Coffee and Conversation – September 29

Thursday, September 29, 2016
Starbucks Coffee 
(1150 Whitehorse Mercerville Road, Hamilton Township, NJ)
Anytime between 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Stop by anytime between 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM.  Drop by for five minutes to say hello.  Stay longer if you can.  Connect with members of the Trenton/Hamilton area Peace Corps community. Meet National Peace Corps Association Advocacy Director Jonathan Pearson. Learn more about exciting initiatives at the NPCA, get connected to the New Jersey Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and find out the important role you can play to ensure the future of a strong, vibrant Peace Corps.
A special presentation on NPCA programs and activities will be held at 5:30 PM.
Questions? Call 301-891-2146

Free Concert and Meteor Viewing – September 14

Followed by Meteor Viewing if the Night is Clear

Duke Island Park (191 Old York Road, Bridgewater) is a delightful venue for an outdoor concert. Bring your blanket, lawn chair, picnic basket etc.
Open to the public & FREE (except for food purchases).
Family & friends welcome too.
5:30pm  Meet to the right of the stage. Area will be marked by a Peace Corps flag/banner on a pole.

Bring your appetite – for great food and music! A variety of food trucks selling a range of culinary delights will be on hand beginning at 6pm to start the festivities.

7pm – 8:30pm Concert

Then the music begins at 7pm. Tramps Like Us brings more than 25 years of musicianship that have won this band the hard-earned distinction of the most revered Bruce Springsteen Tribute band. Given high praise by dozens of publications, radio stations, and music industry personnel, they are the only tribute band to be endorsed by the official Springsteen Radio Station: E Street Radio on Sirius XM. The group captures the classic Springsteen sound, and remains true to the spirit and energy of the music, while delivering songs with the passion and conviction of the Boss.

8:30 – 9:00pm+ Perseid Meteor Shower (although park closes shortly after theconcert is finished)

If the night is clear, meteors may be visible following the concert. The Perseid Meteor Shower takes place during this time, peaking August 12-13th.

NOTE:  In case of threat of inclement weather please call 908 722-1200 ext. 7. The Somerset County Park Commission will also post weather updates on Twitter and Facebook.

RSVP & Questions: Christie Musa or 908.283.9990

This concert series is made possible by the generous donation of the Somerset County Park Foundation, with contributing funding from Magic 98.3 WMGQ, Hyatt House Branchburg, The Courier News, and Horizon Services.

NPCA Peace Corps Connect

The Sept. 21-25 Peace Corps Connect in D.C. is coming up quickly, and we need to pool our efforts to help mobilize our Peace Corps community to join hundreds, perhaps thousands, of fellow RPCVs for one or more days of Peace Corps Connect. 2016 is Peace Corps’ 55th anniversary!

And if you activate your free NPCA membership on the National Peace Corps Association’s database, you’ll get a 15% discount to Peace Corps Connect

Peace Corps Connect is going to be a dynamic, productive, and fun!


Wednesday morning, Sept. 21 is the International Day of Peace screening of the powerfully inspiring filmRefugee: the Eritrean Exodus, including a post-screening discussion with The America Team for Displaced Eritreans. 

Thursday morning, Sept. 22 is Capitol Hill Advocacy Day to ensure the future of the Peace Corps.. Our Capitol Hill Advocacy Day, on Thursday morning, September 22, RPCV constituents will walk the hallways of Congress to convince Congress that the world needs a bigger, better, Peace Corps now more than ever.

Thursday afternoon, Sept. 22 is the Affiliate Group Network Annual Meeting for affiliate group leaders or aspiring group leaders.  This is an indispensable best practices and networking workshop. We will end the day with a celebratory reception on Capitol Hill in which the first-ever Sam Farr Congressional Leadership Award will be presented.

End of Thursday, Sept. 22, is a celebratory reception on Capitol Hill at which the first-ever Sam Farr Congressional Leadership Award will be presented.


Friday, Sept. 23 and Saturday, Sept. 24 showcase the cornerstone events of Peace Corps Connect.

Driven by our Peace Corps community, this year’s summit focuses on our contributions to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals as well as to Peace Corps’ Third Goal.

Keynote speakers include Nobel Laureate and Liberia President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, author, journalist and documentarian Sebastian Junger, and Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet.

Activate your NPCA membership on NPCA’s new database and get a 15% discount to Peace Corps Connect!

Sunday morning, Sept 25 caps Peace Corps Connect with a Walk for Peace. We will raise the Peace Corps flag high above Washington, D.C. for all to see that we’re 55 and going strong.

Sunday midday, Sept. 25 wraps up Peace Corps Connect with a JAMFEST on Capitol Hill.

This is a national event, so come celebrate alongside Peace Corps community members from around the country.

NJ-RPCVs attend Trenton Thunder Game 7/31

On July 31st, a number of NJ-RPCVs attended a Trenton Thunder baseball game. The picnic area provided a comfortable setting, lots of opportunity to talk to RPCVs, family & friends who attended, plenty of food and the Trenton Thunder won both their games against the Altoona Curve (double header due to postponement of Saturday’s game). One of the attendees even went home with a foul ball!

“Spirit.” Art Exhibition Opening Night

During this 55th year of the Peace Corps, 70 South Gallery’s owner in Morristown NJ initiated an exhibition of photographs from current and returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Owner Ted Baldanzi recognized that many of today’s youth are not as familiar with the Peace Corps and wanted to help increase the awareness of the Peace Corps with the exhibition. The photographs represent not only the true spirit of the villages the volunteers served in, but also the spirit that developed between the Volunteers and the people that shared their everyday life.

IMG_1555-Wall of Honor - nonfeatured photographer photosIMG_1571-Private Opening

Almost 100 RPCVs from across the country submitted photographs. Among them 15 were selected to be featured and their photographs were on exhibit in the gallery. One photo was also selected from each of the other RPCVs who submitted photos and they were on display on a wall in the gallery.  All photographs were beautifully enlarged and mounted by the store and are for sale. A portion of the proceeds will go to fund sustainable, grassroots community development projects around the world.

The gallery held an open house on Saturday, July 16th and the exhibition will be in place through September 2016. For more information on the exhibit, visit the NPCA website.

RPCV-NJ Family Picnic 7-16-16

By Doug Garatina

On a bright, sunny July day, nineteen RPCV’s and family members gathered together at the Wells Mill County Park for a potluck picnic. This was the second annual South Jersey RPCV-NJ  picnic. Wells Mill Park is located in Waretown, Ocean County.  Although it is called the South Jersey Picnic, RPCV’s from across the state are welcome (the same is true for our North Jersey Picnic).  At this picnic we had people from as far North as Phillipsburg and as far South as Salem County.  The Peace Corps service years of the attendees basically spanned the entire existence of the organization from 1962 to the 21st Century.  We introduced ourselves to each other by showing and explaining three photos from our Peace Corps experience.

Phil Levy was the gracious and very organized host for this event.   He created the event last summer and has grown it in its second year.  A retired science teacher, who served in El Salvador in the 1970’s, Phil also volunteers at the Park’s Nature Center where he provides nature hikes to visitors.  Several of us joined him on a short nature hike near the end of the picnic.  We took a path near the edge of a man-made lake and through a stand of beautiful cedar trees.  Phil pointed out a variety of fauna and flora, including two species of carnivorous plants — pitcher plants and sundews. Also a few people rented a canoe for a fun ride on the lake.

In summary, we had a pleasant day sharing our experiences with other RPCV’s and family members as we enjoyed American and ethnic foods.   Although it was a hot day, none of us melted. (The fact that most of us had served in tropical countries might have helped.)

Photo: Attendees gather with the new Peace Corps banner at Wells Mill County Park.

IMG_1620-NJ RPCV Picnic w banners

“Spirit.” Art Exhibition features Peace Corps Volunteer Photos

To celebrate the 55th Anniversary of the Peace Corps, 70 South Gallery, a premier exhibition gallery space and photography print services center in Morristown, NJ is pleased to announce their Spirit. exhibition which will run from Saturday, July 16, 2016 until Friday, September 2, 2016.

Spirit Exhibition Poster 6x9 new version WEB72dpi

Read more on the NPCA website

Trenton Thunder Baseball Game and Picnic – July 31

Sunday, July 31, at 5 PM
(Picnic buffet 4:30-6:00pm)

Join us this summer for an evening enjoying “America’s Pastime” as the Trenton Thunder take on the Altoona Curve at the Arm and Hammer Stadium in Trenton. Enjoy the baseball game from a table in the stadium’s private picnic area, located above the visiting team bullpen. We will have access to a delicious buffet-style 90-minute picnic (see menu below).

Pricing: $26 per person (includes ticket to the game and the picnic buffet) Non-refundable.

Picnic Menu: All beef hot dogs, Hamburgers/ Cheeseburgers/Veggie Burgers, BBQ Chicken, Potato Salad, Garden Salad w/dressings, Baked Beans, Watermelon Wedges, Ripple Chips, Thin Pretzels & Cookies.  Water & Fountain sodas are complimentary for 90 minutes, ending one hour into the game. Other beverages are available for purchase throughout the game.
Outside food and beverages are NOT allowed in the ballpark. 

More Details: 
Cost for Parking = $5 per car. Parking lots are located in front of the ballpark, in the parking garage near Rho Restaurant and across Rt. 29.

Picnic Times = 4:30 to 6:00 (1/2 hour before game time to one hour into game)

Young Children:
Children 3 and under are free, but they will not have a seat. They must sit on your lap or stand.

IMPORTANT GPS NOTE: If using a GPS device to locate the stadium, you may need to enter the stadium neighbor’s address: “50 Riverview Plaza”. Not all GPS devices contain the stadium address of “One ThunderRoad”.

Rain Date— if the game is called due to rain before anyone is allowed in stadium, they will reschedule us for another picnic/ ball game. But if people are allowed into the stadium and then the game is cancelled due to weather, they will only reschedule our game seats (not the picnic, and there will be no refunds). This is because the picnic buffet starts at 4:30 (before the game begins) and people could have already eaten their food before the game is called for rain.)

There is a FIRM RSVP date of July 8
The RSVP for this event is a two-step process, and BOTH steps must be completed by July 8. First, RSVP by email and tell us how many people will be in your party and their full names. Second, send a check made out to RPCV-NJ (and write “TrentonThunder Game” in the memo section) — cost is $26 per person. Mail to: Doug Garatina, 231 Teakwood Drive, Bayville, NJ 08721.
Your check must arrive by July 8 at the very latest.

How To Get Your Tickets-— After your check is received, your name will be put on a “Will Call List”. When you arrive at the stadium on game day, go to one of the “Will Call” windows, tell them your name and tell them you are in the Returned Peace Corps Group, show them your I.D. and get your ticket. Then go to the area with the many flags and look for your host — RPCV Carmine, who will greet you and direct you to the picnic area. Carmine will be wearing a red t-shirt and or holding a sign that says “RPCV”.