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

June 2013

Coming Events

  • June 6 and June 20: Thursday evenings, the discussion group will meet 6:30 - 8:00 pm at the New Day Bakery, 449 Blair, Eugene.

  • July 12-14: Friday through Sunday, a WCPCA booth at the Oregon Country Fair. Volunteers are needed to staff the booth. See details in the article below.

  • August 24-25: Saturday and Sunday, WCPCA will take part in the Eugene Celebration with a parade entry on Saturday and a booth on both days. Volunteers are needed. See details in the article below.

  • September 9: Monday evening, the book club will discuss Bread, Salt & Plum Brandy: A True Story of Love and Adventure in a Foreign Land, by Lisa Fisher Cazacu, 7 pm, at the home of Juliet Bender and Charles Goldsmith.

  • October 6: Sunday evening, WCPCA board meeting, 7-9 pm, home of Dorothy Soper. All members are welcome.

  • October 11: Friday evening, potluck with program, 6pm, at the home of Juliet Bender and Charles Goldsmith.

  • To inquire about any of these activities please send an email to info@westcascadepca.org or visit the calendar page of the WCPCA website.

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 www.westcascadepca.org on the "News" page. 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.

ReConnections serves as a resource to RPCVs and friends in the Eugene and Lane County area through social events, community service projects, and professional development programs that embody the 3rd Goal and spirit of the Peace Corps. The WCPCA board reserves the right to choose which activities, projects, and programs will be published. Suggested items may be submitted to info@westcascadepca.org for consideration.

Editors: Deb Jones and Dorothy Soper
Newsletter Design: Felicia Kenney

Welcome to new board members

At its May 5th meeting the board appointed two new members, Julia Harvey (Tonga, 1990-93), and Howard Schuman (Thailand, 1968-70, and Malaysia training staff, 1973).  The board also appointed Julia as the WCPCA president.  We are most grateful for Julia and Howard's interest in WCPCA and willingness to assume board responsibilities.

Both Julia and Howard have been WCPCA members for several years and bring that acquaintance as well as new perspectives to the board.  Julia is a science teacher at South Eugene High School. To celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday at the school in January, she organized RPCV panels to give presentations to students in her classroom and reported a very positive response. This summer Julia will spend three weeks on the Gulf of Alaska conducting a walleye pollock study aboard the NOAA research vessel, Oscar Dyson.

Howard continues to work internationally on World Bank and EU projects focusing on improving bank services in developing countries. Most recently he's worked in Vietnam and Bangladesh. He's also on the board at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the U of O where he facilitates programs on International Relations and presents films.

The board is also saying "farewell" to Hannah Klausman (Mongolia, 2006-08) who has been the U of O's Peace Corps recruiter for the last two years.  In this capacity she served as an ex officio board member.  Hannah has done an excellent job at the university as we've seen in the U of O's maintenance of a high ranking for Peace Corps volunteers among large universities.  She's also worked diligently as the community's Peace Corps recruiter by making presentations beyond the campus. In January, for instance, Hannah participated in a Peace Corps panel in one of Julia's classes at SEHS. 

Hannah has completed an MA at the U of O in the Planning, Public Policy, and Management. She's working as a city planner in Cottage Grove and looking for other employment as well.  We thank her for her contributions to our community and WCPCA in particular, and wish her well.  Hannah, please stay in touch.

We look forward to meeting the next U of O Peace recruiter this summer.  We'll continue our support as an organization for the Peace Corps recruiter's activities on campus.

The board now has nine members and they're listed on the "Contacts" page of the website.  We would like to identify at least two more and fill the vacant officer positions. If you're interested in joining us, please contact a board member or email info@westcascadepca.org and write "board" in the subject line. The pay is low but the rewards are great!

WCPCA board

Survey regarding new WCPCA activities

Many of the newsletter's readers enjoy WCPCA's traditional social activities including potluck dinners and participation in the Eugene Celebration. At this time, however, the board would like to identify new activities to engage the participation of even more RPCVs in the greater Eugene area.

We've created an online survey about possible new activities and ask for suggestions from our readers. The survey is short and will be easy for readers to complete in less then five minutes. Responses will be anonymous.

To take the survey, please follow this link. The survey will be available through midnight, Tuesday, June 11th. Thank you in advance for your participation and suggestions. You'll see the results in a coming newsletter.

The board thanks Miriam Aiken, Randall Donohue, and John Hannah for preparing the survey.

WCPCA board

NOM party honors new Peace Corps trainees

We want to thank all those who participated in this year's NOM (nominees) party at the UO Many Nations Longhouse. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet the sixteen attending Peace Corps nominees and their families and friends. Our evening began with a generous potluck dinner provided by the RPCVs.

Hannah Klausman, UO Peace Corps Recruiter, introduced each nominee and gave them all bags of PC paraphernalia. All of the nominees are very excited about their upcoming service.

A panel of three recently returned PCVs provided insights to the group on their Peace Corps experiences. You see them below, right to left. Megan O'Connor spoke about her training in the Ukraine, Theresa Ring about her housing conditions in Tanzania, and Annie Young-Mathews about her primary and secondary assignments in Nicaragua. We appreciate their words of wisdom and time spent preparing their presentations.

After the panel, the group broke up into geographic groupings based on countries of PC service and provided further advice to the nominees. It was a great evening to get together with old friends and meet new ones!

Juliet Bender (Mexico, 2009-12) and Patty MacAfee (Cameroon, 1989-91), Program Coordinators

Eugene's Nobel Peace Park

Can you name five important United States generals? Easy, right? Now, can you name any five of the 20 individuals from the United States who have won the Nobel Peace Prize? The purpose of the Nobel Peace Laureate Project is to promote greater awareness of these individuals' contributions to world peace. The Nobel Peace Park, which includes plaques honoring each of the American winners, is now open in Eugene's Alton Baker Park, near the north end of the Defazio footbridge. For further details please visit the organization's this link.

At its April meeting, West Cascade Peace Corps Association's board voted to donate $100 to support the Nobel Peace Park. It would have been a serious omission if West Cascade Peace Corps Association had overlooked this opportunity to support a local effort towards world peace. This donation will purchase a 4 inch by 8 inch paving stone that will name West Cascade Peace Corps Association as a supporter. The paver will be similar to those in the Reflection Garden near the entrance to Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend.

The Nobel Peace Laureate Project is still in need of additional funds to complete the Nobel Peace Park. Members of West Cascade Peace Corps Association might want to consider supporting the Nobel Peace Park with a similar donation, perhaps recognizing the name of their Peace Corps country and years of service, or with a meaningful quotation from literature or poetry or scripture, or perhaps in the name of their family and children. Small pavers ($100) can have 3 lines of text with 20 characters per line; large pavers ($200) can have 6 lines of text. Donations are tax-deductible. For more information about donating, including a mail-in Paver Order Form, visit the donation page of the organization's website. Please feel free to contact me for further information.

Jack Meacham (Turkey, 1967-69)

You'll find Jack's email address in the membership directory or you can email him at info@westcascadepca.org and write "Peace Park" in the subject line.

WCPCA in the Oregon Country Fair, July 12-14

This summer WCPCA will once again be at the Oregon Country Fair's Peace & Justice Booth in the Community Village. The booth will be open July 12th,13th and 14th from 11am to 7pm.  The purpose of the Peace Corps table is to (a) provide information about the Peace Corps to prospective applicants and, (b) promote the WCPCA by connecting with RCPVs who perhaps are unfamiliar with the WCPCA.   If you are interested in volunteering at the event, please send an email to info@westcascadepca.org and put "Country Fair" in the subject line.

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. 

Whether you volunteer or not, please swing by and visit us at the booth!

Andrew Dempsey-Karp, (Dominican Republic, 2003-05)

WCPCA in the Eugene Celebration, August 24-25

Everyone loves a parade! And a booth! West Cascade members, friends, and families will take part in the annual Eugene Celebration over the weekend of August 24th and 25th in downtown Eugene. Save the dates! Just now we're looking for a few people who can help us get organized.

For our entry in the parade on Saturday morning, August 24th, we'd like to identify citizens of as many Peace Corps host countries as possible to join us. Please invite international students or others whom you know from Peace Corps host countries to join you in the parade.

Marchers will carry flags of host countries along with the West Cascade banner as we represent the 200,000 plus volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps during the last 52 years. We'll gather for the parade at 9:30 am for a 10:00 am start. It will add interest to our entry in the parade if everyone wears at least one article of clothing from a country of service. Think of hats, scarves, shirts, blouses, skirts, pants, and so on.

We'll also have a booth in the Community Causeway throughout the weekend. Booth minders will answer questions about the Peace Corps, talk about their own service, and introduce WCPCA to new returnees who stop by. The Peace Corps recruiter at the U of O will supply us with handouts. We'll have a world map to show where local people have served and where new volunteers will be going. And we'll use the map for a geography game. The booth will be a lively place.

James will put together the parade entry and Dorothy will organize the booth. If you can help with either activity please send an email to info@westcascadepca.org and write "parade" or "booth" or both in the subject line. We'll need your support to make a strong showing. Many thanks in advance.

James Cloutier (Kenya, 1964-66), Dorothy Soper (Ghana, 1963-65)

Board action in May

The board met on May 5th and was pleased to appoint Julia Harvey (Tonga, 1990-93) as the new WCPCA president and also Howard Schuman (Thailand, 1968-70, and Malaysia, 1973, training staff) as a new board member. There are now eight people on the board plus the U of O Peace Corps recruiter who serves in an ex officio capacity. Hannah Klausman, the current recruiter, will complete her two years of service in June and a new recruiter will be hired shortly. Two officer positions, vice president and secretary, remain unfilled.

The board thanked Michael Mooser for a generous donation which he dedicated to funding humanitarian programs.

The board voted to order 100 international calendars for 2014 to sell as a fundraiser. The is the number that the board felt would likely sell to the local Peace Corps community. The calendars are produced by the Madison, Wisconsin RPCV group. The board will need to identify someone to handle the calendar sales. Calendars are expected to arrive by August.

Deb Jones gave the board an update on the reorganization of the organization's IT set up and current work with NetCorps to make the membership database more user friendly. These changes are necessary because the current communications coordinator, Felicia Kenney, will leave Eugene at the end of the year. Felicia is advising the board on the transition.

On May 21st in response to an email from an Oregon PCV in Ukraine, and voting via email the board awarded $465 to the Peace Corps Partnership project, Camp Unity West. The grant allowed the project to be fully funded. A description of the project is below and will soon be posted on the website.

WCPCA funds a Peace Corps Partnership project in Ukraine

Responding to a request from Oregon PCV, Sarah Meher, and voting by email, on May 21st the board granted $465 to Camp Unity West, a Peace Corps Partnership project. Ms. Meher will be a counselor at the camp which will take place July 6-13 in the Chernivetska region of Ukraine. Camp Unity West is sponsored by the Multicultural Awareness Council, a group of Peace Corps volunteers who are dedicated to promoting ethnic and religious tolerance in Ukraine. The camp will provide an opportunity for Ukrainian students (ages 14-18) to blend the traditional American style summer camp experience with lessons focusing on increasing multicultural awareness, tolerance, and diversity in Ukraine.

Daily activities and lessons will be built around the themes of establishing cultural identity, understanding differences, and promoting tolerance. The camp will host several guest speakers of different minority groups to help put the camp's themes into perspective. These guests will teach about their cultures, share their traditions, and discuss their experiences as minorities.

Ms. Meher explained that growing up in Oregon she was fortunate to go to school with a diverse population. This background has helped her career pre-Peace Corps and especially during her service. She wants to be able to give the campers a taste of what life is like in other parts of the world. Camp Unity West will expose students to people and cultures that they would otherwise never encounter.

WCPCA's grant completed the project's funding. We send Sarah and her fellow counselors our best wishes for success as they prepare for and launch the camp. We look forward to hearing about it and will share the information with the WCPCA community.

WCPCA board

Updates from the National Peace Corps Association: Rough Start for International Affairs Budget

The House Appropriations Committee is beginning work on setting spending levels for various government programs.  One of the first steps is to establish funding ceilings for the twelve different subcommittees that have jurisdiction over every aspect of federal funding.

The starting point for the International Affairs Budget, which includes funding for the Peace Corps, is projecting a continuing and significant downward slide.

Various sources are reporting that the House Subcommittee for State and Foreign Operations   will be allocated just over $40 Billion to operate its various programs.  This represents a nearly 20% reduction in overall funding, compared to current levels finalized in the aftermath of earlier across-the-board spending cuts referred to as the sequestration.

Reductions to the overall State/Foreign Operations funding levels will further threaten funding for the Peace Corps.

Follow this link to read a summary and statement from the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.

The United States Senate is expected to set its own funding ceilings for Fiscal Year 2014 in early June.  There is still time to contact key Senators and urge them to support strong funding for our international affairs programs.

For further details click this link.

Jonathan Pearson, Advocacy Coordinator, 5/23/13, NPCA

Peace Corps Connect - Boston 2013 - the National Peace Corps Association's annual gathering

NPCA invites you all to Boston, Massachusetts on the weekend of June 28-29, 2013 for an event that will encourage you to continue "bringing the world back home" while visiting with friends and having fun.

Since this is for the Peace Corps community, key elements of this event will be highly interactive and incorporate career networking and knowledge-sharing.  By bringing our collective experiences together can support each other and help to solve important development challenges.

Pre-registration is required. Registration will not be accepted at the door. For more information click this link.