Last weekend the local Peace Corps recruiter hosted a "send-off" party for all those in the area who are heading off to the Peace Corps. That meant current invitees or nominees. It was great to get a chance to meet some others who are heading off to parts unknown like myself. Tallahassee is a college town, but not a very liberal one; most of the students here, based on a sampling of my ex-students, are business majors and don't have much interest in volunteerism or service. Plus this part of the country is not known for being very... cerebral. We have some RPCVs in the faculty, and there's a local RPCV club chapter, but up until a year ago the closest recruiter was in Atlanta. And as such, I actually felt it was possible I was the only person in all of Leon county who was going to the Peace Corps this year.
Turns out, I was wrong. There are about three other people with invitations in hand (two of them were both going to Guatemala come August, in an interesting coincidence!), and a couple more nominees. We met at a local park under a covered picnic area and everyone brought snacks or a covered dish (I brought gourmet bread and seasoning/olive oil to dip it in). Also attending were the local recruiter, the manager of the Atlanta recruiting office, the FSU Peace Corps Master's Degree International program head, and a couple of returned volunteers. It was nice to meet all these people and have this exciting thing in common together. Plus, the nominees knew almost nothing about PC policies, the application process, staging or training, etc. etc. and I was able to excercise what knowledge I've gained over the years, both through my abortive previous service and the intensive research I've done on my own.
My only regret is that I forgot to give the nominees (and the other invitees) the address of the peacecorps2 yahoo newsgroup -- I think it would be a great resource for them, as it is for so many of us newbies. I can't recommend it enough.
Five weeks and counting!!!