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

July and August 2014


Coming Events

  • July 11-13: Oregon Country Fair! WCPCA will share a table in the Community Village. We're looking for volunteers to represent the local Peace Corps community and WCPCA. See the article below.

  • July 16: Wednesday afternoon, 1:30 pm, Jennifer Knowles will describe her Peace Corps service in Macedonia, 2009-2011, for the Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLI) at the Baker Center, 957 High Street, Eugene. See details in the article below.

  • July 27: Sunday afternoon, 3-6 pm, potluck/picnic at Fox Hollow Farm and Fiber, home of Rolly and Wayne Thompson. We'll see their beautiful farm and learn of their work to raise sheep and alpacas and their activities in the wool/spinning/weaving and knitting world. See details in the article below.

  • August 6: Wednesday afternoon, 1:30 pm, Denise Silfee will describe her Peace Corps service in Thailand, 2011-2013, for the Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLI), at the Baker Center, 957 High Street, Eugene. See details in the article below.

  • August 22-24: Weekend of the Eugene Celebration parade and the Eugene Festival. WCPCA will have an entry in the parade on Saturday morning, 8/23, and a booth in the festival. Volunteers to table at the booth and march in the parade are needed! See details in the article below.

  • August 26: Tuesday evening, 7-9 pm, the book group will meet to discuss Little Women of Baghlan: The Story of a Nursing School for Girls in Afghanistan, the Peace Corps, and Life Before the Taliban by Susan Fox, at Dorothy Soper痴 home. Her address is in the membership directory.

  • 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 keeps the Lane County RPCV community apprised of WCPCA's coming events, ongoing activities, business affairs, and community activities judged to be of general interest to the local Peace Corps community.

Submissions to Reconnections are welcome and may be emailed to info@westcascadepca.org. The WCPCA board of directors reserves the right to select items for publication.

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

Summer RPCV Talks at OLLI in Eugene

Two Eugene based RPCVs will give presentations at the Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLI) this summer. Jennifer Knowles (Macedonia, 2009-2011) will speak on Wednesday, July 16th, at 1:30 pm, and Denise Silfee (Thailand, 2011-2013) will speak on Wednesday, August 6th. The speakers will describe their recent Peace Corps service and impressions of their Peace Corps host countries.

The talks have been organized by Bart Briefstein (Venezuela, 1966-1968) and will be at the Baker Center, 957 High Street, Eugene. Join OLLI members and other RPCVs to learn about these Peace Corps experiences.

WCPCA board

Oregon Country Fair Volunteers Needed July 11, 12 and 13!

Break out your tied dyed shirts, the Oregon Country Fair is around the corner and once again West Cascade will be represented with a booth in the Community Village. We値l be sharing Peace Corps tales new and old with folks from far and wide. We値l also have Peace Corps literature to hand out.

We have volunteers for tabling on Friday and Saturday but are still looking for help with tabling on Sunday, July 13th. If you can help, please send me an email and write "Country Fair" in the subject line.

I hope that all of you who come to the Country Fair will stop by and share some stories.

Justin Overdevest
Dominican Republic, 2002-2004, Peru, 2004-2006

Two Summer Picnics

There will be two summer picnics this year. We hope to see you at both of them. Details are provided below.

Sunday, July 27, 3-6 pm - We値l gather at the beautiful alpaca and sheep farm (Fox Hollow Farm and Fiber) of Wayne and Rolly Thompson (Peru, 1964-66) for barbecue, potluck, fun, and games. Their address is 30781 Fox Hollow Road in Eugene. Rolly will talk about her continuing alpaca wool projects with several local communities in Peru.

Saturday, August 16, 3-6 pm - Bob Watada (Peru, 1964-66) and Rosa Sakanishi will host us for a poolside potluck and barbecue at their home at 85622 Jasper Park Road in Pleasant Hill. Come prepared for swimming or sunning. There is a covered shelter at poolside if you prefer the shade. Before or after the food, you can take a stroll along the Willamette River at Jasper Park, which is across the street.

To both picnics, please bring a potluck dish to share of appetizer, salad or dessert. Your bringing a folding chair would be helpful. Cups, plates and utensils will be provided.

Driving directions to both picnics are posted on the calendar page of the website.

Juliet Bender (Mexico, 2009-2012) Program cochair

WCPCA needs your help to connect on social media!

WCPCA has begun work on building an official Facebook page to help keep members and friends of WCPCA in the know when it comes to events and get-togethers. We need your help to build our page so that it becomes a useful resource and tool in keeping everyone connected and informed. There are two main ways that you can help out right now:

1. Log in to your Facebook page and search for RPCV Eugene: West Cascades Peace Corps Association. Peruse the page and then 'Like' the page so that you will be notified of upcoming events and interesting pieces of news. 'Liking' the page also helps open up new features that we can use to make the page better.

2. When you get together with other RPCVs or attend an event, send photos and any info about the event in a message to the WCPCA FB page. Then wait to see your event or get together posted on the page to share with other members!

Feel free to send your comments, concerns or feedback in a message to the WCPCA page as well. Thanks for your help and see you on Facebook!

Denise Silfee (Thailand, 2011-2013) Facebook chair

Dear Readers

Your newsletter editors hope that you enjoy reading the WCPCA newsletters as much as we enjoy organizing them for you. Usually we send out a newsletter at the beginning of each month but we'll be taking a little summer break. This newsletter is for July and August. Festive activities are coming up in August and you'll read about them in this issue and also in a reminder email at the beginning of August. We'll be in touch again with a newsletter at the beginning of September.

Happy summer,

Deb Jones (Solomon Islands, 1995-1997)
Dorothy Soper (Ghana, 1963-1965)


Eugene Celebrates, August 22-24

There have been some organizational changes but Eugene will definitely have a community celebration over the weekend of August 22-24 and WCPCA will continue to take part.

WCPCA will have a booth in the Festival of Eugene to greet RPCVs who are new to the community and talk to people interested in joining the Peace Corps. We値l have Peace Corps literature to hand out and hope to recruit new members for WCPCA.

We値l need volunteers to help with tabling. This is a great time to share your Peace Corps story and learn what interests those who are thinking of applying to the Peace Corps. A real benefit is that you'll learn about the current operation of the Peace Corps as you hand out Peace Corps literature. Your being there can make the difference for prospective volunteers and their friends and family members. We'll set up the booth on Friday afternoon and staff it from late morning through the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday.

WCPCA will also have an entry in the parade on Saturday morning. We'll need a strong contingent in the parade to show our colors. Children are welcome! Please wear clothing from your country of service or a Peace Corps tee shirt. (The management requires costumes of some sort.) We'll supply flags from various Peace Corps host counties for all to carry. Or you are welcome to bring a flag from your country of service. Someone will carry an American flag also.

If you can help organize the work at the booth or parade prep, let us know in early August. For now, please put these events on your calendar. We're looking forward to seeing you.

James Cloutier (Kenya, 1964-66) for the parade
Dorothy Soper (Ghana, 1963-65) for the booth

2015 RPCV International Calendars

The 2015 international calendars produced by the RPCV group in Madison, WI are now available from WCPCA. Selling them has been a traditional WCPCA fundraiser for many years. All proceeds will be used to fund humanitarian projects. The calendars have beautiful photos from Peace Corps host countries and are ideal gifts for your internationally minded family members and friends.

Individual calendars cost $12. Five or more calendars purchased together cost $10 each. You can purchase calendars at WCPCA events or directly from our sales rep with cash or a check.

You値l soon be able to order calendars on the website, paying for them with a credit card. Note that we use PayPal services for the payment but buyers do not need to have a personal PayPal account. The cost of an individual calendar mailed anywhere in the US is $15.00.

To purchase and pick up calendars from our sales rep in Eugene, send an email to info@westcascadepca.org and write "Calendars" in the subject line. Someone will contact you.

I'll be managing the calendars this year and am looking forward to working with you on this activity.

Gary Cornelius, (South Africa, 2012-2013)

Two Peace Corps Partnership Projects Funded

At its June meeting the WCPCA board awarded $500 to each of two Peace Corps Partnership projects organized by PCVs from Oregon. Funds for the awards are from distributions of the Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund which is an endowed fund housed at the Oregon Community Foundation. The Brinkman fund was created by WCPCA with gifts made in honor of the late Beryl Brinkman (Afghanistan, 1967-69) who was a founding member of WCPCA. The projects are described below. Through the Peace Corps we've requested the Oregon PCVs to contact us and send us photos. We値l share the information with our readers when we receive it.

The first project is Bio-Intensive Family Gardens located in Paraguay and organized by Oregon PCV, Erin Hatlestad. Erin writes:

"Our garden development project is designed to provide the essential materials and skills needed to maintain a sustainable garden in our community in Paraguay. A collective of women has gathered with the hopes of building bio-intensive gardens, improving nutrition through increased and diversified vegetable consumption, and developing their economic situation through improved subsistence production.

"In order to reach these goals, we are carrying out a series of skill building workshops and aim to obtain materials such as more durable wire fencing that will keep out the livestock, shade cloth for summer gardening, and some basic tools such as shovels, hoses, irrigation tape, wheelbarrows, etc. The workshops will be held on a weekly basis for four months, covering topics such as natural fertilizers, compost, soil preparation, natural insect repellents, seed saving, food preservation, farm finance, nutrition, and summer gardening. These workshops will be organized and presented by the women, local professionals, and myself, who have experience in the preceding topics."

The second project is Mbazwana Primary School (MPS) Sanitation Project, organized by Oregon PCV, Susan Fatherree, in Mbazwana, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. Susan writes:

"Mbazwana Primary School has 1,200 primary learners at 2 locations, a main campus and a second that handles preschoolers. Many of the learners at the school are in extended families or with grandparents.

"The project's goal is to replace the school's current toilets, which have not been maintained and have fallen into disrepair, by installing 20 new toilets and 8 sinks in four toilet units. The project also includes hygiene and sanitation training for educators and students, and will serve as a model to be adopted by other schools in the area."

WCPCA board

Book Group's Selection for Summer Reading

At its May meeting the book group selected the following book for discussion at its next meeting, Little Women of Baghlan: The Story of a Nursing School for Girls in Afghanistan, the Peace Corps, and Life Before the Taliban by Susan Fox. The author was a PCV in Afghanistan, 1986-70, and the book was published in 2013. The book has good reviews on Amazon and is available in paperback, new or used, and on Kindle.

The book group will meet Tuesday evening, August 26, 7-9 pm, at the home of Dorothy Soper. Her address is in the membership directory or you can inquire at info@westcascadepca.org. Please bring a small snack to share if possible. All are welcome.

WCPCA board


WCPCA Business Update

At its June 16th meeting the board awarded grants to the two Peace Corps Partnership projects described elsewhere in the newsletter. The total amount awarded was $1,000. The board allocated these funds from the 2014 distributions of the Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund which will total approximately $1,200.

We launched our annual calendar sale. Gary Cornelius will manage the sale this year and has authored an article in this newsletter about the effort. In 2013 all of the 100 calendars that we ordered were sold. This year we ordered 125 calendars and look forward to selling out once more. We hope to realize at least $500 from this fundraiser. The profit will be used to fund humanitarian projects.

Treasurer, Bart Briefstein, reported that there is a total of $5,058 in the WCPCA accounts at OCCU. Regarding the payment of membership dues for new and renewing members, the total to date is approximately $200 less than than that of a year ago at this time. So far approximately $500 in membership dues have been received of a total anticipated annual revenue in dues of $1,400. Since dues are the organization痴 primary source of income, the board was concerned about the situation.

The sale of the JFK tee shirts is almost concluded. Of the 70 tee shirts that the board ordered in March, 2012, 56 have been sold and 5 given as gifts. Nine shirts remain but most are sizes XL and XXL which have limited potential for sale. To date the board has realized a profit of approximately $220 from this fundraiser. The profit will be used to fund humanitarian projects.

Membership chair, Jennifer Knowles, reported that WCPCA has 128 members at this time.

Juliet Bender, Bart Briefstein, and Denise Silfee described recent discussions that they have had with an individual who was interested in joining the Peace Corps and sought more information. They and others on the board felt that it would be appropriate for WCPCA members to provide such mentorship in the future. Several board members supported the idea.

Dorothy Soper presented to the board several possible changes in the WCPCA constitution and bylaws to update the documents to make them consistent with the organization's evolution over the last several years. The board approved these changes and they are listed with explanations in the final article of the newsletter along with details of the process that the board will follow to amend the constitution and by laws. WCPCA members will vote on the proposed changes at the October potluck.

2014 NW Regional RPCV Campout, August 14-17

Campground, on the southwest side of Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington, for the 2014 NW Regional RPCV Campout, August 14-17. Now in its 24th year, this annual campout is a unique gathering of RPCVs from multiple groups in a single geographical region.

Not far from the campground is Paradise, the most popular destination in the park, with a lodge and visitor center, many miles of hiking trails and a commanding view of the mountain, the highest in the state and Cascade range. Popular activities in the park include wildflower walks, hiking, rock climbing as well as camping. Hiking options are available right from the campground.

Saturday night's dinner will be provided by SEAPAX and Sunday morning breakfast by next year's regional campout host, the Columbia River Peace Corps Association (CRPCA) in Portland. You are on your own for all other meals.

The cost to register and enjoy the Saturday night dinner is $25 per person; children under 14 are free. To learn more and to register for the campout, visit the SEAPAX website.

Anyone WCPCA member who takes part in the campout is invited to submit an article to this newsletter to tell us about it.

WCPCA board

Letter from Florida RPCVs

Hello RPCVs in winter-weather states!

Are you planning to visit Florida this winter? Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida (RPCVSF) invites you to attend our events while you are traveling throughout southern Florida (from Ft. Myers on the Florida west coast all the way down to Key West and along the southeast coast as far north as St. Lucie county).

RPCVSF hosts an Everglades National Park Outing for underserved children each January, and hosts Peace Corps Partnership Dinners and Happy Hours throughout the year. Please visit our website, www.rpcvsf.org. and check out our Events Calendar. For information, please contact us at RPCVSF@rpcvsf.org.

Carrie Hessler-Radelet Sworn In as 19th Director of the Peace Corps

Hessler-Radelet committed to using the tools, technologies and opportunities of the 21st century to strengthen the Peace Corps today

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 25, 2014 Carrie Hessler-Radelet was sworn in as the 19th Director of the Peace Corps Wednesday at a ceremony at Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. Hessler-Radelet comes from a four-generation Peace Corps family and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Western Samoa with her husband from 1981-1983. Since 2010, she served as the agency's deputy director and acting director.

www.peacecorps.gov, 7/2/14

WCPCA Board痴 Recommendations for Amendments to the Constitution and By Laws

Background Information

Board members feel that the time has come to update the WCPCA constitution and by laws which were last substantially updated in 2008. Below you値l read about the topics that we would like to revise and then our specific recommendations for changes.

In 2008 the organization was seen as more active and the documents were written to reflect this by calling for several standing committees. Over the years there has not been sufficient interest to maintain the committees and their deletion from the constitution and by laws is now being recommended. The president still retains the authority to appoint special committees as he/she feels are necessary or as requested by the board. The president will also continue to appoint the "Nominating and Elections Committee" each year.

When the 2008 revision of the constitution was approved, WCPCA was entering the digital age with the creation of a website, an electronic newsletter, a digital membership database and membership directory, and the use of email to communicate with both the membership and those on a mailing list who are not members. To reflect these changes to our organization the position of Communications Coordinator was created. WCPCA member, Felicia Kenney, created and managed the new IT facets of the organization and was elected to that position. She is the only person who has occupied the office.

Last year Felicia and her husband moved to Russia for an extended stay and remain there at this time. We miss Felicia's contributions but before leaving she helped us distribute her responsibilities to others. The board feels that with this newer organizational model there is no need to maintain the board position of Communications Coordinator. As a result the board is recommending that this position be deleted from the constitution and by laws.

There are a few other recommendations for changes. The most substantive one is to add an additional purpose for the organization. The goal of the others is to streamline the constitution and by laws to ensure that the current and future boards will be able to operate in full conformity without being unduly burdened with unnecessary work.


Consistent with the current process to amend the constitution and by laws as described in Article X of the constitution, the proposed amendments are being published in this newsletter for members to read. Any members who wish to comment on or discuss the proposals or to suggest other amendments may send an email to the president, Julia Harvey, at info@westcascadepca.org and are welcome to attend the next board meeting in September to discuss the topic. Your coming to this meeting is especially encouraged for there will be very little time for discussion at the October 24th potluck when members will vote on the proposed changes. A two-thirds vote of the membership attending the potluck will be necessary to approve the proposed amendments which you'll read below. The board asks your support in this effort and thanks the members in advance.

WCPCA board


Proposed amendments to the Constitution


Article II. Purpose

Section 1.

Under the list of the purposes of the organization, the board proposes to add the following item:

g: Provide social and networking opportunities for RPCVs and their families.

Article IV. Officers

Delete communications coordinator. The first sentence would then read as follows:

The officers of the organization shall be the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.

Article VI: Committees

Delete this article which lists standing committees originally created in 2008. They are listed below: The Standing Committees of the Organization are the Communication Committee, Finance & Membership Committee, Activities Committee, and the Fundraising Committee.

Article XI: Records

Delete the second sentence and substitute the sentence in italics below. The change will clarify the board's current procedure. Note that the minutes referred to have been posted on the business page of the organization's website for some time.

Current sentence: Minutes of the annual meeting and meetings of the Board of Directors shall be kept and circulated to all members.

Proposed new sentence: Minutes of the meetings of the Board of Directors and annual meetings shall be kept and posted on the website.


Proposed amendments to the By Laws

Article III. Membership

Section 2. Rights

The board recommends for the first sentence to add two items to the listing of membership rights and to delete one item. The item that would be deleted is noted in strike through below. The items that would be added are underlined.

The proposed new sentence is given in italics: All Members have the right to vote for officers and at large members of the Board of Directors, to hold office if duly elected, to attend meetings of the Board of Directors, and to vote for business matters that the board brings to a general meeting. Deleted from the current sentence would be: receive all notifications pertaining to the official business of the organization.

The board recommends the deletion above and also deleting the second sentence, given below, because virtually all of the organization's business is conducted at board meetings which all members are welcome to attend. To try to accomplish routine business at general meetings with all members voting would be untenable and two long serving members of the current board have no recall of this ever being the board's practice.

The board recommends deleting the second sentence: Where possible, all decisions regarding the operation of the organization will be made at general meetings of members where all members present may vote.

Article IV. Officers

Delete Communications Coordinator in the listing of officers in the introductory paragraph and in Section 1. Officers and eligibility.

Section 3. President

The board proposes to modify as shown below two sentences in this section to bring them into accord with other proposed changes already recommended. The sentences are shown in italics below with the proposed modifications. The proposed deletions are in strike through and the proposed addition is underlined.

The President authenticates, by signature when necessary, all papers and declarations of the will of the members and the Board or Directors legally voted as motions, and represents the corporation in an official capacity as need be. The President appoints the standing, nominating, special, and ad hoc committee members as set forth in this Constitution and By Laws or following an approved motion by the members to this effect.

Section 4. Vice President

This section describes duties of the Vice President. The Board proposes to delete one sentence because the duties listed may be assigned to anyone including those not on the board. The sentence is: The Vice President retains speakers and locates meeting sites.

Section 5. Secretary

The Board proposes to replace the first sentence by the sentence below since minutes are already posted on the website and both the Constitution and By Laws have already been amended to say that the Board of Directors may meet as needed (no longer monthly).

The proposed new sentence is: The secretary will take the minutes of meetings of the Board of Directors, circulate them to board members for approval, and forward the approved minutes to the webmaster for posting on the website.

The proposed deletion is: The Secretary takes, reproduces and disseminates to all members through the monthly website the minutes of all monthly meetings.

Section 7. Communications Coordinator

The Board proposes to delete this section since it has earlier proposed to eliminate the office of Communications Coordinator. These duties have been reassigned to others both on and off of the Board.

Article V. Board of Directors

Section 1.

The Board proposes to change the wording in the first sentence to be consistent with its recommendation to abolish the office of Communications Coordinator. The proposed new sentence would read, The Board of Directors shall consist of five four officers, up to nine Board members elected at large, and up to two Board members appointed by the Board.

Article VI. Committees

The Board proposes to delete this article since it has already proposed eliminating standing committees. The president's authority to appoint special committees is listed in Article IV, Section 3.

Article VII. Meetings

a. The Board proposes a rewording of the second sentence to avoid specifying the month for the holding of the annual meeting. The proposed new sentence is: At least one meeting of the general membership will be held each year at which the Board of Directors will be elected.

The sentence that the Board proposes to delete is: An annual meeting held in November of each year is the minimum number of meetings that can be held in a calendar year.