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Volunteers of South Florida

2015 PC Connect

Dear RPCVSF Board members,

Happy summer!  I hope that everyone is doing something enjoyable this summer and looking forward to the upcoming long weekend.

Earlier this month I attended the annual conference of the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA). NPCA's annual event is called PC Connect, and this year it was in Berkeley, California on the campus of the University of California. Peace Corps also hosted a job fair on the day before the event. 

Approximately 500 RPCVs attended PC Connect (the largest attendance of the last 4 years) and enjoyed hearing from Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. She was bubbling with excitement as she was heading to Samoa immediately after the conference and would reunite with her host country family for the first time since her service as a PCV. In addition to the Director, dozens of panels and breakout sessions were presented, including a panel with our own RPCVSF member Tim Lawler (he leads the Peace Corps office of Crisis Services) addressing health care issues for RPCVs. On a lighter note, there were social events every evening -  members of RPCVSF, Bob Graulich and his wife Scotty King, enjoyed a dinner cruise with RPCVs on San Francisco Bay that raised funds for the Northern California RPCV group. 

The PC Connect event covered many topics and had great speakers and exhibitors. For example, we learned about Corps Africa, a new volunteer organization based in Morocco that provides volunteer opportunities to Africans to serve on their own continent.
Also, we saw the brand new 2016 Calendar from the Madison, Wisconsin RPCV group (and they won an NPCA award for their "We All" poster series). Kate Schachter of that group is a fan of RPCVSF and has participated in our Everglades Outing.  We also have awarded the We All posters to teachers in our RPCVSF Service-Learning Award event.

As you may have read in the great RPCVSF newsletter that Virginia sent a few days ago, one of our RPCV friends in Jacksonville, David Miron, offered a few other highlights of PC Connect:

* the Pledge that Meleia Egger (RPCV who works at the Third Goal office, and a friend of RPCVSF who has visited our group twice) wrote is officially in use around the world - note that we were the first group to preview it in February in Miami!

* there will be a new documentary about Peace Corps (the film needs our funding support - I spent some time with the filmmaker, observing her as she promoted the film, and am happy to connect you to her if you have questions or funding ideas), and

* a request for us to contact our elected federal representatives regarding the Peace Corps budget.

At the end of the event NPCA hosted the Affiliate Group Network meeting (RPCV group leaders share ideas and get updates from Peace Corps and NPCA) and conducted the NPCA Board meeting. I am happy to share the following two highlighted new benefits from NPCA with you.

1. NPCA is offering a GREAT new resource for affiliate groups: a free website! If you are a member of a country-of-service group (e.g., Friends of Haiti) that needs a basic website, NPCA will help you build it and assist with hosting platforms. (These free sites are not designed to handle bigger groups like RPCVSF with member database administration, etc., but are a great resource for smaller or startup groups.)  Please tell your RPCV friends to contact David Fields: David@peacecorpsconnect.orgfor more information.

2. NPCA knows that groups need help raising money and has partnered with NetAGoGo to help RPCV groups raise money by simply selling long-distance phone calling plans. Check out npca.netagogo.com for more information.  If folks are interested, please ask Virginia to put this on the agenda of the next Board meeting

Please let me know if you have questions about NPCA or the PC Connect event.  Next year's event will be in DC in September, to celebrate the 55th Anniversary of Peace Corps. I hope you will join me in planning to attend.


Barbara Junge

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