Phoenix-area Servas Celebrates a First Gathering
Submitted by Jeanne Devine
The first get-together of Phoenix-area Servas members was a great success! Ten enthusiastic Servas members attended, shared their Servas stories including personal memories of Servas founder, Bob Luitweiler. In attendance were Cheryl Cordes, Jeanne Devine, Susan Elliot (soon to be a Servas member), Martha and Phil Koffman, Aleyne Larner, Deb and Rachel Misra, and Andrea and Richard Newhauser. Jeanne shared news from several members who were unable to attend but want to be included in future events.
After watching a short video, discussion moved to the importance of Servas as an NGO at the United Nations. We decided to celebrate International Day of Peace on September 21 at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix. Details will be decided at a future meeting in August.
The group discussed various ideas about increasing the host membership as well as making Phoenix area attractive to Servas travelers. The group accepted the offer of one member to be the “College Outreach Contact”. We want to increase awareness of the SYLE program and promote greater participation of youth especially as travelers.
The lack of a local Area Representative or Interviewer in the Phoenix area was seen as a challenge to growing the membership. Three persons took applications to become interviewers and will start the process with the U.S. Servas office. We believe that having local interviewers and celebrating an International Peace Day will create more awareness of Servas in the Phoenix area and lead to increased Servas membership.
Everyone expressed joy in having the opportunity to meet others living in this area and in forming a cohesive local group. The camaraderie was great – what a congenial group of people with similar but unique experiences! Phoenix-area Servas will grow from a small committed core and continue to meet on a bi-monthly basis. We all love Servas!