The next chapter in our life together

Conference Wrap Up and tour prep

Welcome back, 4 days later. The conference is complete, Mindy is at her staff retreat and I’m waiting for Kate Schacter, our RPCV forEnvironmental Action president and main driver of bringing the Peace Corps Community closer to what CCL is doing.

So much of our lives are about doing stuff and getting stuff done. I (pt) on this trip am  attempting to break some patterns, read more, blog less, feel more deeply and take the time to do that. At 75 I’m clearly aware of the 3rd Act of life and how it requires a different  understanding,…. acceptance.

Last night a Muslim girl spoke about her experience lobbying and then spoke to all of us in how we make sense of our good actions here in DC while thousands of kids and innocent people are being raped, killed forced to escape.  For me it was a stark reminder  how different our realities are when instability, war and poverty dictate  people’s lives. I thanked her mentor Karina this morning. The youth at this conference were beyond my expectations. Inspiring  leadership, poise, courage, and open hearted and wonderfully naive.

Mindy- Now a certified Rock Star in the CCL World.

She and her team organized individual schedules for the 1,000 lobbyists, and confirmed 441 congressional meeting (97 of 100 in the senate) and now she has to (as an introvert) walk thru the quiet hallways so people don’t recognize her…true story!

Her multiple  weeks long commitment for pulling this off I have witnessed since April and I’m doing my best to give/ find for her what she needs….”we miss our body pump”  The number of people from the conference that just rushed up to her to thank her and hug her….ya had to be there, and again,  and again.  Lobbying for the first time can be a life changing experience. The comments by the first timers are powerful listen to them here.

The amount of thought, practice and preparation for these lobby meetings make all the difference. By the time we arrive at the offices all we do is listen, ask open ended questions and show undivided attention and appreciation ….it works. Not as fast as we’d like but we are moving a huge piece of machinery here.

Wednesday felt like a break…Mindy had staff meeting and bonding with her team of Regional Directors. Paul went to the Peace Corps office with 2 CCL staff Joe Robertson director of CCI (International) and Karina Ramirez the CCL DEI Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) coordinator. 5 staff where attending from PC including Andrew Wilson the director of the Third Goal (what PCVs do when they return home) and Nik Karr the Climate Change expert tasked with creating Climate Adaptation and Resilience programs for countries of service.  Also Dan Baker the director of NPCA (National PC Assoc) and Jonathan Pearson, long time friend and advocacy director of NPCA and his assistant Kathryn from Kansas.

We had a robust conversation about raising the awareness of Climate Action and how best to tell the unique story that PCVs and RPCVs have to tell about our international experiences and linking with CCL.  The word “Lobby” is a stumbling block for PC, a government organization with strong limits on what they can do as a government entity. More to come on this. We followed the meeting with a meet and greet at the near by Wundergarten Beer Garden and met a bunch of new RPCVs from the DC area and kept building connection. After all, it’s ALL about relationship right?

Caught the end of the Farewell Celebration for Mark Reynolds the first and longest serving CEO of CCL as the organization brings on their new leader at the end of this month. Thanks Mark, no words can convey what you have created for CCL and all of us!!

Time to head north and start phase 2 of this EVenture.

– Paul





  1. Ron Reilly

    Love your photos! Love what you do!! Thanks!!!

    • cpadmin

      Thanks, Ron. Happy to be in this together with you. Thanks for all your work too!

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