West Cascade Peace Corps Association
About Us

Email Newsletter for June 2008

Greetings from the West Cascade Peace Corps Association!

In this edition of our electronic newsletter, you'll find:

Upcoming Events

July 10: Our monthly board meeting. Even if you aren't on the board, we really would appreciate your support. We'll be meeting at Benj's house. If you need directions, contact info@westcascadepca.org or leave a message at (541) 607-4140, and we'll get back to you.

July 12: The bimonthly potluck will be on July 12th at 2 pm at the home of Rolly and Wayne Thompson. This was a fantastic event last year in the hills south of Eugene. If you are interested in biking out to the potluck from Eugene, contact info@westcascadepca.org and we'll go as a group!

August 8-10: The Northwest Regional Campout will be held this year at the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area in Washington, hosted this year by the Inland NW RPCVs. More information is on the calendar on the website.

August 23: Walk for the Gold is a benefit for Special Olympics that will be held on the morning of August 23rd in Alton Baker Park. More information is at http://www.walkforthegold.com/.

What do you Think?

The newsletter is getting longer, which is great, as it means that we have more interesting things to tell you. However, a long email can be a bit much. In the interest of finding the best way to get our information to you, I've put a poll up on the website asking about how you would prefer to receive the newsletter. Please take a moment to let us know what you think.

Notes From The President's Corner

As many of you know, I stepped up from VP to president of WCPCA when our former leader, Dustin Johnson, left the area a few months ago to take a job elsewhere. I've been a member of West Cascade since the 1980's and have taken part in many activities and programs in which we have been involved. I am most proud of our funding projects.

Since 1986, our relatively small group of returned Peace Corps Volunteers has donated over $26,000 to more than 17 projects, mainly through the Peace Corps Partnership Program. The current WCPCA board is very committed to continuing this tradition of giving. We're especially interested in funding project requests from PCV's in the field who call Oregon their home. And if any of these folks hail from the Eugene/Springfield area, so much the better.

To that end I'm hoping that one or two members of West Cascade might offer to assist WCPCA's financial planning committee in deciding which projects we would recommend for funding to the board. We have $700 to award in this fiscal year in addition to the $300 already granted.

One of our relatively new members, Jack Meacham (Turkey, 1967-69), has already done some research into what projects are up for funding and has agreed to chair this new committee. If you're interested in contributing some of your time and talents to this endeavor, please contact Jack at meacham@buffalo.edu or myself cloutierjames@yahoo.com. We hope to start working on this within the next week or two.

Thank you.

James Cloutier
Kenya, 1964-66

Notes from the secretary's pen:
'Humanitarian grants and membership in WCPCA'

Occasionally I'll put pen to paper (metaphorically speaking) to share a few thoughts. But for this first occasion I'll introduce myself. I've been a member of WCPCA since the late 1980s and done my best to keep up while raising children and teaching in 4J. In the mid-1990s I spent a few years being secretary and treasurer, sometimes both, and now that I've retired I've returned to being secretary. I love the job because I'm free to do most anything that no one else is doing.

Lately I've been emailing both long term and new members to encourage them to stay with us and then welcoming those who renewed their membership. I've received many very nice email replies and I've especially appreciated the PC reminiscences. Now I want to show you the link between your membership and the grants that we can offer.

The WCPCA board decided on 6/12 to award $1,000 in grants to humanitarian projects during its tenure (12/07 to 11/08). We've already granted $300 to equip a music room at a high school in Mongolia where a Eugene PCV is working. We'll soon be looking for one or more additional projects to support with the $700 remaining to be awarded. We're carrying on a tradition that has given over $26,000 to humanitarian projects in the last twenty years.

In giving $1,000 in grants this year we are at the break even point for our fiscal year's budget. We'll probably have less than $100 more in income than we'll have in expenditures. We have approximately $4,000 in reserves but the board doesn't want to dip into them now because we may decide to put some of this money into Beryl's memorial fund.

We anticipate receiving a '501 C3' designation from the IRS within the next few months. This will give us the status of a charity for which donations are tax deductible. When that happens we plan to establish an endowed fund with the Oregon Community Foundation. We've received a gift of $22,000 and we need another $3,000 to create the fund. We might add more. Earnings from this fund would be awarded annually to humanitarian projects.

We feel that the membership will support expanding our grant program and we'll soon be asking you to join us in a fundraising activity or two for this purpose. But in the meantime we urge you to renew your membership when the time comes or to join the organization. At this time membership dues account for 40% of our income. We expect to receive about $1,350 in dues this year from approximately 55 members. There are set rates for different membership categories such singles, couples, first year after COS, and students. And, really, we accept whatever you can afford. But membership does count and we count you on.

We've reduced our expenses to the bare bones and realize a significant savings by using electronic means to stay in touch with you. You'll find our budget posted on the website and our monthly board minutes and newsletter tell you our current financial status. (For these items click on 'News'.) We're doing all that we can to free your dues to fund humanitarian projects and to stay in touch with you through email and our website which literally glows with information. Please look at it on our website. You'll find all of the details about membership here and you can pay online if you wish.

To help our members meet and contact each other, we'll publish a new membership directory in early October. We can do this efficiently now with our new database software. We'll ask you by email if you're willing to be included and also if your contact information needs updating. The directory is for our use only and won't be available to outside parties. It will be distributed free of charge to our membership.

With the directory in mind, we hope that our current members will renew their memberships and help the board recruit new members. We urge former members to consider rejoining. We hope that all of you will feel welcome to take part in our activities and help us serve both local and international communities. Even more than your membership dues, your participation in our activities, discussions, and work make the organization. Please let us hear from you with emails or phone calls. Thank you all in advance for your support.

Dorothy Soper
Secretary, WCPCA

From Deb McLaughlin:

Looking for all RPCV's, friends and family that want to get out and do some extra activities together besides just the bimonthly potlucks. The activities committee wants to have fun and we're looking for you. Ideas are anything from hikes, bike trips, kayaking, wine tasting at local vineyards, meet at the park or swimming pool to cool down, take part in movies in the park, etc. Since I'm about to have a baby I'm also looking for people that might be interested in leading some activities especially for the next couple months. If you have ideas for fun or want to help lead an activity, send me an email at mclaughlin.deb@gmail.com. We also have a small activities committee of two and would take on some more willing people to help plan. We'll meet about once a month to brainstorm great ideas.

Upcoming fun events outside the WCPCA:
Friday July 11th *Movies in the Park*. Come meet at Washington Park to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark. The movie is from 9-11. We'll send out more details on meeting up closer to event time. Email mclaughlin.deb@gmail.com for more information.

Summary of the minutes of the 6/12 board meeting, WCPCA

The full text is available elsewhere on the website.

1. Eight board members attended. Minutes of the previous meeting were circulated and approved by email before the meeting.

2. President's report: James is working with Charlie Ward, a local RPCV and an accountant, who is volunteering time to advise us. We're checking with him regarding our current tax status and also filing requirements with the state of Oregon and the IRS once we received a 501 C3 status, that is become an official charity for which contributions will be tax deductible.

3. Webmaster's report: Felicia has purchased a new scanner to add greater content to the website. She's organizing printouts from the database that can be used for a membership directory.

Felicia and Deb will be organizing some outdoor activities for the summer. You'll learn about them on the web.

4. Treasurer's report: Evangelina presented a draft budget for this board's tenure: 12/07 through 11/08. The board discussed the budget, made some revisions, and then accepted it. The board projects expenditures for this period of approximately $2,300 and an income of approximately $2,600. The full budget can be found elsewhere on the website.

Current financial status:

Oregon Community Credit Union: $3,651 in checking account; $2,512 in a six month CD; $2,000 invested in the Calvert fund and due to be returned to WCPCA in August; Beryl's Memorial Fund: $22,612 invested with Edward Jones.

5. The board discussed the amount of money it would like to offer to one or more additional humanitarian projects during its tenure. The board has already awarded $300 to a PC Partnership Project in Mongolia. After careful discussion the board decided to offer an additional $700 for a total of $1,000 in grants to be offered during its period in office. This will bring our total anticipated expenditures for the fiscal year to $3,000. As yet no procedure is in place to select additional projects to fund.

6. Rolly reported that the IRS should begin to review applications for 501 C3 projects filed in February, as ours was, within the next month. We're hoping for a favorable response to our application by the fall.

7. We elected to take part in the 'Walk for the Gold' organized by the Special Olympics which will take place in August. We hope that many members from WCPCA will join the board. Our participation is being organized by Benj.

8. We agreed to print a membership directory by the end of the summer. This will include the names, contact numbers, years and country of PC service, and possibly type of work for paid up members. Felicia will be able to contact all of our members via email to ask them to update their contact information and to give permission to include them in the directory. The directory will be only for our membership and will not be circulated outside of WCPCA. It will be distributed free of charge to our membership.

9. The next board meeting will be on Thursday, July 10th, 7 pm, at Benj's home, 3950 Monroe Street.

The next potluck will be a picnic at Rolly and Wayne Thompsons' farm, 30781 Fox Hollow Road, 2:00 pm, on Saturday, July 12th. The gathering will be especially friendly for children.

Links to Information of Interest

Lots of people complain that they don't receive World View magazine, even though they are members of the NPCA. Well, it looks like the NPCA has finally resolved that issue by putting the magazine online.

Looking for a way to further your education? The Rotary Club has a variety of different programs and fellowships that focus on international and conflict resolution studes. (More information)

Afghan Connections, published by Friends of Afghanistan, featured this article celebrating Beryl in their April 2008 issue. Since the newsletter requires a password to get from their website, I've copied the article below:


Since early morning, the powerful Shamal rolling from deep within the Rub ul Khali had sent both sand and tide across the Gulf and up against the eastern shore. As evening approached, young Rostam, far from his home in Khorosan, was carefully walking the beach between the driftwood and other flotsam. The sand appeared to taper to a point beyond the horizons as far as the youth could see. Every so often he would pause, squat deeply, pick up a starfish and gently toss it back into the sea.

Rostam's father Zal, concerned about his son's absence as the night sky began to turn red, approached him on the beach and asked what could be so important that it would take the young pahalwan away for such a long time. Rostam explained how the unusual winds had forced large numbers of starfish above the normal high tide mark and that if he didn't return them to the water they would all die. Zal told Rostam that the shore that they were standing on stretched for hundreds of leagues and the tide had put virtually thousands of starfish in harmÕs way.

Zal said, "Son you can't possibly make a difference for these creatures." Bending again and softly pitching another starfish toward the setting sun, Rostam smiled at Zal and said, "Pader Jaan, b'ehetram,* I made a difference for that one."

With apologies to Rostam, our enduring hero is Beryl Brinkman, whose memorial fund will provide the tangible support for the Friends of Afghanistan Starfish Initiative, instituted by the FoA's Executive Committee. The Starfish Initiative was discussed at the RPCV reunion in November. Many of our members were returning to Afghanistan periodically to support humanitarian efforts, frequently at their own expense. We concluded that providing support for these projects would be the most direct way for FoA to reach back to our host country and once again make a difference in the lives of regular Afghans.

It is with sincere thanks and great honor that I announce Cedric and Norma Emery as the first recipients of the FoA Starfish Initiative from the Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund. An FoA grant of $1,500 will go to the Emerys to help support their medical assistance program in Afghanistan. --Tony Agnello


As noted previously, West Cascade is on Facebook, which is a social networking website. Basically, the way Facebook works is that you sign up and a page is created for you. You add as much or as little information about yourself as you like to that page. Then, people who you know who are on Facebook indicate that they know you. You can do the same with people you know. The same is true for groups, and now people who are members of West Cascade can show their support by joining the group on Facebook.

We have put together five subcommittees to help improve West Cascade: Communications, Activities, Fund Raising, Financial Planning and Membership. If you would like to get involved, contact info@westcascadepca.org.