March for Peace Corps in Portland’s Grand Floral Parade!

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RPCVs from around the Pacific Northwest are invited to march in Portland’s Grand Floral Parade!

Peace Corps continues to resonate with the Portland Rose Festival! The Columbia River Peace Corps Association has been invited to march in the Grand Floral Parade for a third consecutive year with our full, 140-flag entry. RPCVs from around the Pacific Northwest are invited to join us!

This year’s Grand Floral Parade is Saturday, June 8, morning to early afternoon (our start and end time will be announced in May). The parade goes forward in any weather, and marchers should be prepared to walk four miles.

RSVP to Brittany McLean, parade@crpca.org or 817-851-9129, ASAP if you want to march in the Grand Floral Parade. Flags will be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis, so in your message, please include:

Your name
Phone number
Email address
Your country of service
Other Peace Corps country flags you’d be willing to carry if your country’s flag has already been reserved

Marchers will have the choice of wearing host country attire OR CRPCA’s parade t-shirt with khaki pants. The t-shirts were designed by James Cloutier for maximum visual impact during parades. They will be selling them for $5.00 each. Order your size (adult S, M, L, XL) on our Checkout page. The t-shirts will be delivered at select CRPCA events this spring, and they’ll also be available at our Parade Practice Picnic on Fri 6/07 and on parade morning Sat 6/08. Marchers, please refrain from wearing other USA-printed t-shirts during the parade.

CRPCA’s 3rd annual Parade Practice Picnic will be on the evening of Friday, June 7.

The event will begin with a 5:30 pm potluck dinner at the shelter adjacent to Willamette Park’s play structure. Please bring your family/friends and a dish to share, with plates, utensils, and drinks for everyone in your party. (BYOB beer and wine are permitted under our reservation.) At 7:00 pm the RPCV participants in our Grand Floral Parade entry will practice flagpole assembly and marching protocol. The Parade Practice is optional for parade participants, but all who’ve attended this event in past years had a terrific time!
Willamette Park is in SW Portland’s Johns Landing neighborhood. Take SW Macadam to SW Nebraska and turn east toward the Willamette River, then take this road until it ends at a turnaround. If you can find parking there, that’s closest to our gathering point. If not, turn back around and park in the big lot, then walk south to the picnic shelter. Parking is free after 5pm. We’ll be there rain or shine!

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Peace Corps wants YOU to Contribute to the Digital Library

Calling all RPCVs and current Volunteers!

Peace Corps invites you to contribute to our digital library—a searchable collection of photos, stories and documents about Peace Corps, the Volunteer experience, and the agency’s legacy of service around the globe.

As we approach Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary, please help us reach our goal of including photos and stories from each country where Volunteers have served, and from each decade of Peace Corps history.  You can contribute one story and up to five photos from your Peace Corps service using our online process. 

Interested?  Go to peacecorps.gov/collections to start your submission or browse the growing collection of materials.

Questions? Suggestions?  Email digital@peacecorps.gov

Aileen Ly
Vanuatu 06-07 
SEAPAX President

PC 50th Anniversary Exhibit Coming to Portland

The Committee for a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience, Portland, OR, is partnering with the Oregon Historical Society to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps in 2011. Together they will create an exhibit highlighting the contributions of PCVs from Oregon and the entire Pacific Northwest, from historical times to present. The show is scheduled to run from January-June 2011.

MPCE LogoThe Committee for a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience was organized in 1999 to create a permanent museum to share the Peace Corps story with the general American public. It is a work in progress.

While plans for the 50th Anniversary exhibit are still under development, the MPCE team has asked for help now in several areas. There are opportunities for involvement by RPCV groups as well as by individuals. SEAPAX is exploring our potential participation as a group project, and invites all those interested to contact the Board. More specific details will be available in upcoming months.

Right now, several kinds of help are needed to kick start the project.

Exhibit artifacts

Do you have any museum-quality items from your country of service that could be lent or donated to the exhibit? At this time, the committee asks that you send photos, not the items, for evaluation as to how these might fit into themed exhibits.

Do you have interesting background or stories that go along with the items? The exhibit will feature informational cards for each item, stating RPCV name, country and years of service, and a vignette on how the item was acquired, its significance to you and to the culture of origin.

Financial and fundraising support

An exhibit is very expensive to produce and publicize, even more so in these economic times. It is hoped that each RPCV in the Northwest might donate $10 towards the project, and more if they are able.

Participation of Peace Corps Pioneers

There is special interest in connecting with the RPCV’s from the earliest days of Peace Corps. Right from the start,the Pacific Northwest has made major contributions in total numbers of PCVs and in creating a vibrant RPCV community. A goal of the exhibit is to preserve the legacy of people in our region to the historical development of Peace Corps and to promoting international understanding at home. If you served in one of the initial PC groups in the early ’60s, the exhibit organizers would like to hear from you.

To help with the efforts underway, and for more information, please contact

Martin Kaplan, President
Committee for a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience
Portland, OR
pcmusuem@comcast.net
(A private 501(c)(3) organization not affiliated with the Peace Corps)

Peace Corps Planning in the News

Future plans for the Peace Corps and the PC community have been in the news lately and received mention in the recently-completed Presidential campaigns. Both candidates voiced support for Peace Corps including at venues promoting the value of public service. RPCVs for ObamaA metro-DC group called RPCVs for Obama was very active in the campaign, and collected suggestions for improving Peace Corps that were forwarded to the candidate. NPCA’s More Peace Corps awareness campaign is ongoing, and now includes a petition drive to show President-elect Obama the scope of its support. Other ideas that have recently surfaced are a proposal by Mead Over (RPCV Burkina Faso ’67-’69) of the Center for Global Development to create a Global Health Corps. and the recommendation of current Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter that a Peace Corps Foundation be created as an independent NGO. New NPCA Board member Chuck Ludlam and his wife Paula Hirschoff, 2-time RPCVs, having served in the ’60s and in 2005-07, are making available upon request, an extensive draft Comprehensive Plan for Peace Corps 2009-2013, prepared as background material for the Dodd/Kennedy PCV Empowerment Act (S. 732), which awaits consideration in the new Congress.

With the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps now less than 3 years away in 2011, there is a window of opportunity to both share our individual and collective ideas and to start planning for a SEAPAX commemoration of this special birthday. Please direct your thoughts and suggestions to the board.

What Do We Know About RPCVs?

Prospective Peace Corps volunteers often are quizzed by family or friends, “Aren’t you afraid you’re delaying the start of your career?”And even returned volunteers find themselves wondering, “What impact did Peace Corps service have?”

The Peace Corps has done three major studies of RPCVs in its 47-year history, though only one received much press coverage. Now RPCV Andrew Czernek (Congo/Zaire, 1973-75) of Mukilteo, WA has detailed the three studies and outlined another 25 other studies or returned volunteers in a pair of Google Knowledge Base articles:

Peace Corps Volunteers

Peace Corps Impact

The first of the two articles on volunteers details the results of the 1969 Louis Harris study; the 1977 E.A. Winslow study; and the December 1996 study done with graduate student Juanita Graul, who is also an RPCV (Jamaica, 1992-94). Only the first Harris study received must publicity. The second knowledge base article summarizes many of the comments written by RPCVs in response to the 1996 study.

The December, 1996 study was the most complete of the three, delving into differences between each decade of volunteers in the period from 1961 to 1993. It also covered the most volunteers, with responses from 1,253 RPCVs. And it covered the widest range of topics, from marital status to education, income and even safety issues during service.

“I had come out of Jamaica in 1994. I was an adult volunteer, celebrating my 50^th birthday while I was in Jamaica. My particular concern was the crime rate and whether it was increasing or not,” says Juanita Graul. As a result, she worked with the Peace Corps to do the study as part of her thesis at Antioch University.

On how he came to write the articles for the Google Knowledge Base, Czernek says, “I’d originally dug up the research for the Google Answers service but then a server crash deleted it. Google established the Knowledge Base pages a month ago, so it was a chance to update and expand the information.”

The volunteer base has traditionally been more than 90% people in their twenties. Among its many results, the 1996 study found that more than half had earned an advanced degree since returning home – and another 10% were working on an advanced degree. But it also found that a high percentage were single (24%), with another 10% divorced or separated.

“If any SEAPAX members are aware of post-2000 studies of volunteers, I’d like to add them to the list of studies in the Google Knowledge Base,” says Czernek.