Spotlight on Missouri RPCV Attending Peace Corps Connect: Minneapolis 2012
By Molly Mattessich on Thursday, May 17th, 2012
“Because my Peace Corps service was such a positive life-changing experience for me, I feel that it is important to help to pass on that knowledge to the new Peace Corps Volunteer recruits.”
These sentiments come from Frank Yates, who has stayed connected to the Peace Corps Community since his service in Ghana ended in 1976. He is the President of Friends of Ghana and is making his way from Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri to Minnesota at the end of June to meet up with other Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, “and to find someone to take my spot as President!” he says.
Originally from Fulton, Missouri, Frank joined the Peace Corps in 1973 and worked as a Roads Engineer for a pulpwood plantation being developed in the Subri Forest Reserve in the western region of the country. He designed and build roads, offices, and housing for the plantation.
The experience brought him to the Kansas City area where he worked as a civil engineer and traffic engineer for about nine years. Then, Frank moved to San Diego, where he worked as a traffic engineer for another 21 years. He retired from the City of San Diego in 2007 and relocated back to Missouri to be closer to his family.
During Frank’s time in Kansas City, he was a member of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) group there and attended the events in Omaha, Nebraska from 1978-1980, which is where the National Peace Corps Association was founded. By then Frank was a leader in the Peace Corps Community and served on the Board of Directors of NPCA from 1983 to 1989, including two years as its Treasurer. He helped found the San Diego Peace Corps Association in 1988 following the 1987 Beyond War award to Peace Corps. He also helped to found the Friends of Ghana, along with Ken Autrey and Susan Caster, in 1994. In addition to being President of Friends of Ghana, Frank is also on the Board of Central Missouri RPCVS, based in Columbia.
Why Frank’s Coming to Minneapolis
When we asked Frank why he wants is attending Peace Corps Connect: Minneapolis, he said that he is hoping to meet with the Ghana RPCVs to have discussions on how to best serve their members and increase their group’s membership. He also is eager to hear others’ ideas on how to better support the PCVs in Ghana, and promote all of the good things that are happening in Ghana now.
“It’s important to follow up with recently returned PCVs by mentoring them as they re-adjust to living in the United States,” Frank said. Certainly, Peace Corps Connect: Minneapolis is one great way to do this.
“I have also enjoyed the big conferences held in Washington, DC. I attended the 25th, 30th, 35th, 40th + 1, and 50th.”