50th Planning in Albany
By Jonathan Pearson on Tuesday, December 14th, 2010
If you want to get involved with activities to celebrate Peace Corps’ upcoming 50th anniversary, you probably won’t have to look too far beyond your community. Member groups of the National Peace Corps Association are making plans. And they sure would benefit from some extra volunteer support.
Just one example is in Albany New York, where we attended the early December gathering of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Northeast New York.
“I’m pretty pumped about it,” said Sue Senecah (Western Samoa 73 – 75). “It will be great to have an excuse to celebrate all the good that (Peace Corps) has done.”
Group Leader Joe Doherty (Sierra Leone 76 – 78) concurred. “We’re always bombarded by bad news from overseas. Peace Corps is a good story that provides hope. We’ve seen that it can work.”
Joe and Sue were among the 25 members of the Peace Corps community who came together for a potluck dinner and 50th anniversary planning session. The gathering was undoubtedly similar to other sessions being held by other groups as the anniversary draws near.
First, there are great ideas in the works. The Albany group has a planning sheet with about a dozen activities listed: marching in a local Flag Day parade (and displaying flags of Peace Corps countries of service), organized presentations or displays at area libraries, collaborating with a local film society for a movie and discussion night, working with state lawmakers to pass a resolution honoring Peace Corps’ 50th, several proposals to connect with local and regional media to extend publicity and attention to the Peace Corps. And on, and on and on!
Second, however, is the question of capacity. As someone during the Albany discussion raised a new idea to promote fifty years of the Peace Corps, the first question asked by facilitators was, “Who wants to help on that project?”
Doherty says over the years, only about one of every 20 or 30 people he speaks to about the Peace Corps would ask probing questions that demonstrate true interest. “I see the 50th as an opportunity to gratuitously promote the Peace Corps.”
For the promotion of Peace Corps during the 50th anniversary year to really take hold and capture the imagination of Americans, all members of the Peace Corps community can and need to lend a hand. One way to make that happen is to connect with a National Peace Corps Association member group close to you. Every hour of support will contribute to a broader understanding of Peace Corps’ role in building cooperation and friendship around the world.