In this 1961 photo, President John F. Kennedy and Sargent Shriver address the first group of Peace Corps volunteers in the White House Rose Garden.
In this 1961 photo, President John F. Kennedy and Sargent Shriver address the first group of Peace Corps volunteers in the White House Rose Garden.
Camden Public Library will host a local celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps on Tuesday, March 1, at 6:30 p.m. Peace Corps returnees from around the world, now living in the midcoast area, will gather to present a brief slide show and share their experiences. Greg Dorr, Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi, is organizing the event. March 1 marks the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's signing of the executive order that created the Peace Corps in 1961.

Local Peace Corps alumni who are planning on attending the celebration include Kathy Brandes, Liberia (1963-65); Elizabeth Hickey, Kenya (1986-88); Phil Gerard and Sherry Frazer, Lesotho (1987-90); Ray and June Pokoski, Paraguay (1994-96); and Greg and Susan Dorr, Malawi (2006-08). The regional Peace Corps recruiter will also be on hand to answer questions.

Today's Peace Corps has 8,655 volunteers in 71 posts serving 77 countries. Volunteers continue to work on bringing clean water to communities and teaching children, but today's volunteers also work on HIV/AIDS awareness, information technology, and business development.

Since Ghana received the first Peace Corps volunteers in 1961, more than 60,000 Americans have served in 46 African countries; 48,250 have served in Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia; and more than 73,000 have served in the Inter-America and Pacific (IAP) region.