West Cascade Peace Corps Association
About Us

Email Newsletter for January 2009

Greetings from the West Cascade Peace Corps Association!

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

Upcoming Events

February 9: Board Meeting at 7pm at the home of Michael Kresko and Shannon Micheel.

February 21: Regional RPCV Groups' Meeting from noon until 3pm at EWEB headquarters in the Community Room, 500 East 4th Avenue. See notice below for more information.

March 13: Bimonthly Potluck at 6pm at the home of Rob and Mary Dwan, 887 Sunset Dr., Springfield. Our presenter will be Hannah Klausman who will share her Peace Corps experiences from Mongolia. Please join us and bring a dish to share.

March 13: Carnaval Brazil from 7pm until 1am at Cozmic Pizza. See the flyer for more information.

August 21-23: 2009 Regional Campout will be held at Bridge Creek, a group site in the Wenatchee National Forest, with SEAPAX as host. More information can be found at the SEAPAX website.

What do you Think?

Interested in going skiing with some RPCVs? Want to join a West Cascade picnic in the park for families? What about just getting together for dinner and a movie? West Cascade would like to put on some additional social outings in the upcoming year, but how we should go about this is a bit uncertain. We could send out more emails to the whole list, just include outings in the monthly newsletter, or set up a new mailing list (through Google Groups) that members could subscribe to if they were interested. Let us know what you think is best in our most recent poll.


  • UPDATED WEBSITE: The website has a new look! We've done some reorganization and added a couple sections, including a scrapbook for photos both of WCPCA activities and of our members while they were volunteers. Check it out and then add your own photos by sending them in digital format to webmaster@westcascadepca.org. Please identify people, places and the year of the photos in the comments for the photo. Our webmaster can also scan conventional photos, please contact webmaster@westcascadepca.org to discuss that.

  • West Cascade Looks to Fund Peace Corps Partnership Projects:
    The January West Cascade Peace Corps Association board meeting was an opportunity for the board to establish goals for 2009. One of the top priorities that emerged was a collective desire to fund projects sponsored by Peace Volunteers from our community. From the funds raised from the sale of 2009 Peace Corps calendars, $1,000 was earmarked to fund one or more projects sponsored by a current PCV from our immediate community, state and/or region. Shannon Micheel, a board member at large, is reviewing requests for funding and will present a summary of her findings at the February board meeting. The board of directors will review the requests and vote on which project or projects to fund. The board anticipates awarding these funds by March.

    One agenda item at the next board meeting is to discuss strategies for including the entire membership in selecting projects to support in the future. If you have ideas or suggestions, please feel free to contact Shannon (smicheel@gmail.com) or a member of the board to share your thoughts.

  • Two hundred members of the Peace Corps community marched in President Obama's Inaugural Parade, carrying flags and banners from every Peace Corps country. See photos here.

  • Don't miss RPCV Peter Hessler's "Letter from China" in the January 12, 2009 issue of The New Yorker. Hessler taught English in China from '96-'98 then wrote the prize-winning "River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze". Here's an excerpt: "[Peace Corps] was probably the only government entity that taught Americans to abandon key national characteristics. Pride, ambition, impatience, the instinct to control, the desire to accumulate, the missionary impulse -- all of it slipped away." Read about Hessler here.

  • Our January potluck was well attended at the home of Mike and Chris Helm. We appreciate their sharing their home with us. Leah Petit and Brad Shallert, RPCV's recently returned from Cameroon gave us a presentation about their experiences in Cameroon. It's difficult to think that they were there for only two years; they accomplished so much. We saw photos of the well that WCPCA donated money to. Many thanks to them for sharing with us.

  • WCPCA will host the winter regional meeting of the Northwest RPCV groups in Eugene on Saturday, February 21st, from noon to about 5:00 pm at EWEB headquarters in the Community Room, 500 East 4th Avenue.

    Representatives from the Portland, Seattle, Olympia, Spokane, Idaho, and Montana RPCV groups along with WCPCA meet twice a year to find common ground in ideas, projects, and even campsites. Usually about a dozen people take part. A good turnout of WCPCA members would make this an especially fruitful meeting. We plan to serve a potluck lunch. We also would like to offer a place to stay to any guest who wants to spend the night in Eugene.

    After the meeting we will have a no-host meal at Mekala's restaurant, 1769 Franklin Blvd. This will be a fundraiser for one of our Peace Corps Partnership Projects. We are looking for help in organizing this fundaraiser.

    If you can attend, contribute a potluck item, offer a place for someone to stay, want to suggest an agenda item, or help with the fundraiser, please email Rolly Thompson at rollyt@foxhollowfiber.com.

    Thanks in advance for supporting this activity.

  • Did you know that WCPCA members have served in 40 countries, between 1963 and 2008? We have served in: Afghanistan, Armenia, Belize, Benin, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chad, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, India, Iran, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Suriname,Turkey and Uganda.

  • Peace Corps released its list of colleges and universities that produced the most Peace Corps Volunteers in 2008. The University of Oregon ranked #9 among schools with more than 15,000 undergraduates! Find the complete list here.

  • The National Peace Corps Association has launched a new web site to help RPCVs stay connected. See http://community.peacecorpsconnect.org/.

  • PCVs around the world are blogging. Find out what's on their minds. http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/.

  • Suggestions for local service projects: The board is trying to identify local service projects that the membership would like to take part in. We currently help at two fundraisers per year for Food for Lane County. Do you have ideas for other ways to serve our community? If so, please email them to info@westcascadepca.org or leave a message at (541) 607-4140. A board member will get back to you.

  • Suggestions for activities in addition to potucks: The board would like to sponsor activities other than our bimonthly potlucks. We've thought of movie nights, book discussions, pub nights, as well as active outdoor events such as bike rides and walks or jogs. Do you have some ideas and/or offers of help? If so, please send them by email to info@westcascadepca.org or leave a message at (541) 607-4140. A board member will get back to you.

  • WCPCA at the Africa Celebration of Eugene's International High School: Many thanks to those who took part in or contributed to our display at this day long event on January 23rd. We talked to many high school freshmen about the Peace Corps in general and the various projects that we represented. We noted with interest that many of the students didn't know about the Peace Corps. This is an audience to cultivate.

    Staffing the booth and contributing to our display were: Leah Petit and Brad Shallert (Cameroon); Linda Ague (Sierra Leone); Richard Leach (Le Soto); Dorothy Soper (Ghana); and James Cloutier (Kenya). Steve Mustoe (Kenya) donated artifacts; Justin Overdevest, the U of O PC Recruiter, contributed PC literature; Wayne Thompson helped with logistics.

    The 2009 WCPCA Membership Directory was sent as a PDF to all WCPCA members on 1/29. The board hopes that the membership will find it a useful reference. The board decided to distribute it in this manner for the sake of efficiency and also to save the cost of printing and mailing it. Members may prefer to use it as an electronic file. Or, of course, you may also print it and even color the taxi on the cover.

    If you can't open the document, download Adobe Reader from the website http://get.adobe.com/reader. You need this software to open a PDF. It's available at no cost.

    The directory is for members only. The board will not sell, rent, or give it to other organizations. We ask our members to honor this policy.

    If you didn't receive a copy, it means that you need to join the organization. Memberships are always welcome. You may pay membership dues online through the website or by mailing a check made out to WCPCA and sending it to PO Box 5462, Eugene, 97405. Individual annual memberships are $15; family memberships are $22.

Summary of the minutes of the board meeting, 1/12/09

The full text of the minutes is available on the website.

This was the first meeting of the newly elected board whose tenure will be from January to December, 2009. Attending: Felicia Kenney, James Cloutier, Michael Kresko, Rolly Thompson, Wayne Thompson, Jack Meacham, Dorothy Soper

  1. Treasurer's report: The board approved a 2009 budget that anticipates approximately $4000 in expenses and $4600 in revenue. Major items in the final budget include $2000 in grants to Peace Corps Partnership Projects, with priority given to Oregon volunteers, and $2650 to be earned in fundraising efforts. The approved budget will be posted on the website.

    Current assets:

    • Checking and savings accounts at OCCU: $5,778

    • Edward Jones' accounts which are made up of money dedicated to the principal of Beryl's Memorial Fund plus interest on the bond which is available for grants:

    • Bond with Principal Life: $18,000

    • Money Market Fund: $6,000

  2. Membership: Dorothy reported that WCPCA has 70 members. She and Felicia are working on the 2009 membership directory which will be distributed as a PDF before the end of January to WCPCA members only. Those who don't use email will receive a printed copy on standard letter size paper.

  3. Communications : Felicia gave a report about communications. The board accepted her recommendation that we take out a free ad for the organization offered by Google to non-profits. James will ask someone to work on this.

    Felicia explained some aspects of the new design of the website. She would especially like members to send her digital photos to include in the "scrapbook" portion. She can also scan regular photos for this purpose.

    The board congratulated Felicia on the new design which is both appealing and practical. We expect that it will encourage more people to use the website.

  4. Pursuit of goals : The board looked at the four goals that it has adopted for 2009 and discussed activities under each.

    • Goal #1: We'll continue the bimonthly potlucks which Rolly organizes. We discussed ideas for different kinds activities on the alternate months. Felicia pointed out that a membership poll on the website showed interest in outdoor activities. We thought of going to movies as an activity. We decided to ask the membership for more ideas via the newsletter and the website. James will ask Justin for ideas to include U of O students. We need to consider having participants sign a waiver when we have outdoor activities.

    • Goal #2: Awarding grants: Shannon Micheel has accepted responsibility for identifying several PC partnership projects which are available for funding to present to the board. The board agreed to spend $1,000 to fund one or more such projects no later than March. We'll ask Shannon for a list of her recommendations at the February meeting. We're looking for projects of volunteers from Eugene, Lane county, Oregon, or the northwest in that order of priority.

    • Goal #3: Fundraising: We need to identify some fundraising possibilities and identify one or more people willing to organize them. Rolly and Wayne will look for both ideas and people.

      One idea that we discussed came from the directory of RPCVs newly published by the National RPCV Association. It lists several hundred RPCVs who live in the Eugene area. We have in mind to send them a letter to ask them to join and also contribute to our grant program. The board agreed to do this. The responsibility hasn't been assigned yet.

    • Goal #4: Identifying local service projects for WCPCA members to take part in. As yet we haven't identified a person to organize this. The board expressed interest in continuing to work with Food for Lane County but would like some other possible activities to consider as well.

  5. Eugene's International High School's Africa Celebration, January 23rd. Dorothy is working to identify people in WCPCA to take part in this day long celebration. WCPCA/PC will have a table to inform students about PC work in Africa and give examples of a few projects. An email is going out to the total membership to ask for volunteers to help.

  6. Regional meeting : We made plans for the northwest regional RPCV organizations' regional meeting in Eugene on February 21st. They'll be found in a separate article in the newsletter.

  7. Jack distributed his notes regarding regulations for nonprofits that have 501 status. The board discussed them and we all agreed to monitor our activities to stay in compliance. These notes will be posted on the website.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:10 pm.