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

December 2012

Coming Events

  • December 6: Discussion group, 6:30 pm, New Day Bakery, 449 Blair. Topic: origins of news and media bias
  • December 7: Potluck at the home of Joyce Leader, 6-9 pm
  • December 10: Board meeting at the home of Dorothy Soper, 7-9 pm
  • January 7: Book group at the home of Dorothy Soper, 7pm
  • January 28: Food for Lane County, food packaging, 6-9 pm, 770 Bailey Hill Road, Eugene

In this Issue

From The Board

From Members and the Wider World

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Recruiting and electing the 2013 WCPCA Board of Directors
  • IT helpsought
  • Volunteering with Food for Lane County

  • 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

    December potluck with a program of timeless photos from members' service

    Photo Flashback at December Potluck
    Friday, December 7th at 6 pm
    At the home of WCPCA member, Joyce Leader (directions here)

    Members have called for a repeat performance of last year's wildly successful December potluck at which several of us showed a few slides to share an overview of Peace Corps projects spanning five decades. This year we look forward to learning about another group of equally timeless projects. Please send up to four digital images from your Peace Corps days to Maggie Keenan. Include the years and country of your Peace Corps service. Maggie will queue up these images and give contributing members the opportunity to share a few words about their photos and their Peace Corps experience.

    Last year we learned about the Thompsons' camping out at Machu Picchu, Dorothy's encounter with a crocodile, and that a photo of James Dean was in fact James Cloutier. Surely more revelations await us!

    Please bring a dish to share. Plates and utensils will be provided.

    Updating the WCPCA membership directory with renewals and new members as of December 15th

    We'll be updating the WCPCA membership directory in late December and issuing the 2013 edition in early January. The new edition will list those who are members as of December 15th, so if you are planning to renew or join, please heed this date.

    The membership directory includes the names and Peace Corps service and contact information for our approximately 150 members. It's a valuable networking tool when you're planning to attend a WCPCA event or wish to contact a member of the local Peace Corps community. The directory lists members only and is circulated as a .pdf file to members only.

    The 2013 edition will introduce approximately thirty new WCPCA members and we hope for more before our deadline. If you are on the emailing list and haven't joined yet, please consider joining and gaining the benefits of being included in the directory and also having a copy of it. Read below to be sure that you are included.

    WCPCA annual dues are $15 for an individual or $22 for a family. There are also several categories of free memberships including those joining for their "first year," students, and active PCVs or Peace Corps trainees. To learn how to renew your membership or to join, visit the membership page of the website.

    While on the website's membership page, please consider contributing a brief bio (maximum length is 248 characters) to include in the directory. This additional information is making the directory increasingly helpful as a networking tool.

    Candidates for WCPCA's 2013 Board of Directors

    To WCPCA members from Jim Beyer, nominating committee for 2013 board members:

    I am pleased to present the proposed slate of Board members for 2013. Several current Board members elected to continue for another year, though not always in the same capacity. In addition, three new members have been added to the Board, two in at-large positions and another as Secretary.

    Please note that the Vice President position has been left open. I have elected to leave the position vacant at the moment. The Board could appoint someone to this position at a later date or better yet, a member could volunteer to serve in this capacity. As you know, the Board could also elect to add more at-large members at a later date.

    Thank you to all who agreed to serve and thank you to a number of individuals for your expert counsel. You certainly made this process a lot easier.

    Board candidates are:


  • President: Miriam Aiken, Philippines, 1965-67
  • Vice President: vacant
  • Treasurer: Dale Morse, Nepal, 1969-71
  • Secretary: Lori Matthew, Benin, 1994-96
  • Communications Coordinator: Felicia Kenney, Benin, 2003-04
  • Board Members-at-Large:

  • Juliet Bender, Mexico, 2009-2012
  • James Cloutier, Kenya, 1964-66
  • Randall Donohue, India, 1970-72
  • Dorothy Soper, Ghana, 1963-65
  • Ex officio Member:

  • University of Oregon recruiter, Hannah Klausmann, Mongolia, 2006-08

    Please note that Patty MacAfee, Cameroon, 1989-91, has volunteered to work in an off-board capacity to organize programs with the assistance of Juliet Bender.

    Recruiting and electing the 2013 WCPCA Board of Directors

    Members attending the December 7th potluck will elect the 2013 WCPCA Board of Directors. As the nominating committee, Jim Beyer, has identified the candidates listed above and would welcome additional candidates. If you are interested please contact Jim or a current board member by December 4th.

    Note that the current board recommends that the 2013 board meet only four times per year. The new board will set its own schedule, but the number of meetings is likely to be substantially less than has been the recent case. Board meetings are open to the membership and their dates are listed in the newsletter and on the membership page of the website.

    WCPCA signs NPCA letter to President Obama

    At its November meeting, the board voted to sign a letter prepared by the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) to President Obama advocating robust funding for the Peace Corps in the 2014 fiscal year budget and listing criteria that it recommends for the nomination of a new Peace Corps Director. NPCA is seeking support from at least 100 affiliated organizations by December 3rd.

  • Holiday giving: calendars and tee shirts for sale

    As you plan your holiday giving remember that WCPCA has two items for sale that are high in quality and low in price and are perfect for your internationally minded friends. Proceeds from these sales are used to fund humanitarian projects.

    The 2013 international calendars published by the Madison, WI RPCV group are on sale once again from WCPCA. With photos from current and former Peace Corps host countries, and day by day listings of holidays from countries and cultures throughout the world, the calendar is a work of art and a resource that celebrates ties of friendship created by Peace Corps service. The NEW DECEMBER PRICE for an individual calendar is $10. Ten or more calendars may be purchased for $8 each.

    WCPCA "JFK forever" tee shirts designed by WCPCA member, James Cloutier, are on sale for $20 each. They are 100% cotton, medium blue in color, with designs on both the front and back. The latter design is printed in four colors and 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."

    Both items will be on sale at WCPCA events or you can pick them up in Eugene. To do this please let us know of your interest by emailing info@westcascadepca.org. The items can also be ordered on the website shop page, but a mailing cost will be charged.

    To see a list of the projects funded by these sales and other fundraising activities, visit the project page of the website.

    IT help sought

    WCPCA Communications Coordinator, Felicia Kenney, has let us know that she may be leaving Eugene in two years or so. Felicia's departure will be a real loss for WCPCA, as she deserves full credit for introducing the organization to the technological world starting about seven years ago. Before Felicia's contributions, we were a totally paper and pencil organization. The IT transition has allowed us to expand the organization while keeping membership dues low. We owe great appreciation to Felicia, because the organization would be very limited without her influence and hard work.

    We're beginning the process of identifying WCPCA members who are interested in assuming some of Felicia's responsibilities. She designed our website and now maintains it as well as the membership database, while taking care of all of the other IT matters that require attention including managing the PayPal account. Basic IT knowledge is necessary to assume any of Felicia's responsibilities, but she's quite willing to train interested parties.

    If you are interested in expanding your skills and would like to help meet any of WCPCA's IT needs, please contact me directly or through info@westcascadepca.org. Thanks to all for thinking about this. Suggestions are welcome.

    Dorothy Soper, President

    Remembering Jack Vaughn, 1920-2012

    From NPCA: "This month, the Peace Corps community lost another of its legendary figures. Jack Hood Vaughn, the man who had the unenviable task of following Peace Corps founder Sargent Shriver as the agency's second director, passed away in Tucson Arizona at the age of 92. Vaughn was appointed Director of the Peace Corps in 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson."

    Many WCPCA members will remember that Vaughn spoke in Eugene in 1986 at the celebration of the Peace Corps' 25th anniversary. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to meet and hear from two of the Peace Corps' early leaders on that occasion, Jack Vaughn and Bill Byrd. It was a star studded cast!

    Book group's next title

    The book group's next book will be The Measure of a Dream: a Peace Corps Story by Lora Parisien Begin, PCV, Tunisia 1988-90. We'll gather on Monday, January 7th, 7pm, at Dorothy Soper's home to talk about the book and how the story relates to our own Peace Corps experiences. All are welcome.

    Volunteering with Food for Lane County

    WCPCA members who are interested in volunteering at Food for Lane County to help sort and package food will work from 6-9 pm on Monday, January 28th, at FFL's warehouse, 770 Bailey Hill Road, Eugene. Patty MacAfee has secured a place for WCPCA volunteers in this activity on the fourth Monday of the following months in 2013: January, February, March, April, September, October, and November. This is an excellent opportunity to serve an exemplary Lane Country organization which plays a significant role in our community, as well as to meet volunteers from other groups and introduce WCPCA to a broader base in the community. You are welcome simply to arrive at the warehouse at the appointed time and date or contact Patty for more information. Please add "FFLC" in the subject line.

    Never Gonna Cease my Wanderin': Letters Between Friends

    Never Gonna Cease my Wanderin': Letters Between Friends by Ruth Kesselring Royal with contributions from the late Beryl Brinkman has recently been published. Many WCPCA members remember Beryl, who was a PCV in Afghanistan, as a founding member of WCPCA and an inspiration to all. Perhaps some of you will send in reviews of the book so that all of us will learn about it.

    The book is available in hard cover for $15 at Create Space. For more information, you may contact the author, Ruth Royal.

    Peace Corps themed cookbook

    I am an RPCV living in Ohio. I served as a PCV 2 years in Cape Verde (2008-10) and as a PCRV (PC Response) 1 year in St. Lucia (2010-11). I recently put together a Peace Corps cookbook entitled Cooking in the Peace Corps: Authentic Local Dishes from Around the World. The book is a collection of recipes and stories for the national dishes of 50 countries where the Peace Corps currently serves. Entries were submitted by volunteers overseas, which I then compiled and edited.

    I was hoping that at your local RPCV group's next meeting or get together you could make note of the book. I am not sure if you discuss such things, but I figured it would not hurt to ask. The book is available on Amazon. If you would like a copy to show around please let me know and I could send one out as a thank you.

    Thanks again,
    Jonny Myers

    Invitation to a Winter Weekend sponsored by the Columbia River Peace Corps Association of Portland

    We're invited to join members of CRPCA in its first Peace Corps night at Mazama Lodge at the 4,000 foot level on the south side of Mt. Hood. The Winter Weekend is scheduled for Friday, January 4, to Sunday, January 6, 2013. CRPCA has reserved the entire lodge from noon Saturday to noon Sunday, and encourages interested members and friends to stay Friday night as well.

    RSVP is required by Monday, 12/13/2012. Visit CRPCA's website to read about activities, costs, and registration.

    Save the date for the 2013 summer campout and make RV reservations now

    Next year's 23rd annual Northwest Regional Peace Corps Campout will be hosted by the Inland Northwest Peace Corps Association (INPCA) of Spokane, Washington. INPCA has reserved a group tent site at Farragut State Park, on Lake Pend Oreille in the Idaho panhandle, August 1-4, 2013. RPCV families from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington look forward to this event each year, hence this save the date notice.

    If you plan to bring an RV, INPCA urges you to reserve a Standard (no hookup) site in Farragut State Park's Whitetail loop TODAY through the park's website. As per INPCA's Sue Bracken (RPCV Niger), only 30 of the 200+ sites are still available on those dates.

    Sue reports that their RV will be parked in Whitehill site #45; she shared that the sites "near 45 are across a playground from the rest rooms and showers," with "trees all around and pretty."

    Project update from PCV Tyler Russ

    In the spring WCPCA granted $835 to Guitar Workshop, a Peace Corps Partnership Project organized by PCV Tyler Russ of Oregon. Tyler has been diligent in keeping us up to date about his work to implement this program even as he prepares to conclude his Peace Corps service. Tyler's most recent email, dated 11/27/12, tells us of his work both to implement the guitar workshop and introduce the PCV who will replace him to the program. His replacement has the musical skill that the program requires.

    Tyler writes, "Unfortunately, I had very little time at site once I had the guitars and books at the school. We did manage to have a few workshops and had a solid turnout of about 47 students who wrote a short application to be considered. Unfortunately again, the workshop was not well-announced, so the turnout, while representing highly motivated students, did not reflect the general interest at the school.

    I'm happy to report that Peace Corps has chosen to replace me at site and the new volunteer, Todd, was chosen partially based on his music background and knowledge. Among other instruments, he also played bass guitar for a number of years.

    Both the administration at my school and I had agreed on the need for a volunteer to help lead the Guitar Workshop next year. Fortunately, Peace Corps listened to us and did their best to find a suitably qualified volunteer. I now personally feel confident of the success of the workshop.

    While hosting Todd on a site visit, we held a workshop for students. We both agreed that by playing an advisory role and monitoring the workshop, he will make it possible for the students to continue to study guitar autonomously.

    Todd will basically monitor student behavior and treatment of materials, collect fees and help with issues such as repairs, expenditures, schedules, and lesson ideas. I also had a chance to meet with Todd for a short time in Kigali and introduced him to the guitar craftsman, Mariuss. This relationship will be essential to the sustainability of the project and maintenance of the stock of guitars.

    A small committee has also been formed of four students who will be responsible for collecting the equipment needed for each weekly workshop such as guitars, stands, books. These students are fortunately highly motivated and will maintain a self-sufficient workshop.

    Thank you for your time. I'm really excited to be finishing service at this time and to be continuing on to the next phase of my life. I've managed to secure email addresses from many people at site and look forward to keeping up on life in my village and the outcomes of various projects. Thanks again for all your support. I look forward to a continuing relationship with all of you."