A quintessential summer ingredient to fill the calendar, the summer gathering comes in many flavors. From organized festivals, reunions, birthdays, and backyard yard games, social gatherings bring people together in shared experiences, honor shared values, and to relish in late nights and warm air.
Recently, a reunion of valley folk comprised of former Peace Corps volunteers gathered at the home of Char Burns up Twisp River. Eight former volunteers their families represented service in Colombia, Mali, Niger, Liberia and Zaire where they worked in sectors including nursing, education, agriculture, and health. To date, there is a running list of 24 former volunteers living here in the valley (including yours truly). During the gathering, many recounted their experiences to the group, sharing similar times of challenge and fun, with lots of personal growth.
Established in 1966 by President Kennedy, Peace Corps volunteers are embedded in local communities, undergo extensive language and cross-cultural training, and live in modest accommodations typical of the community they serve. Often rural or remote, though sometimes urban, volunteers work side by side with local counterparts in government agencies, schools, and community organizations. The goal of the program is threefold. To offer technical assistance where desired, to impart a better understanding of Americans on those serviced, and to impart a better understanding of the cultures served on Americans.
If you were a Peace Corps volunteer and would like to add your name to the list for the next gathering, email Char at email@example.com. If you’ve ever thought about becoming a volunteer, reach out to a former volunteer and learn more.
Another well-attended gathering took place up Lookout Mountain Road over the weekend. The Born Wild event put on by Riding High Ministries drew hundreds of people to the ranch of Bill and Suellen White for three days of convocation and worship.
Todd Pierce, a bareback rider and pastor, brought a captivating message of love and tenderness while working with a wild horse as he tamed it in an hour through a deep connection with God. He offered the crowd an opportunity to see how faith can calm the wildness within and capture our true nature of peace and calm that comes with surrender. The event brought the valley’s community of faith together to commune in the beauty of nature.
Finally, the last gatherings worth mentioning are the Methow Valley Killer Whales swim meets that, after a couple false alarms the previous week where two meets were canceled, started back into full force on July 6. July 22 will be the Methow Invitational all day on Saturday. My favorites are the beginning racers, whose effort is unsurpassed as they try to make the whole length of the pool and back.
Swimming lessons are going strong at the pool with new experienced instructors and revamped swim curriculum. That’s good news, because the news about swimming nationwide is grim. After years of improvement, since 2020 drownings have increased, solidifying it as the No. 1 cause of death among young children. There are still swim sessions ahead in July, so if you know someone who needs to learn to swim, contact the pool for information at (509) 997-5441.