How to get involved in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival
By Molly Mattessich on Monday, May 9th, 2011
As many of you know, the Peace Corps is one of three featured programs at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which takes place June 30-July 4 and July 7-11 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This curated exhibition is one of the highlights of the Peace Corps’ 50th Anniversary commemorative activities. The Peace Corps Community is delighted to be part of this event which has been a staple of summer in the nation’s capitol for 44 years.
The program, “The Peace Corps: Fifty Years of Promoting World Peace and Friendship”, will bring together Peace Corps volunteers—both past and present—with many of the people with whom they have served from countries around the world. Some of the highlights will include:
- Demonstrations by craft cooperatives illustrating both local culture and the work of volunteers in economic development and income generation;
- Performances by musical, dance, and theatrical groups that Peace Corps volunteers have helped to support, advise, and partner with to educate their communities;
- Presentations of food and cooking traditions that have played an important role in the Peace Corps experience; and
- Hands-on educational activities that will help increase public understanding and appreciation of the cultures and countries where Peace Corps volunteers have lived and served during the last five decades.
For more information on programming and schedules please visit www.festival.si.edu.
There are many ways to enjoy this year’s festival. Come for a visit – the festival is free and open every day from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., or get involved – here’s how:
Returned Volunteers and staff are invited to gather with each other to share their stories and memories. Each of the 139 countries in which Volunteers have served will have a specific time to gather (find your country of service meeting time), but RPCVs are encouraged to participate at any time during the festival.
The RPCV reunion area of the festival, known as the RPCVillage, will feature conversation facilitators, an opportunity to record an oral history, a discussion stage, message boards, and a “wish tree” to send messages of good will to present and future Volunteers and messages of remembrance to friends we’ve lost.
For more information about the RPCVillage as well as Volunteer and staff reunions, contact Jason Bowers, program coordinator, BowersJ@si.edu.
The festival is seeking enthusiastic RPCVs for two activities in the family and children’s activities area, called Kids Corps.
- Teach children about the language of your host country. We’d like returned Volunteers to teach a few basic words such as greetings, numbers, parts of the body, members of your family, items where you live, or simple songs or rhymes. This will take place in an area that resembles a mini-classroom or Volunteer home. This requires a two hour time commitment.
- Teach a simple children’s game from your host country. The game should be appropriate for kids ages 6 to 12, and use relatively easy-to-find materials. We’re looking for games that are unique to a country or region, like Shagai, the Mongolian ankle bone game. This requires a one-hour time commitment.
If you would be interested in volunteering for either of these activities, please send all of the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 27th, 2011:
- Name and email/ phone number.
- Name of the game you’d like to teach, a brief description of the game, materials needed to play and where it’s from.
- Name of the language you’d like to teach, where it’s from.
- The days and times you are available.
You will be contacted by members of the Folklife Festival staff with final scheduling confirmation. Depending on interest, preference may be given to languages other than Spanish & French.
General volunteer opportunities
Volunteers are needed before, during, and after the festival for any number of important jobs around the site. If you’d like to be a considered for general volunteer opportunities, please submit an application form to the Smithsonian. The form can be found here.