Earper Spotlight on @VisitPurgatory

Earper Spotlight on @VisitPurgatory

To me, Earp Your Community is a reminder of the massive amount of change that can come from one small but dedicated group.  The joy that comes from giving back to the community is immeasurable and a recipe for instant gratification and happiness.  If you’re thinking about organizing an event I would absolutely encourage you to do so! The Earp community is SO engaged and powerful!  Grab a friend and organize it together – it’s always great to have a teammate to work with and it makes the whole process so much more fun!

I got to experience that Earp Your Community spirit myself when I teamed up with @VisitPurgatory after seeing the devastation caused by the California wildfires last November. I asked Earpers to help me organize a service event volunteering with local animal shelters, and VP answered the call. She worked with @EarpItForward to put together a wonderful experience for me, and more importantly for the Earpers who joined us that morning.

Thank you to all the Earpers who came out that day and to those that have continued to volunteer at shelters since our orientation. And the biggest thank you to VP for putting that first event together. So happy to a part of shining a spotlight on all your hard work.

~ Kat Barrell

animal shelter group photo

@VisitPurgatory’s Earp Your Community Journey

Tell us a little about yourself?

I’ve been involved with animal rescue for about 9 years now. I’ve always loved animals but didn’t really know how to get involved. One day I was driving past an orange grove and found 6 dogs someone had abandoned. The orange groves are home to lots of animals, including coyotes, and to coyotes, dogs are a nice snack. I had no idea what I would do with 6 dogs but I knew I had to try to save them. I went home to get dog food and treats and tried for several hours to get them to trust me. It didn’t work (Later on, I learned that greasy cheeseburgers work wonders). I called around to local no-kill shelters and rescues to see if anyone could take them in, but I didn’t have any luck. Feeling defeated, I finally had to call animal control. After this experience, I decided I wanted to research the best ways to get involved so I could be prepared if it happened again. I found some rescues nearby that needed volunteers and went full speed ahead. I took leash training classes, dog handling classes, I started spending my Saturdays at adoption events playing with puppies, and I also managed the social media accounts as well as wrote the dog adoption bios. Seeing these pups that were once lonely or abused, get adopted into loving homes is such a rewarding experience.

animal shelter group photo
caring for dog at shelter

Tell us about the Earp Your Community event you organized.

Several large fires had devastated Northern and Southern California. The animal shelters were inundated with lost and injured animals and were asking for supplies and volunteers. Kat, being the animal lover/amazing human she is wanted to do something to help the displaced animals, and she wanted it to be with Earpers. Many of the shelters required you to go through an orientation and training before being able to volunteer. I worked with the volunteer director at West Valley Shelter in LA to ensure a group as large as ours would be able to participate in an orientation. In doing so, the director learned all about Earpers and Wynonna Earp. To get the word out, it was a team effort with Kat and the lovely ladies at @EarpItForward. Earpers jumped at the chance to help which of course is not surprising at all.  

Why did you choose this particular cause?

I love animals. Kat loves animals. Earpers love animals. It was a match made in Purgatory. We knew that all of the county shelters needed helped and by attending an orientation (and training) we would be able to volunteer at all of the county shelters regularly and especially if/when another natural disaster hits.

tweet invitation to animal shelter
animal shelter orientation announcement

How did the event go?

We had a great turnout for the orientation and Earpers made up more than half of the people there. The room was packed full and the organizers had to bring in more chairs at one point. We learned a lot about the shelters, the animals in the shelters, and also what was required of those who wanted to continue volunteering.

LA animal services volunteer newsletter photo
LA animal shelter newsletter excerpt

What was the most challenging part?

Since we wanted to help out due to the fires, we didn’t have a lot of time to pull something together. Most of the shelters and organizations required their volunteers to go through training/orientation first before they could actually start to volunteer. Kat liked the idea of the orientation because she wanted to encourage everyone to volunteer regularly and not just for one event.  When the next natural disaster occurs, Earpers will be ready to assist. All hands on deck.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about organizing an Earp Your Community event?

Even if you’re new to the fandom or don’t know that many Earpers, I’m certain that whatever it is you’re interested in or passionate about, there are at least 10 other Earpers who share the same feelings and would love to help out. Tweet to @EarpItForward and they’ll make sure your event is elevated on social media.

group of Earpers
group of Earpers
group of Earpers

What was the most memorable part of the event?

Kat is a busy lady and the fact that she took time out of her schedule to not only initiate this event but also to attend and hang out afterward with Earpers is such an amazing thing. No matter how long you’re in the fandom, I don’t think the kindness and selflessness of the cast will ever get old.

What did you find the most rewarding about this experience?

Seeing Earpers who are animals lovers come together because they wanted to help out a community affected by the fires. We have such a unique opportunity to not only find people with similar interests but to show everyone how committed we are to making the world a better place. 

Earper with shelter dog
black cat at shelter
Earper with rabbit at shelter
Earper with dog at shelter

Tell us about some of the people you met while volunteering.

Since the beginning, Earpers have always been an accepting and kind group. Any time I go to an event where Earpers will be, I know it will be a good time. It’s always amazing to me that a TV show can attract the best people. But it’s true and I hope it never changes.

What does Earp Your Community mean to you?

Earp You Community means helping out in the area you live in but also showcasing how thoughtful and caring Earpers are.

Earper tweet

Would you organize or take part in an Earp Your Community event again?

Absolutely. I’m going to be moving out of the SoCal area so once I get situated in the new place, I definitely want to have an event there.

Is there anything we missed that you’d like us to know?

If you live in Southern California and are interested in volunteering, keep an eye on the @LAearpers account for events. Also, as if you all didn’t know this, Kat is an amazingly thoughtful and kind person. She uses her celebrity for good and appreciates her fans.  She spent a good while after the orientation talking with Earpers and taking selfies with them. She didn’t have to do this, but she did because she wanted to. I hope we never take this for granted. We have the best cast in the history of casts. And don’t you forget it.

animal shelter group photo

Read about Geffen @LAearpers and her Earp Your Community journey HERE

Check out our spotlight on Mere (@tacosaretasty1) and her Earp Your Community event at Earpapalooza HERE

#EarpYourCommunity is a core component of Earp It Forward and a call to action to give back to our communities and neighborhoods through service events. #EarpYourCommunity activities come in all shapes and sizes and can be done by groups of Earpers or as an individual. It is about celebrating what Earpers may already be doing and helping people connect to take action and make a difference in the lives and well being of those around us. To learn more about #EarpYourCommunity, check out the “Are You Ready to Earp Your Community?” introduction document which outlines the project and provides support and resources for all your passion to help and give back. You can also reach us directly using the contact information below:

Twitter: @earpitforward  

Instagram (earpitforward)

Tumblr: earpitforward.tumblr.com

Email: earpitforward@gmail.com

Project organizers: Kristen (@kindnesskru) & Sarah (@HeresTheThing17)