NEWS - June, 2008

Seattle Peace Corps Expo A Success!

The May 4 Expo, a joint venture sponsored by Peace Corps, the National Peace Corps Association, and SEAPAX, drew a crowd of over 400 to Seattle Pacific University, despite the rare warm sunny day. Attendees were about evenly divided between RPCVs and those interested in learning about joining Peace Corps, and represented a good 50-year age span. Many of those interested in PC service were from the boomer generation. RPCVs included those who had served in every continent of the world, from some who had been in the very first programs, to those returned only a few months or weeks ago.

A keynote address was given by Lawrence Kent (Mauritania 1985-87) who is now Senior Program Officer for Agricultural Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with shorter presentations by NPCS President Kevin Quigley (Thailand 1976-79), SEAPAX President Jennifer Samnick (Togo 2002-04), and Cameron Quinn, Peace Corps Director, Office of Domestic Programs (for PC Response, formerly Crisis Corps).

The program included the following interactive breakout sessions:

The Open House portion of the program offered attendees opportunities to speak one-on-one with members of the sponsoring groups and with representatives of more than as a dozen community organizations that hosted information tables. Exhibitors were from a broad range of NGOs, both large and small, local and international, involved in education, healthcare, environmental, community development and other vital work.

Many attendees commented that they valued this unique opportunity to share experiences with other RPCVs, help some newly returned folks deal with reverse culture shock, as well as to learn more about the PC community and SEAPAX. We heard numerous comments that some had never before known that there were RPCV organizations.

Special thanks are due to Anne Baker of the NPCA, to Jennifer Samnick and Joana Ramos of SEAPAX, who devoted countless hours over several months to organize the May 3-4 Expo weekend, and to the entire SEAPAX team of volunteers who made this event a success.

Photos from the Expo may be viewed on the NPCA website.


SEAPAX Annual Summer Picnic

On Saturday, July 12, SEAPAX will hold its annual summer picnic.

Volunteers are needed to organize the picnic. Sign up by e-mail to: Michele Schrader. We will be contacting you soon about assignments.

For directions to the park in NE Seattle, visit the park web page.

Magnuson Park can be reached by Metro routes #30 (formerly #74) and #75 (via Sandpoint Way NE) or by #71 (stops at NE 65th St & 58th Ave NE). Walkers and bikers can get to the park on the Burke-Gilman Trail.


SEAPAX 2nd Annual Campout

SEAPAX now holds its own annual campouts in Western WA, thanks to Michael Le and Annette Clothier. This year's event will take place on July 18-20 at Cougar Rock Campground at Mt. Ranier National Park. This is family friendly event, with lots to do and see in a beautiful setting.

Mt. Ranier National Park website: From there, you can get driving directions
Park entry fee: $15 for a private, noncommercial vehicle or $5 for each visitor 16 and older entering by motorcycle, bicycle, horseback, on foot, or for individuals traveling together as a non-commercial, organized group. These fees provide the visitor with a 7-day entrance permit for Mount Rainier National Park. Regional and federal park & recreational area passes also honored.
Campground fee: approx. $10 per household, depending on number of campers, to cover group site fee. Any extra funds collected will be donated to SEAPAX.
Reservations: you must sign up in advance to reserve your spot with the SEAPAX group: there is room for 40 campers and 5 vehicles at the site. There is other parking close by, and other individual campsites that can be reserved individually. To sign up, please contact Michael Le.
Meals: on your own. Limited concessions available in the park.


Regional RPCV Campout 2008

The Inland Northwest Peace Corps Association invites you to the annual regional campout August 8-10 at the Gifford Group campsite in the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. The site is reserved from 1 PM on Friday the 8th until noon on Sunday, August 10th.

The annual campout is a great way to meet interesting RPCV's from other parts of the Northwest, have a good time, share stories and marvel at the amazing good things that people are doing. It is a family-friendly event, with plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun. Hope to see you there.

For questions or more info contact: Delores Schwindt (Malaysia 72-74) or call (509) 489-2005

Here's how you can help get ready for the Campout:

Campout Basics

Campground Amenities

This campground has one restroom with running water (but no showers) and a dump station for RVs. There are some individual sites near the group area for those of you who wish to come early or stay later ($14 per night). However, reservations cannot be made for the individual sites. There are no concessions at the campground.


As always, the host group will provide the main part of the Saturday evening meal. Sunday breakfast is always something yummy provided by the Boise group. Other meals are on your own. Please note that restaurants and grocery suppliers are scarce in the area, so come prepared.

Lodging alternative

For non-campers there is a bed & breakfast 2 miles from the camp: Buck Canyon Lodge (509) 722-3949. Reservations are highly recommended.


There are many ways to get to the campground. The shortest and most scenic route from Spokane is to drive north on 395 through Chewelah (your last chance for reasonably priced gas and food) to Addy. Turn left (west) to and through Addy on the Addy-Gifford Road, continuing to Gifford (20 miles). Turn left (south) at Gifford on Hwy 25 to the campground (1-2 miles) which is just north of the free ferry. Total distance from Spokane is about 82 miles.

A second option from Spokane is to take Hwy 2 to Davenport, then go north on Hwy 25 to the campground. This route is about 94 miles from Spokane to the campground.

For those coming from the west, you have two choices also. Take Highway 2 over Stevens pass, 15. Just east of Creston, turn left at Miles-Creston Rd, continue on Bachlelor Dr, then continue again on Miles-Creston Rd. Turn left at WA-25 and continue to the campground entrance. This route is about 290 miles, but takes longer than the next route.

Another option, longer (about 320 miles), but probably quicker, is to head east on Interstate 90. Take Exit 231 toward Tokio and turn left of Danekas Rd, then right on N. Hills Rd. After about 19 miles, turn left on Hwy 23, then right on Hwy 28. In about 13 miles, turn right on Hwy 2, then left on Hwy 25 and continue until the campground.


NPCA Board Elections

Elections of new Board members for the National Peace Corps Association are now being conducted on the NPCA website. The positions open are for representatives for the Western and Southern regions of the US, and for Country of Service (COS) groups representing Asia and the Pacific Islands. All NPCA members who live in the Western region, or who belong to an RPCV group in our region, may vote for the candidate of their choice. All NPCA members who either served in an API country or who belong to an API COS groups are eligible to vote.

There are 2 candidates, from OR and CA respectively, running for the Western region position now held by Bob Findlay of Olympia. Four candidates are vying for the API group slot.

The electronic ballot may be found on the NPCA website.

Note that you must have been an NPCA member before June 2 to be eligible to vote in this election; you may not join NPCA and vote at the same time. Votes must be submitted by July 2.

Please contact the NPCA for any questions about the election.


RPCV Mentoring Program

The NPCA, with the support of Peace Corps, has just launched a Mentoring Program, designed to connect recently returned Peace Corps Volunteers with RPCV mentors. The goal of this free program is to offer practical and emotional support from those who have "been there" to newly-returned RPCVs re-adjusting to life in the US. Participants are asked to make a minimum 4-month commitment to the program, with a minimum of 3 contacts, which can be via phone, e-mail, or in-person, or any combination of these. Community information resources, details on job and education opportunities, tips on making a mentoring relationship work, and much more, will be offered to both mentors and mentees.

If you'd like to offer to help a new RPCV through "reverse culture shock," or if you would like the help of a someone who has experienced this phase of life, please visit the RPCV Mentoring Program website. RPCVs from all eras are needed to serve as mentors.


Best of the Web

Best of the Web is a feature of our newsletter and website listing resources for learning more about events, news, discussion, and organizations that share the international and multicultural interests of SEAPAX. We invite you to submit your favorites to share here. This month's listing highlights one site whose goal is ranking countries by their relative states of peace and another that features Seattle's cultural heritage.

We continue to welcome submissions to our listserv (as per Submissions Guidelines) , but there is so much going on in the Puget Sound area, that we can't possibility list everything nor in a timely manner. Thus, we want to alert you to good resources where you can find out more on your own. As this list grows, entries will be organized into ready reference categories. Please send your submissions to: