Boston was the site of the 2013 Peace Corps Connect annual conference, bringing together representatives of the community from all over the country to meet and and share ideas on promoting the third goal. The RPCV/W delegation included President Mariko Schmitz, Social Director Courtney Dunham, PR Director Chris Robinson, and Board Member Emeritus Arvis Layton. They met with RPCVs and group leaders from as far away as Hawaii.
RPCV/W played an active role at the conference. The delegation attended the NPCA Board of Directors meeting, whose elected directors include our own members Dennis Grubb and Kristina Owens. Mariko and Chris participated in a group panel where they spoke about how RPCV/W is run and our approach to member management and volunteer engagement. Chris led a special session at the Group Leaders Forum, taking the audience on a tour of the tools and techniques that the organization uses to cultivate a vibrant community, online and off.
The event culminated with the presentation of the Loret Miller Ruppe Awards, the Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service, and the Harris Wofford Global Citizen Awards. The Ruppe Award, which RPCV/W won last year, honors dedicated investment in activities that promote the Third Goal. This year's Ruppe award saw two winners. First was the Friends of the Dominican Republic
, which has raised over $30,000 in 14 projects that have benefited 5,000 persons. The second recipient was the Northern California Peace Corps Association
, recognized for outstanding efforts in small service projects with multiple entities, both local and international. The Shriver and Wofford Awards went to Phil Lilienthal for Global Camps Africa and Dr. Mohamud Said of Kenya, who was taught English by PCVs and rose to become the Director of the African Red Cross and a major voice for human rights on the continent.
Next year's conference is set for Nashville, TN. RPCV/W hopes that it will be invited to continue its role as an advisor and mentor to RPCV groups across the country.