West Cascade Peace Corps Association
About Us

Email Newsletter for May 2009

Greetings from the West Cascade Peace Corps Association!

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

Upcoming Events

June 4: Regional Peace Corps Recruiter speaks at REI (306 Lawrence) with a special RPCV info session to meet with local RPCVs either just before the scheduled presentation at 6:15 PM. See article below for more info.

June 11: Board Meeting at 7pm.

June 26-28: The Columbia River Peace Corps Association - Portland/Vancouver Presents: First Annual CRPCA Local Camp-out. More information in the article below.

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 (http://home.seapax.org/2009/01/10/regional-campout-august-21-23-at-bridge-creek).

Announcements and Notes

  • Peace Corps Nomination Event from Justin Overdevest and Dorothy Soper

    On May 15th we celebrated the thirty-plus Peace Corps nominees from the University of Oregon and Eugene area that will be heading off in the coming year to serve. Again the Many Nations Longhouse served as a great venue for the event that blended returned Peace Corps volunteer experiences and international student performances. RPCV Sarah Klinghammer spoke about the "international mindset" that Peace Corps brought to her life and her career while RPCV Michael Shapiro shared the inspiration of being a volunteer, in addition to a few Haitian songs. Sarah J. Klinghammer is a Professor of Linguistics at the U of O and currently the Director of the Department of Linguistics' new MA degree with a language teaching specialization. In her talk at the NOM party she discussed how her Peace Corps experience had kindled an interest in foreign languages.

    Bolormaa Enkbhat, Elif Cakir (Turkey), Kofi Ebakyea (Ghana), and Samir Bandaogo (Burkina Faso) are the international students that presented cultural information and performed with beautiful dances and drumming from their respective countries. The blend of entertainment and food with the opportunity for nominees and RPCVs to share aspects of PCV life made the night a success. We wish the nominees the best of luck as their journeys unfold.

    Many thanks to the WCPCA members who attended the NOM party and brought potluck dishes. The serving table offered an impressive and plentiful array for our dinner, serving about 50 people. Thanks, too, to WCPCA members who helped set up and clean up and made the evening go smoothly: Dale Dow, Vern Delk, Jack Meacham, Wayne Thompson, Rolly Thompson, Michael Kresko, Shannon Micheel, Dorothy Soper.

  • Three Cups of Tea: Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, addressed an enthusiastic audience at Mac Court on the U of O campus on May 7th. About a dozen WCPCA members met before the talk to share dinner at McMenamin's and then walk to Mac Court. We had some good fellowship time to begin the evening. It was Justin Overdevest, U of O Peace Corps Recruiter, who brought us together before the talk. Many thanks to him for his efforts.

    Mortenson retold the story of his work in Pakistan with a few more personal notes than appear in the book. He also showed slides of the people and places that he wrote about. One development of note is that the US military is taking his work seriously. He's been invited to confer with top military officers and to address US troops leaving for Afghanistan. The book is required reading for many troops. An inspiring evening!

  • Dear Eugene-Area RPCVs,

    Hello from Sunny Seattle! Yes, it really is sunny here!

    I am an RPCV Senegal, 2001 - 2003 and a Regional Recruiter for Peace Corps. I will be hosting a couple informational events with another recruiter on Thursday, June 4 in Eugene. IĠd like to extend an invitation for all Eugene-area RPCVs to attend.

    RPCV Special Info Session
    Thursday, June 4
    6:15 - 6:45pm
    REI Store
    306 Lawrence St
    Eugene, OR 97401
    (Meet and Greet, Peace Corps Updates, Info on How to Host Third Goal Events and Volunteer in the Eugene Area with Peace Corps {and anything else youĠd like to discuss!}. Informal event.)

    Peace Corps Special Event
    Thursday, June 4
    7 - 8pm
    REI Store
    306 Lawrence St
    Eugene, OR 97401
    (Community Information Session and Slide Show. Program Updates, New Qualifications and Benefits, Inspiring Photos.)

    If you plan on attending the RPCV Special Info Session, please RSVP to Jen Hagenow at 206.239.6608 or jhagenow@peacecorps.gov with your name and number attending.

    Hope to see you all there!

    Jen Hagenow
    RPCV Senegal, 2001 - 2003

  • The Columbia River Peace Corps Association - Portland/Vancouver Presents: First Annual CRPCA Local Camp-out

    Indian Henry Campground, Mt Hood Nt'l Forest. Group Sites D008; D006; D004.

    June 26-28 = Friday 3 pm-ish thru Sunday 12noon-ish

    Off Hwy 224, 24 miles out of Estacada proper, along the rushing Clackamas River. There's no cell phone service at Indian Henry.

    Cost $10 per adult for the weekend regardless of whether you camp over one night or two. Kids are free. The first five vehicles are included in our site fee. Additional vehicles are $8.00 per vehicle.

    RSVP to me, Brenda Michel at sweetdreams471974@yahoo.com on or before Sunday, June 7th.

    We chose a campground close enough to the Portland metro area so if non-camper people want to come for a big potluck on Saturday afternoon, they can easily drive out just for the day. The potluck will be at 1:30 pm Sat. It will truly be a potluck with no rules, no guidelines-bring whatever you want and eat what's there. We're a gamblin' bunch, I say! Do bring your own chairs, plates, cups, and utensils too, ok? And maybe a log for the fire. Please note that as a day-user you may need to park outside the campground, after dropping your stuff off at the campsite's picnic tables.

    From I-205, take exit 12A to Clackamas & Estacada. (224E & 212E) At 3.1 miles, veer right onto 224E (toward Estacada) 1 mile later you will drive through Carver, OR. Follow road to the left as you go through town, and watch your speed (25 mph). 224E will take you through Estacada (last stop for ice, groceries, coffee, tire check, microbrews, Some-mores ingredients, firewood, etc.)

    About 24 miles after you leave Estacada you will find the turn off to Indian Henry Campground on the right, immediately BEFORE you cross a bridge.

  • WCPCA as a public charity: Readers will recall that in August, 2008, WCPCA received a 501 C (3) status from the IRS. This designates the organization as a public charity. Therefore both membership dues and donations to the organization are tax deductible. Receipts for these items will remind you.

    Our first fundraising effort to build on this new status will be the mailing of about 300 letters to RPCVs in central Oregon who are not WCPCA members. We'll invite these returned volunteers to join us or contribute to our efforts to fund Peace Corps Partnership projects. We've funded two such projects at $500 each already this year and would like to fund two more. We're looking forward to an enthusiastic response. Letters will be mailed the week of June 8th.

  • Peace Corps news from Jamaica (sent in by Dorothy Soper): Sharon Jacobs, WCPCA member from Eugene, and a PCV newly arrived in Jamaica, sends news of her assignment which began only a few weeks ago. She writes:

    "I ended up in Mango Valley, St. Mary province. The provinces are like counties in the states. Mango Valley is on the North Shore about 20 miles east of Ocho Rios. I am in a great little rural community with a very nice host family.

    My work assignment is to assist the Jamaica Network of Rural Women Producers (JNRWP) and the Mango Valley Visionaries specifically. Mango Valley Rural Women Growers will produce banana flour, breadfruit flour, cassava flour, guava cheese and jelly, kola nut spice, sorrel jam and more under the label "Jamaica Pride". The Mango Valley Rural Women Growers were just awarded a grant from an EU program for 315,000 euros.

    Coventry University wrote the grant for them. I am still a little unclear how it all blends together. Answers come slowly here in Jamaica. It will be a true test of my patience. The grant is to benefit Mango Valley Rural Women Growers the most. It also has eight surrounding area grants for about 10,000 euros each that can be awarded to groups interested in getting into organic farming/growing.

    Now - where I come in. They have no record keeping experience and need help tracking the grant disbursements. I've never worked with a grant before so this is all new territory for me too. From what I can tell they have to meet certain milestones to continue to receive the money. The bad news is that they have no accounting software or internet access available to them - or me. I guess we are back to paper and pencil for the short run anyway. I was told that the first six months of Peace Corps was going to be dull and boring. Not so. I have hit the ground running."

    I'm on Sharon's email list and she's given me permission to put some of her updates in our newsletter. I'll continue to do that.

  • JFK launches Peace Corps: 1961 news reel

  • Paul Theroux meets Senator Obama "The Lesson of My Life" (from Conde Naste Traveler, May 2009)

    "Just after Christmas in 2006, I saw a familiar face in a small hamburger restaurant near where I live on the North Shore of Oahu. Apparently unrecognized by anyone in the place, Senator Obama, in an aloha shirt, sat at a large table with his sister and about seven children, on a holiday outing..."

  • Nicholas Kristof's blog, "On The Ground," gives a nod to Peace Corps in his May 30, 2009 post: "My 15 Travel Tips"

  • Bob Welch's Blog in the Register Guard comments on a Peace Corps Partnership project in Moldova.

    Summary of the minutes of the 4/13/09 board meeting

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

    Monday, May 11, 2009

    Attending: Rolly Thompson, Wayne Thompson, Bob Watada, Felicia Kenney, Michael Kresko, Jack Meacham, Dorothy Soper

    The minutes of the previous meeting had been circulated and approved by email. Rolly chaired the meeting.

    1. Rolly reported that she has ordered 200 calendars from the Madison RPCV group to sell this fall. We'll pay $4 per calendar and sell them for $10 to $12. We sold 196 calendars last year.

    2. Jack presented the treasurer's report. The main change was the receipt of a $605 interest payment from the bond held with Edward Jones. This money is dedicated for use in making grants and is deposited in the money market fund with Edward Jones.

      Account balances are:

      • general accounts: approximately $5,500
      • OCCU: Beryl's Memorial Fund: approximately $700
      • E. Jones: Beryl's Fund, money market account: approximately $6600

      The board accepted the Treasurer's report.

    3. To welcome newly returned volunteer at the university next fall the board liked the idea of having a welcoming event on or near the campus at the end of September in order to attract student members and advertising the event in the student newspaper.

    4. Felicia reported that after she had sent the membership an email about joining the "PC Connect" program with the national PC Association, a few people did join.

    5. We made further plans for the NOM party which will be on May 15th at the Many Nations Long House on the U of O campus.

    6. We talked about the fundraising letter that has been circulated among the board members. Dorothy invites editing comments for the next week.

      We plan to mail about 300 letters to RPCVs in central Oregon who are not WCPCA members inviting them to join and/or donate to fund grants that we make to Peace Corps Partnership projects. We'll use the address information in the RPCV directory recently published by the national organization.

      Board members took responsibility for typing names and addresses from the directory. Dorothy will recruit off board members to work on stuffing the envelopes. We expect to mail the letter in early June. The board authorized $250 for this effort.

    7. Jack consulted IRS publication #526, "Charitable Contributions," and learned that membership dues paid to WCPCA are tax deductible. The board was pleased to learn this and will publicize the fact on the website and also in the fundraising letter to be mailed in June.

    8. The next board meeting will be on Thursday, June 11th, 7:00 pm, at Michael's home.

    Summary by Dorothy