50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps
The WCPCA board has begun planning for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps next year. Right now we are conducting a survey of the membership to determine the level of interest in a celebration along with the most appropriate ways to commemorate the founding of the Peace Corps. We're also trying to determine an appropriate price for a celebration, with and without fund raising. Finally, the survey is looking to identify people who can help out, initially in the areas of planning, organizing, and coordinating an event as well as reaching out to potential partners in the community.
So if you get a call, don't be surprised. The survey is not long. It only talks about five minutes, unless you happen to be particularly garrulous.
After the survey is complete, the board will digest the results and come up with some concepts for a celebration, which we'll also float by the membership, looking for ideas, suggestions, and volunteers.
We've enjoyed each other's company and learned more about international programs and the Peace Corps at three potluck dinners so far this year. We'll have a short break in this format now and turn our efforts to celebrating the new Peace Corps nominees at the annual NOM party on May 21st. WCPCA will coordinate with Justin Overdevest, the U of O Peace Corps recruiter, who is also a member of our board, to organize this event which will take place at the Many Nations Longhouse on the U of O campus.
New nominees from throughout Lane Country and their families will be our honored guests at the NOM party. (Thus the name.) Justin has organized a lively program that will include a speaker and entertainment by international students at the U of O. See the details elsewhere in this newsletter. We hope that a good number of WCPCA members will attend and contribute to the potluck dinner. Everyone is encouraged to wear clothing representative of his/her country of service. This adds to a festive atmosphere.
I'll take this opportunity to thank the speakers at our potlucks in January, February, and April. They enlightened and entertained us and helped us recall fondly, and even to share once again, our own Peace Corps experiences. From twenty to forty people came to each potluck, so there was ample opportunity for us to meet new members and catch up with each other's activities.
In January Nancy and Walt Meyer described their Peace Corps program in Mexico, 2006-2008. Nancy worked as an English teacher and Walt as an engineer. Their lives as PCVs were so interesting and inviting that several of us began to consider signing up again!
In February Dr. Nicole Brule and her parents, Nick and Julie Bosustow, RPCVs all, and Nick was also a PC staff member, described support available to returning volunteers especially the mentorship program offered to first year returnees. We noted that the mentorship program is a cooperative effort of the Peace Corps and the National Peace Corps Association. This is an important first.
Most recently in April, Nancy Hughes, founder of Stove Team International, described the work of her organization to establish factories in Central America to produce the Ecocina stove which is safer and more fuel efficient than the open fires typically used for cooking. Nancy's organization works closely with Peace Corps volunteers to secure the stoves' widespread acceptance and distribution. Her work and association with the Peace Corps are much appreciated.
Many thanks go also to our host families, the Meyers, the Sopers, and the Helms for opening their homes to our potlucks. We appreciate their interest and support. If you have ideas for programs or wish to host a potluck, please get in touch with me. We would welcome greater participation.
West Cascade's First Bluegrass Jam a Success
WCPCA's Bluegrass Jam for Peace held at Cozmic Pizza on Sunday, May 2nd was a terrific success- raising over $300 that will be used to fund Peace Corps partnership projects this year. The house was nearly full with great community wide attendance, lots of families, and bluegrass enthusiasts. The Coast Fork Ramblers, who donated their time for the event, played for over 2 hours to the pleasure of their fans. It was a fun, energetic atmosphere that brought lots of people out on a busy Eugene weekend.
A big thanks to the Ramblers and to all of those who helped make the event possible. A special thanks goes to James Cloutier for designing the promotional poster that was distributed around town, Rolly Thompson for helping with set up, and Maggie Keenan for sending press releases out to media outlets in the community. Another debt of gratitude is due to the crew of volunteers, namely Dorothy Soper, Beth Hunt, Rob Dwan, Jennifer Diallo and Michele Pak who took donations at the door. The event would not have been a success but for the commitment of the board of West Cascade and these volunteers. We look forward to future events to bring out all generations of West Cascade members.
Dominican Republic 1995-1997
Event Organizer & Board Member at Large
As of our Bluegrass Jam fundraiser on May 2nd, WCPCA has 125 members. This includes three new members who have joined in the last month and whose names are listed below. It's encouraging to see that for the most part the organization is maintaining its membership while slowing adding to the number. We hope that our celebrating the 50th will encourage more local RPCVs to join and thus support our efforts to fund Peace Corps Partnership projects.
For the record we are at the highest membership level in a long time. A substantial number of our members have joined for the first time within the last two years. On the other hand, sixteen people dropped their membership in 2009 and six have done so in 2010. Nineteen new members, however, have joined so far this year including three within the last month. Do help us welcome the new members listed below. Please get in touch with me if you need further contact information.
Stephen and Shirley Gilbreath
Cheshire, OR 97419
Service: Ecuador, 1962-64
Eugene, OR 97402
Sevice: Zimbabwe, 1992-95
Service: Korea, 1972-75
Thanks for helping at Chefs' Night Out
On Tuesday April 6, more than a dozen hearty and hungry RPCVs helped FOOD for Lane Country stage it's "Chef's Night Out" fundraiser. After grazing on the food for a while and then helping clean up for about an hour, the RPCVs went home to nurse their distended stomachs, happy in the knowledge that they had helped an important, good cause.
FOOD for Lane Country wrote us afterward, saying, "we want you all to know how much you're appreciated. Not many folks are willing to come late and do the 'dirty work!'" They raised over $46,000 that night.
FOOD for Lane Country holds another fundraiser in the Fall. They provide a nice buffet to volunteers. We hope to see a good turnout of RPCVs at that event, too.
Farewell to the Walsers!
At our potluck last Friday, we said a sad farewell to Pennie and Geoff Walser who are moving from Eugene to Henderson, Nevada. They came to Eugene upon retirement about two years ago and Geoff has been serving on the WCPCA board as our secretary this year. The board has appreciated his work and support. We wished them well and they promised to stay in touch. We look forward to hearing from them.
We are fortunate that one of our members stepped forward at the potluck to volunteer to take the secretary's position. The board will make that appointment at its next meeting and announce the change in the next newsletter.
From the April treasurer's report:
WCPCA account balances:
OCCU general accounts: $6,340
OCCU restricted account: $1,591
Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund invested with the Oregon Community Foundation: $26,020 Annual distributions from this account are made in June and December and will total approximately $1,125.