|By Nancy Kramer (guardian2.ccc.edu - 184.108.40.206) on Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - 10:13 am: Edit Post|
I am an administrator at a community college
in downtown Chicago. The demographics of our school are forever changing. The avg. age of our students is 28. Due to the high costs of education, career changes, and the economy more people are turning to the community college. Its affordable, have good standards and accessible. I support this new recruiting effort.
Harold Washington College
|By Beth Riddle (briddle) (dhcp-10-191.ucsc.edu - 220.127.116.11) on Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - 12:13 pm: Edit Post|
I recommend 22 years as a minimum age for Peace Corps service, and a four-year degree as a requirement also. Volunteers need an understanding of community development and organizational dynamics to be successful. I was 20 when I joined Peace Corps in 1970, and had supported myself since I was 16. In other words, I was very responsible. However, I was still too young in terms of life experience and understanding how to organize in a community. Ultimately I was a successful volunteer at that young age, but that was due in large part to the patience of the host country counterparts...in a culture known for smiling and avoiding confrontation. When I returned to the country of service 8 years later as a consultant (at 28 years old) I was much better able to manage community development and act as a liaison between disparate groups.
Peace Corps volunteers need to act responsibly and be mature enough to represent the U.S. well. They may not have as strong technical skills as their local counterparts, but they may have stronger cross-cultural and change management skills than their local colleagues. Those "softer" skills are difficult to impart to 18-21 year olds who simply don't have enough life experience. Requiring a bachelor's degree demonstrates self-discipline to complete a goal. And it may require the discipline to work to support one self while completing the degree. That kind of discipline and self-sufficiency is an important characteristic for Peace Corps volunteers.
I strongly recommend you not take volunteers younger than 22, and I recommend that all volunteers have bachelors degrees.