A monthly newsletter of The West Cascade Peace Corps Association in Oregon's Southern Willamette Valley

June 2012

Coming Events

  • June 7: Discussion group, 6:30-8:30 pm, New Day Bakery, 449 Blair
  • June 11: WCPCA board meeting, 7-9 pm, home of Dorothy Soper
  • June 17: Discussion group, 6:30-8:30 pm, New Day Bakery, 449 Blair
  • June 13-15: Country Fair; WCPCA in the Peace and Justice booth
  • Aug 2-5: Northwest RPCV group regional campout at Sunset Bay
  • Aug 18: Poolside potluck/barbecue, 3-6 pm, at the home of Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi; RPCVs from Vanautu and Macedonia will speak.
  • Aug 25-26: Eugene Celebration; WCPCA in the parade and with a booth! in the Community Causeway

In this Issue

From The Board

From Members and the Wider World

Volunteer Opportities

ReConnections is the monthly newsletter of the West Cascade Peace Corps Association (WCPCA) and can be found online at http://www.westcascadepca.org under the "News" heading. If you have a question about the WCPCA, would no longer like to receive the newsletter or are interested in becoming more involved with the WCPCA, please contact info@westcascadepca.org.

Contributions to ReConnections are always welcome, although the editor and the WCPCA board reserve the right to choose what will be published. Generally, if it relates to the Peace Corps or to the WCPCA's goals (see the bylaws and constitution for more information), we would be happy to publish it. Please send contributions to newsletter@westcascadepca.org.

Editors:Keith Beyer, Deb Jones, Dorothy Soper
Newsletter Design: Felicia Kenney

U of O Street Faire

U of O Peace Corps recruiter, Hannah Klausman, maintained a Peace Corps recruiting booth at the U of O Street Faire, May 2-4, where a steady stream of prospective Peace Corps volunteers stopped to inquire. Hannah and Seattle based Peace Corps recruiter, Lisa White, staffed the booth and were backed up by students and WCPCA members including Keith Beyer, Tricia Buzzard, Connie Hanson, Sarah Klinghammer, Jennifer Knowles, Lisa Main, Tim Rake, Serena Parcell, Kourtney Rusow, Eric Siegel, Dorothy Soper, and Bob Watada.

Hannah and Lisa brought everyone up to date on current Peace Corps activities and practices and so those who took part learned something new about the Peace Corps. Congratulations to Hannah and Lisa for an excellent job and many thanks to all who took part.

2012 NOM Party

The 22nd annual (we think) NOM party to honor new Peace Corps nominees from this area took place at the Wesley Center on May 4th at the conclusion of the Street Faire. Approximately 50 people celebrated at least fifteen nominees and their friends and family members with a potluck dinner and program. This annual event is cosponsored by the U of O Peace Corps recruiter's office and WCPCA. Hannah Klausman, U of O Peace Corps recruiter, organized the program which included presentations by two U of O international students, Ernestine Kwin from Cameroon and Sadia Ritu from Bangladesh.

WCPCA member, Jennifer Knowles, who served in Macdeonia, 2009-2011, spoke about her Peace Corps program. Many thanks to WCPCA members who helped with logistics: Tricia Buzzard, James Cloutier, Deb Jones, Jaxon Love, Patty MacAfee, Dale Morse, Julie Olson, and Justin Overdevest.

We were especially pleased to honor three RPCVs who are preparing to leave to train for their second Peace Corps service. Kerry Davis just returned from Vanautu and will depart in September for Columbia. Rob and Sandi Merrigan served in Liberia, 1969-71, and will also depart in September for Macedonia.

A highlight of the event was the fact that four generations of Peace Corps participants were present. There were twenty somethings about to leave for Peace Corps training and eighty somethings who reflected upon joining the Peace Corps after retiring. With this we see the depth of the Peace Corps community.

We wished all of the nominees great success and asked them to stay in touch with WCPCA.

Dorothy Soper

WCPCA Helps With the Wesley Center's Fundraiser

Reverend Warren Light of the Wesley Center where WCPCA has recently held potlucks twice per year asked WCPCA to lend a hand in the organization of the Center's spring fundraiser. The event's purpose was to raise enough money so that the Center will not have to charge students for its use. WCPCA donates $50 to the Center when it uses the space which is valuable to us since it is close to the campus, thus easy for students to reach. It is also permits potluck meals and we appreciate that very much.

I'm pleased that WCPCA member, Vince Ceccacci, was able to join the group to help the night of the fundraiser. He reports a lively event with over 50 people attending and many wearing western garb for the cowboy themed event. He also notes that the event was well supported by university faculty and staff. Thank you, Vince!

Dorothy Soper

WCPCA at the Oregon Country Fair, July 13-15

Last summer marked the first time ever that the Peace Corps was represented at the Oregon Country Fair. This summer the WCPCA will continue it's presence at the Country Fair's Peace & Justice Booth in the Community Village on July 13th,14th and 15th from 11am-7pm. I'm looking forward to coordinating the booth's activities again this year.

The purpose of the Peace Corps table is to (a) provide information about the Peace Corps to prospective applicants and, (b) To promote the WCPCA by connecting with additional RCPV's. If you are interested in volunteering at the event, let me know by emailing to info@westcascadepca.org and writing Country Fair in the subject line. I'll get in touch with you. On the job training will be provided.

Volunteers will be assigned a 2 hour work shift during the day of attendance. Volunteers will receive a discounted day pass, which permits entry to the fairgrounds as early as 7am. The number of available passes is limited. If you decide not to volunteer, please feel free to swing by and visit us at the booth!

Andrew Dempsey-Karp

WCPCA Summer Picnic, August 18

Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi have invited us to enjoy a poolside potluck and barbecue at their lovely home at 85622 Jasper Park Road in Pleasant Hill on Saturday afternoon, August 18, 3-6 pm. Come prepared for swimming or sunning. There is a covered shelter at poolside if you prefer the shade. Your bringing a folding chair would be helpful.

Bob will grill hamburgers and garden burgers. We'll share a potluck of appetizers, salads, and desserts. Please bring a dish to share. Cups, plates, and utensils will be provided.

We'll have a delightful program learning from two recently returned volunteers about their programs. Kerry Davis, Vanautu, 2009-2011, will tell us of her work and why she is continuing with the Peace Corps, setting off for Columbia in September. Jennifer Knowles, Macedonia, 2009-2011, will describe her program and how she learned to say, Chill out!, in Macedonian and then follow the advice.

You'll find driving directions to Bob and Rosa's home in the calendar section of the website where the picnic will be listed.

WCPCA at the Eugene Celebration, August 25-26

WCPCA will take part in the Eugene Celebration, with a parade entry on Saturday, August 25th, and by creating and staffing a booth for the Community Causeway which will be open on Saturday and Sunday, August 25-26. This is the best opportunity that we'll have this year to offer information about Peace Corps service and opportunities to the community. With this effort we are truly bringing the world back home and perhaps helping to send some people off to discover a new part of the world.

Planning will start in June. Two people have indicated an interest but we'll need more. We have lots of history to build on. However, new ideas are important. Please let us know if you can help in this lively activity by emailing info@westcascadepca.org and writing "Eugene Celebration" in the subject line. Many thanks in advance.

Dorothy Soper

U of O Board Governance symposium: WCPCA's participation

On Tuesday, May 29th, Keith Beyer and I attended a lovely ceremony at the U of O that concluded the class, "Board Governance," offered by the Department of Planning, Public Policy, and Management. The class trains students in the board management of nonprofit organizations. For first hand experience class members join local boards to learn about their operation and often take part in their activities. At the conclusion of the class, participants earn a certificate testifying to their experience and knowledge.

A member of the class, Easther Chigumira, has been attending WCPCA board meetings this year as an active observer and has been a participant in several organizational activities. Easther is in a doctoral program in the Geography Department and will soon return to her country, Zimbabwe, to conduct her thesis research. Board members have been privileged to learn from Easther about her country and also her point of view regarding our deliberations.

At the ceremony Easther was one of four students who made brief presentations about their experience. She praised the WCPCA board members' clear passion and work to fulfill the Peace Corps' third goal, "promote a better understanding of other people on the part of American people." Easther also thanked the board for opening its meetings to her. It's fair to say that both Keith and I felt honored.

Speaking for the board, I want to thank Easther for bringing a new perspective to our deliberations, answering our many questions about Zimbabwe and southern Africa, and taking part in our activities. We wish her well in her research and will look forward to learning about her work when she returns to the U of O next year.

The U of O presented each of the nineteen nonprofits that participated in the program with a handsome certificate of recognition. We'll add our certificate to the website for all to see. Easther will give a summary of her presentation at the beginning of the next board meeting, Monday, June 11th. All WCPCA members are welcome to attend. See the calendar for details of the meeting.

Dorothy Soper

Regional RPCV Group Campout at Sunset Bay, Aug 2-5

As you think about summer plans recall that WCPCA is organizing the 22nd annual campout for Northwest regional RPCV groups, August 2-5, at Sunset Bay near Coos Bay. WCPCA member, Sam Greer, who is a resident of the area, will oversee the activities. Registration for the campout is now open on the website. Space is limited so please check the website if you are interested.

Sam has posted on the website a vast range of activities that will be available. WCPCA will organize a dinner for all on Saturday night, August 4th. Camping spaces may be reserved only for all three nights, but motels are nearby if you don't camp or prefer a shorter stay. You can still take part in the Saturday dinner. The campout will be a highlight of your summer offering sun, surf, and great company.

Help Needed with WCPCA Newsletter

We still need one or two people who can help assemble the copy for the monthly newsletter and arrange it in final form. We hope to rotate this responsibility among a small group so that everyone will have a turn every two to three months. The job should take 4-5 hours per month. Basic computer skills are necessary. If you are willing to help, please send an email to info@westcascadepca.org and write "Newsletter" in the subject line. Thank you in advance.

Dorothy Soper

WCPCA's New Tee Shirt on Sale

WCPCA's new "Forever Peace Corps" tee shirts on sale now! The April potluck WCPCA unveiled the new "Forever Peace Corps" tee shirt designed by James Cloutier. The shirts will be available to purchase at WCPCA gatherings and at the Eugene Celebration booth as well as through the website. You can purchase one locally at any time by letting us know of your interest via email at info@westcascadepca.org and writing "tee shirt" in the subject line.

The shirts are a beautiful spring blue color, 100% cotton, with the design printed in four colors. The front features the West Cascade dove and a quotation from President John Kennedy's inaugural address (1961), "My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you but what together we can do for the freedom of man." The back shows a graphic of JFK against the background of a world map, the Peace Corps name, and the following quotation (1963), "A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on."

The board felt that the quotations are as relevant today as they were fifty years ago. We hope that you'll share this view and want to wear the shirt to commemorate the Peace Corps' legacy while making a positive contribution to current civic discourse. We ask your support for WCPCA's work by purchasing a shirt and wearing it proudly as an inspiring addition to your summer wardrobe.

Tee shirt sales will be a major fundraiser for WCPCA this year. The board will dedicate the total profit from the sales to funding humanitarian projects such as those that we have recently funded in Vanuatu and Rwanda. The price of an individual shirt is $20 plus $3 per shirt for mailing if necessary. A wholesale price for a dozen or more shirts will be $16 per shirt plus $16 per box for mailing a box that will hold up to 15 shirts. We hope to enlist the interest of other RPCV groups as well as businesses in selling the shirts.

Dorothy Soper and James Cloutier

Portland's Grand Floral Parade, June 9

Columbia River Peace Corps Association (CRPCA) based in Portland has been invited once again to march in the Grand Floral Parade in Portland on June 9th. CRPCA has extended the invitation to RPCVs throughout Oregon. Marchers will carry a flag of a current or former Peace Corps host country. At this time about half of the 140 flags have been assigned, so there is still a chance that you might be able to carry your host country's flag.

Participants are asked to wear host country attire or khaki pants and the new CRPCA tee shirt designed by James Cloutier and shown below. More information about this activity is here. To take part, RSVP to Erin Gettling., ASAP. Purchase a tee shirt here or inquire if you can purchase one at the event.

Representing WCPCA at the National Peace Corps Association's Conference, June 29 - July 1

The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) is reviving a tradition of sponsoring annual conferences building upon the momentum of its conference last September to celebrate the Peace Corps' 50th anniversary. Those of you who are NPCA members should have received and email about the conference which will be in Minneapolis, MN, June 29th - July 1st. If you didn't receive an email and are interested please consult the NPCA website.

There will be activities not only for individuals but also for representatives of NPCA affiliated groups such as WCPCA. At its May meeting the WCPCA board expressed interest in having a representative at the Group Leaders' Forum which will take place at the conference and is scheduled for Sunday, July 1st from 9:30 am to noon. If you are interested in being the WCPCA representative at this meeting, please read on.

A WCPCA representative to the conference must be a member both of NPCA and WCPCA. Since WCPCA is a non-profit charity, a 501 (c) (3) organization, the cost for its representative to attend the conference, including registration fee, travel expenses, and hotel and meal expenses, will be tax deductible.

Registration is $125 for NPCA members under the age of 65, and $95 for NPCA members 65 and older, or newly returned PCVs. The full agenda for the conference is available at the link cited above. Conference activities including the Group Leaders? Forum will take place at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

At this time, we do not know the agenda for the Group Leaders' Forum, but we have asked for that so that we can inform a representative how to vote on issues that will directly impact the group. We would ask our representative to report back to the board on the issues that were discussed and voted on at the meeting, and any resolutions that were reached.

If you are interested in representing WCPCA at the conference, please let us know via email at info@westcascadepca.org. On the subject line type: NPCA Conference.

We hope that one of you will be interested.

Miriam Aiken, Secretary WCPCA

NPCA Mentorship Program

Since 2007 the National Peace Corps Association in cooperation with the Peace Corps and affiliated RPCV member organizations has conducted a mentorship program to contribute to the successful transition of returning PCVs to their often new communities in the US. Last year the WCPCA board joined this program and is inviting members to volunteer to become mentors to share their experience and newly returned volunteers to become mentees if they would like an introduction to our area. See below for a little background information.

Mentors are matched by their local RPCV organization (such as WCPCA) to mentees based upon interests expressed when each volunteers to the NPCA to participate in the program. Primary considerations for matching mentors and mentees are usually geographical location, country of service, and background. Both mentors and mentees commit to participation for a minimum of four months, with a minimum of two hours committed to the program over at least three contacts. Face-to-face contact is encouraged, but online and telephone communication are acceptable.

Mentors have the opportunity to:
(1) Connect with their local Peace Corps community
(2) Participate in Third Goal activities
(3) Help other returned Peace Corps Volunteers benefit from their experience
(4) Grow the RPCV network
(5) Get first hand information from a mentee on current conditions in your country of service or other countries.

Mentees typically report that mentors help in the following ways:
(1) Provide a sounding board for advice
(2) Supply key networking contacts
(3) Share experiences and adjustment issues
(4) Offer guidance on further education
(5) Review resumes and assist with career planning
(6) Make them aware of the many resources available to RPCVs
(7) Help them transition from serving abroad to serving at home

RPCVs are eligible to apply for this program as a mentee during the first year after the conclusion of their Peace Corps service. Mentors may apply to take part a year after the conclusion of their Peace Corps service. Both mentors and mentees enter the program by applying directly to NPCA.

NPCA and the Peace Corps supply mentors with some resource materials including an electronic toolkit that contains a Career Resource Manual, a list of Peace Corps' medical, psychological, financial and administrative resources, relevant story-telling material from Country of Service Trainer's Kit and much more.

To learn more go to the NPCA website.

Dorothy Soper

NPCA Advocacy Program

NPCA would like to strengthen it's advocacy role and to do so is looking for volunteers to act as group or regional advocacy coordinators. The board is sharing the job description below, hoping that one or more people in the WCPCA community will be interested. Jonathan Pearson of NPCA coordinates advocacy work and can answer any questions that you may have. If you want to pursue this possibility, please contact Jonathan directly. and also let the board know of your interest for you would represent WCPCA. This is an excellent opportunity to become involved in the national Peace Corps community.

Job description for the NPCA Group/Regional Advocacy Coordinators:

  • To strengthen the connections and voice of the Peace Corps community on matters of public policy and grassroots citizen lobbying, the National Peace Corps Association seeks interested volunteers to serve as member group Advocacy Coordinators and as liaison with NPCA's Advocacy Program.

The minimum requirements for this role are as follows:

  • Sign up to NPCA's advocacy listserve, help disseminate key updates to other group members and recruit others to join this network. You can sign up for the listserv.
  • Be familiar with NPCA's advocacy webpages and blog posts
  • Assist NPCA Advocacy with outreach and mobilization each March during our National Day of Action
  • Assist NPCA Advocacy once a year with outreach and mobilization during our District Meeting Advocacy Days -- scheduled next for September 2012.
  • Occasionally assist with outreach to targeted lawmakers in your state.

Beyond the minimum requirements, member group Advocacy Coordinators would be invited to assist with advocacy training workshops, help with general promotion and/or fundraising to support and sustain NPCA's advocacy program, keep NPCA's Advocacy Program appraised of group advocacy initiatives, and gather and provide feedback and input related to advocacy surveys, programming and planning.

Dorothy Soper

WCPCA Member Gary Cornelius in South Africa

WCPCA member, Gary Cornelius, writes of PCV life in South Africa. You'll be fascinated with Gary's article in the Register-Guard, 5/20/12, about his first 90 days as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Africa. You can learn about Gary's work and his reactions to his new setting on his blog "Crossing the Rubicon" or in his R-G article.

At our potluck last December, just before he left for Peace Corps training, Gary expressed his gratitude to WCPCA members for supporting his interest in joining the Peace Corps. We're fortunate to be able to follow Gary's work and learn, now, from him.

Dorothy Soper