U. S. Servas

promoting world peace one conversation at a time…


Meet Hayden!

Hayden Wetzel

What is your Servas background? Have been a Servas host and traveller since 2000, and served as coordinator for the Washington DC area about 2001-10.

How long you have been an interviewer? 2000 to present. I would say I interview prospective members about every two months.

Where have you traveled? Traveled (with Servas) to Romania/Hungary/Slovakia, Haiti/Suriname, Japan/Taiwan/Hong Kong, Kyrgyzstan/Armenia/Georgia, Germany/Poland/Denmark.

What is one great memory you have from Servas (as a traveler, host, or interviewer)? So many!  Perhaps the dinner given for me by almost all the Servas members in Suriname (I stayed over an extra day so that I could join them), or the wonderful help given me by Servas members in Taipei to find my dear old friend there who I had not seen for over thirty years.  This summer I will attend the wedding of a Servas friend in Hungary.

What hobbies do you enjoy? Reading, history, music, religion, walking the neighborhoods of Washington (I am a licensed tour guide here).

Why are you involved with Servas, and why do you think that Servas is important? When my last child moved from the house I had lots of extra space here and Servas friends from my church had long talked about Servas with me — one day it just clicked!  The friendships I have made (some long-term, some just for the time of the visit) have enriched my life wonderfully.  And the lives of my friends here, who have often met my travellers.  The informality and flexibility of the organization suits me perfectly.

Say hello to Hayden if you’re near Washington DC!



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Meet Nancy!

Nancy Nugent is an interviewer in Seattle, Washington!

1. What is your Servas background?  My husband and I joined Servas about 30 years ago.

2. How long have you been an interviewer? I have been interviewing for 11 years and have had the pleasure of meeting some of the very best people who share values of peace and justice and making this a better world.

3. Where have you traveled? I have traveled with my husband to Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, England, Scotland, Wales, Turkey, Israel as well as extensively in this country.

4. What is one great memory you have from Servas (as a traveler, host, or interviewer)? So many  positive Servas memories. One extraordinary one is of a host in Bristol, England. An hour after leaving him, I realized I had left  my purse at his house and called to be sure he had it and tell him we were on our way back. He insisted on bringing it to me, saying he knew the roads well and it would be much easier for him. That captures the generosity and kindness of our experience with Servas.

5. What hobbies do you enjoy? I am a very busy, retired teacher, volunteering for Servas, the University Food Bank and Compassion & Choices (supporters of the death with dignity law in WA state). I knit, quilt, read, do yoga, walk, spend quality time with friends and family.

6. What is one of your favorite quotes? This is about 3,000 years old, from the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh: “Let your belly be full, your clothes clean, your body washed; enjoy yourself day and night, dance, sing and have fun; look upon the child who holds your hand and let your wife delight in your lap. This is the destiny of mortals.”

7. Why are you involved with Servas, and why do you think that Servas is important? Servas represents my strongest values. It has given me the oporturnity to meet and interact with extraordinary people.

Visit Nancy at her home in Seattle!

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Important News!

US Servas National Conference and Annual Membership Meeting

Mark your calendar and plan to attend the 2012 US Servas Conference in South Haven, MN.  The conference will be held at the Koinonia Retreat Center (http://www.koinoniaretreatcenter.org/)

The dates of the conference will be September 21st – 23rd 2012.

The program is still being planned.  If you have ideas for the program or would like to join the planning committee, you may contact the conference planning committee chairs, Jenni Francomb (jfrancomb@ gmail.com) and John Riessen (riessen.rojo@mchsi.com)

US Servas Election

The US Servas Election is also coming up.  There are several seats open on the Board of Directors—and members may also submit resolutions to be included on the ballot.  Nominations close on June 6th, so contact Daryl Chinn, chair of the nominations committee (daryl@usservas.org) if you would like to run.

To ensure that we have a quorum, only people who have expressed a desire to be a voter (elector) may vote in the election.  If you would like to be an elector and did not state this when you renewed as a host, just call or email the office on or before July 14, 2012.

If you are an elector, you will receive an email directing you to our online election site during the week of June 24th.  You may also request a paper ballot at that time if you prefer not to vote online.

All voting will end on July 24, 2012.  New board members will take office at the National Meeting on September 22, 2012.

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Servas DC

Servas DC has found a new use for our friendly organization.  Several months ago the Petrov family of Servas members moved to Washington from Moscow and asked the local group to include them in any gatherings or events to help them make new American friends.  We have seen them on a number of occasions in this way and always have a good time.  More importantly five of our members (Helen Shimbo, Hayden Wetzel, Carol Haarmann, Ellen Silverberg and Maxine Levin) meet with the family’s wife and daughter (Victoria and Katia) to practice English every week.  This certainly keeps the ladies’ schedule full!  but we all enjoy ourselves.  This is an aspect of Servas (and a very pleasant one) that none of us had anticipated but one that is very gratifying to all.









Hayden Wetzel and Katia Petrov with friends at the Smithsonian Institution.

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Meet Alaia!

Alaia is an interviewer in Hawaii!

1. What is your Servas background?  I have been a traveler since the early 80s.

2. How long have you been an interviewer? Since 2007.

3. Where have you traveled? Denmark, Sweden, Canada, Thailand, Indonesia , Costa Rica, Mexico, Christmas Islands Nepal and India

4. What is one great memory you have from Servas (as a traveler, host, or interviewer)? In Denmark, before the days of the internet I contacted host in Born Holmn who welcomed me. Once I embarked on my journey from Copenhagen I discovered it was a LONG way! In route I called them to tell them that my arrival was later than expected and they said they were hoping I would call because they had discussed it and since the travel was so far they wondered if I wanted to stay longer than the customary Servas time.  I said I was not sure but thanked them being cautious.  Once I arrived and met them I was so happy with them and their wonderful home I did stay for 4 days and truly enjoyed every moment of being included in their family.

A second Denmark story: I arrived late to a home in Copenhagen from another city in Denmark and again pre-cell phone and internet. The host was just driving away from her home,  she spotted me coming down the street and she stopped and greeted me.. “you must be the Servas traveler!” “Yes,” I replied. “Well go on in the door is open there is a snack on the table and your room is at the top of the stairs.  I’l be back in a bit, must pick up the children.” When she returned I was still sitting on the couch in the living room. It felt so strange to be in someone’s home that I didn’t know when they weren’t there. The children took me all over the neighborhood chatting away in Danish. It didn’t matter to them that I had no idea what they were saying. Such GREAT Servas travel memories!

As an Interviewer I have done interviews in the strangest places including the sidewalk at the airport and even between layovers!

5. What hobbies do you enjoy? Hiking, marathon walking, raw food cuisine, metaphysics, traveling and spirited conversation, and most recently salsa and hustle dancing.

6. What is one of your favorite quotes?

  • Love knows neither race nor religion, just an open hand, an open heart, and an open mind. -Sharon Rothstein
  • ‘When my heart can do my thinking and my head begins to feel, That’s when I can look at the world anew and know what’s truly real” – Van Morrison
  • “There are two ways of spreading light – to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” Edith Wharton, Vesalius in Zante
  • “Don’t speak to me about your religion; first show it to me in how you treat other people. Don’t tell me how much you love your God; show me in how much you love all [God’s] children. Don’t preach to me your passion for your faith; teach me through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as I am in how you choose to live and give.” ~ Cory Booker

7. Why are you involved with Servas, and why do you think that Servas is important? Peace and a world with boundaries and borders is my ultimate goal.. Anything I can do to spread this Unity  I will do.

Alaia is also a host so give her a call if you are going to Hawaii!

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Servas Member Cynthia Siegel’s Art Show in San Francisco!


Figurative Ceramic Sculpture of Cynthia Siegel and Catherine Merrill


Public Glass (http://www.publicglass.org) and the ACGA(Association of Clay and Glass Artists) have joined together tocreate a new exhibition series of ceramic and glass artists.  Thefirst exhibition in the series is Living Clay, featuring the figurativeceramic sculpture of Catherine Merrill of San Francisco andCynthia Siegel of Santa Cruz.

Cynthia Siegel focuses her work on the expressive possibilities of the figure, exploring how the inner workings of thought, imagination, and longing manifest externally on the figurative form.

Catherine Merrill sees her figures as canvases on which to write their stories, dreams and memories, using the visual language of the natural world.

Living Clay will run from May 2 -20, 2012.

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Earth Day Potluck

Kathy Schubert and Suzy Schnauzer graciously opened their home to Chicago Area Hosts and Travelers for an Earth Day Potluck.  Thirteen SERVAS members shared hosting and traveling tales and enjoyed delicious dishes.  Chicago continues to offer two get togethers a year.

Submitted by Kristine Martin (Chicago Area Representative)