ahead, said this tour will be advantageous “when I get older and go to college in Europe. I also want to take a year off and travel to different places I’ve never been. This (tour) will help shorten my list.”
Anyone interested in helping support Campbell on her voyage may make donations payable to Corie Campbell: 585 Valley Road, Bishop, CA 93514. For more information, call (760) 872-4050.