Ever since Brenda Zemp was a kid herself, she's had an affinity for taking care of children.

"I started baby-sitting when I was 8 years old," said Zemp, a 17-year-old senior at Davis High School.The baby-sitting jobs of her younger years have come in handy because Zemp is now a co-owner of Safe Safari, an hourly day-care business in Kaysville.

She, her sister, Bonnie, 20, and her brother, Derrel, 22, bought the business 18 months ago with money they inherited after their father died of cancer nearly two years ago.

Brenda, who helps with keeping the books, hiring employees, building clientele and planning activities for the children, has been honored as a finalist in the 1991 Governor's Young Entrepreneur Search.

Since they purchased the business, the Zemp children have expanded it, almost doubling the floor space, and now serve about 600 families, or about 1,500 youngsters, regularly.

"There's a lot of kids," said Brenda, who says she knows them all by name. "That's what I do down here is make sure I know where the kids are coming from and what kind of situation they're in."

A few months ago, she had to fire someone for the first time. "It was uncomfortable. I didn't enjoy doing it, but we had to do it."

Another unpleasant part of the job is dealing with children who appear to be abused. Last year, Brenda helped a mother and her three children, who were being abused by the father, get into counseling.

She has to love the job, because it's not a serious moneymaking proposition yet. Last year, Safe Safari grossed $42,000, but the net income was a mere $1,500.

"It's mainly just for experience right now," said Brenda, who plans to study child development and family relations at Weber State College.

After she and her siblings get their degrees, they may consider franchising. "We'd like to get bigger and better."