On Monday, February 4th, I traveled to Washington D.C. where I met 42 other Peace Corps trainees in the lobby of a Holiday Inn in Georgetown. The group was comprised of future Agriculture and Natural Resource volunteers and the overall composition was about what I had expected. There were 4 married couples: one in their twenties, one in their 30s, one in their 50s and one in their 60s. A day before arriving at staging, my Nana had given me an article on the rapidly increasing rate of volunteers over age 50. Now, about 7% of volunteers are over age 50 and that percentage will hopefully be increased to about 10% by 2010. The number of things an older individual has to change in his or her life in order to do Peace Corps is astonishing. One couple sold their house and set everything anew in their life. I can´t imagine making such a drastic change at such a late time in life; kudos to them.
The average age in this group is about 26, and most of my fellow trainees are between the ages of 21 and 30. It is a great group of individuals, all sharing many of the same interests, all bringing something interesting to the table. Our first "icebreaker" activity consisted of matching names on a list to past experiences and/or accomplishments. It was a great way to introduce ourselves to one another, outshining all other "icebreaker" activities I had done in the past. A few of the first people I met had the following experiences listed: Jason had worked with several large companies encouraging the use of wind energy, Katie had studied birds in Costa Rica, Levi had taught a wilderness education class in Colorado, Craig and Lucy had their own dairy farm in Wisconsin, and Gaby had interned on a congressional committee in Washington. All in all, I am really impressed with the group (Omnibus 99) and am looking forward to working with them more throughout pre-service training.