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Author Topic: older volunteer  (Read 2792 times)

Offline ruthgooley

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older volunteer
« on: June 13, 2014, 10:39:24 AM »
I have just submitted my application as a soon-to-be retiree and was just wondering how I would fit in with people fresh from college. Any ideas? Thanks!   

Offline koji

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Re: older volunteer
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2014, 11:18:31 PM »
My group had a few older volunteers. Two retired married couples, two older men, and an older woman. There were also a few in the group before, and the group after, so there was quite a bit of overlap. From my perspective, they fit in rather well. They were invited to pcv gatherings (although most of them skipped the parties and opted for smaller gatherings- something I did as well). They partnered with other pcvs on projects at their sites, they had visitors, they went exploring the country on their own and with other pcvs. A couple of them got really cool placements, with agencies we all wanted to work with, due to their experience, which also helped to ensure a lot of visitors. Occasionally one single older man complained that it was agism that none of the younger girls would sleep with him, which annoyed the younger girls (or at least me). But, for the most part they had a normal pcv experience.

I know the older woman missed home a lot, and missed seeing her grandchildren, but most volunteers miss something about home. I think it is important to remember that all volunteers feel lonely at some point in their service. I was not very connected to my training group (less than most of the older volunteers seemed to be) so I didn't have a lot of visitors to my site, and I never went to the pcv parties. I got enough pcv interaction at mandatory trainings twice a year. There were actually quite a few pcvs in my group who were like me, and just weren't interested in the pcv group as a social scene. We treated it more as a work network and less like the college, "best friends for life."

I think the best thing you can do, at any age, is focus on making a few authentic connections at training, who will be there when you are feeling lost/alone, and then focus on your site. The host nationals at your site will be there everyday, unlike the volunteers, so making sure you establish a support network there is a bit more helpful, I think.

But yeah, the great thing about most pcvs, is they are very accepting. So, you may be very different than your training group, age, race, physical or mental ability, but people will not really care, unless you make a big deal out of it. Oh, and one other thing, our country had affinity groups, to help people who felt they were going through a specific set of problems. One of the groups was for older volunteers. If your country doesn't have such a group, perhaps start one.

Offline ruthgooley

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Re: older volunteer
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2014, 03:03:21 PM »
Thank you so much for your very thoughtful response. I really appreciate it. I looked for this post earlier but forgot where I had posted it! I just found it by chance. I think it's a great idea to have affinity groups and will try that if it seems needed. Thanks again. Ruth

Offline koji

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Re: older volunteer
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2014, 02:05:43 AM »
You're welcome. I hope I get another chance to be a volunteer as a retiree... but with a foreign husband it seems unlikely. Oh well, I have years. I hope you really enjoy your experience.

LittleJo

  • Guest
Re: older volunteer
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2014, 04:19:02 PM »
I was an older volunteer  (50's) and had no issues with the younger crowd. I had more issues with the older ones, if you can believe that! I am returning to service in March and hope to fit in as easily as the last time. Go for it girl! You will never regret it.

Offline Steve S

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Re: older volunteer
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2014, 12:42:45 PM »
Playing with younger volunters in the USA prepared me to be pleasantly surprised by the "intergenerational" synergies in the PC. Although  often outside much of the younger social scene the generational aspects of the diversity are relatively insignificant. I wish the same could be said about my awareness of the positive and negative views of the host site. Especially if you are following in the footsteps of a much younger PCV you should be prepared for some need to modify your and others' expectations there.
Steve

Offline PeaceCorps1

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Re: older volunteer
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2014, 01:45:04 PM »
My group had a few older volunteers. Two retired married couples, two older men, and an older woman. There were also a few in the group before, and the group after, so there was quite a bit of overlap. From my perspective, they fit in rather well. They were invited to pcv gatherings (although most of them skipped the parties and opted for smaller gatherings- something I did as well). They partnered with other pcvs on projects at their sites, they had visitors, they went exploring the country on their own and with other pcvs. A couple of them got really cool placements, with agencies we all wanted to work with, due to their experience, which also helped to ensure a lot of visitors. Occasionally one single older man complained that it was agism that none of the younger girls would sleep with him, which annoyed the younger girls (or at least me). But, for the most part they had a normal pcv experience.

I think that the young volunteers do alienate the older volunteers. Ageism is major. It is common to see the younger ones being clannish but the older ones tend to shy away from hanging together as they feel it makes them look like they are segregating. It is sad that the older ones felt that way. I was between the age groups so I could go in and out of both the groups.

I know the older woman missed home a lot, and missed seeing her grandchildren, but most volunteers miss something about home. I think it is important to remember that all volunteers feel lonely at some point in their service. I was not very connected to my training group (less than most of the older volunteers seemed to be) so I didn't have a lot of visitors to my site, and I never went to the pcv parties. I got enough pcv interaction at mandatory trainings twice a year. There were actually quite a few pcvs in my group who were like me, and just weren't interested in the pcv group as a social scene. We treated it more as a work network and less like the college, "best friends for life."

I think the best thing you can do, at any age, is focus on making a few authentic connections at training, who will be there when you are feeling lost/alone, and then focus on your site. The host nationals at your site will be there everyday, unlike the volunteers, so making sure you establish a support network there is a bit more helpful, I think.

But yeah, the great thing about most pcvs, is they are very accepting. So, you may be very different than your training group, age, race, physical or mental ability, but people will not really care, unless you make a big deal out of it. Oh, and one other thing, our country had affinity groups, to help people who felt they were going through a specific set of problems. One of the groups was for older volunteers. If your country doesn't have such a group, perhaps start one.
"If it were not for the reporters, I'd tell you the truth"', President Chester A. Arthur