Last Update: 7/9/2014 11:20 PM
By Will Spargur,
I recently got back from the 2014 Peace Corps Connect Conference in Nashville. I love going to these conferences. They give me an opportunity to travel and see other great American cities, mingle and learn from RPCV leaders from around the country, and build strategic relationships with other RPCV groups, the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) and Peace Corps. I then come home with a truck load of ideas and resources that we can use to make NorCal even more awesome.
It is inspiring to see how active and engaged even small RPCV groups are. This year the Central Missouri group was selected for the Ruppe award for outstanding community service by NPCA. (Watch Mike Burden's acceptance speech on June 22nd at the Nashville 2015 Peace Corps Connect Conference)
What the Central Missouri RPCVs lacks in size they more than make up in spirit. Each year they organize a huge international film festival filled with panel discussions featuring film makers and host country nationals, an international food fair and games. This amazing event attracts over 500 people from the surrounding community.
I had the honor to meet Mike Burden, one of the Festival’s organizers, and chat with him for hours on how such a small group can do such big things. He hopes to turn the film festival into a traveling event so other groups can take part and benefit from it while engaging their communities and promoting understanding of peoples of the world.
Will Spargur Speaking in Nashville
I also came back from Nashville with great news. The Northern California Peace Corps Association has been selected to host the 2015 Peace Corps Connect Conference next year. The last time we hosted it was in 1993 when over 1,000 RPCVs plus their friends and family flooded Berkeley for a five day conference. The president Bill Clinton event prerecorded a speech specifically for the event. I don’t know if Obama will do us the same favor but it won’t hurt to ask – anyone have the right connections? I know we can put together another great conference. NPCA has given us the lead role in planning the conference after seeing our track record over the last few years. We will need lots of help putting it together. We will be discussing the Conference at our upcoming July 14th Board meeting. If you would like to get involved in the planning please attended, board meetings are open to members. If you cannot make the board meeting don’t worry, we’ll have many more opportunities for members to get involved in the planning. Keep an eye out for announcements in the upcoming months.