- Choose venues where people can hear each other talk.
- Ask older RPCV/W members to become mentors.
- Hold weekend events promoting child-friendly activities.
These are just a few of the suggestions brought up in a discussion at the Former Board Outreach Dinner with new RPCV/W Outreach Director Anna Lena Wonnenberg (Kosovo ‘14-15), at her home last Sunday.
Intended as a gathering to honor former board members, the event also served as a brainstorming and goal-setting session to address issues and ideas for the future of RPCV/W outreach and engagement.
Nineteen current and former RPCV/W board members and guests were in attendance, including several RPCVs from the 1960s. Dennis Grubb, who served in Colombia in 1961, was called “the first and best Peace Corps Volunteer” by Sargent Shriver himself.
Following a presentation led by RPCV/W President Chris Robinson (Jamaica ‘07-09) on the initiative to form an RPCV/W Advisory Council, Anna Lena shared her vision for Outreach in the coming year: to enrich and diversify connections and relationships within RPCV/W and its partners.
She also listed areas for improvement within the organization: RPCV/W participation in members 45 years and older and those with children; relationship-building between members with developed careers and those just starting out; and events that cater to members with various interests and needs.
Each attendee, with a pen and a scrap of paper, wrote “Suggestions” on one side, and “I will...” on the other.
As discussion progressed, they jotted down ideas for addressing challenges and their own recommendations to improve RPCV/W outreach.
Finally, Anna Lena invited everyone to turn their papers over and take a moment to reflect on how they themselves could contribute to realizing these goals and ideas. As the room grew quiet, each person wrote their own personal commitments to achieving greater participation and engagement within RPCV/W.
Submissions under “I will...” included:
Host an Outreach Dinner (smaller, more intimate events with diverse attendees to facilitate greater relationship-building and 45+ engagement);
Try to connect more with established RPCVs so that they can mentor younger volunteers;
Continue to promote RPCV/W events to better bring visibility;
Encourage at least one RPCV to become an RPCV/W member.
It seems that there is a bright future ahead for RPCV/W Outreach, as members both old and new demonstrated enthusiasm and teamwork to meet the challenges ahead and improve upon RPCV/W’s outreach efforts in the coming years.
How can YOU get involved?
As a volunteer-led non-profit, RPCV/W depends on the contributions of its members. You can help us reach our goals by making your own personal outreach commitment. These include:
Inviting one non-RPCV/W member to each event (remember, you don’t need to be an RPCV to be a part of RPCV/W!);
Volunteering to host an Outreach Dinner at your home;
Reaching out to RPCVs in need and connecting them with RPCV/W members;
Providing your own feedback on how RPCV/W can improve to best meet your needs.
Thank you for your support in fulfilling the RPCV/W mission to "embody the spirit of the Peace Corps!"