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    Returned Peace Corps
Volunteers of South Florida
Annual Outing to Everglades National Park


The Everglades Outing is RPCVSF's flagship community service event every year.  The Outing gives more than 100 kids from under privileged backgrounds the opportunity to see, learn about, and experience the amazingly unique ecosystems, plants, and animals that their home - South Florida - has to offer.  Along with an army of caring adults, the participating kids learn all about alligators, birds, wetlands, and rocklands while spending the whole day active and outside. Please help support this amazing event!




Background:  In 1999, RPCVSF decided to expand what had been primarily an outing for RPCVs and our families and began to invite small groups of children for their first introduction to Everglades National Park, with RPCV members serving as guides and educators. (Our first guest children were with our local Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization, through RPCV Josh Young.)


In the mid-2000s, RPCVSF greatly expanded the number of groups participating (guests came from Operation Greenleaves in Little Haiti, McLamore Center, Redlands Christian Migrant Association - all with RPCVs as our primary contact).  By 2009 we had grown to more than 100 guest children each year, with a focus on programs serving disadvantaged children and youth; guests join us from the Homeless Assistance Centers (now known as Chapman Partnership), Miami Rescue Mission, Touching Miami With Love - all with an RPCV contact).


Our 16th Annual Everglades Outing (Jan. 31, 2015) included approximately 110 children from homeless shelters, programs for migrant farmworker children, youth in foster care, and schools in under-resourced neighborhoods.  For most of these children it was their first visit outside of an urban environment.



The National Park Service has warmly welcomed RPCVSF's initiative, and partners with us each year by providing Park Rangers who prepare educational displays specifically for our group to experience.  We also have more than 15 volunteer Naturalist Guides, many of whom are RPCVs, and we recruit another 90 RPCVs, Peace Corps applicants, and friends to help make the day a success.  To enjoy a video of the 2013 RPCVSF Everglades outing, please click on the following link:  http://vimeo.com/59413852.


We have benefited from generous donors over the years who have enabled us to provide a special t-shirt for each guest child:  Kiwanis of Biscayne Bay, Kiwanis of Homestead, Rotary Club of Ft. Lauderdale South, and RPCV Marilyn and Chip Page.  Many donors have contributed to provide a healthy picnic lunch:  Gusto Fino Italian Market, Nickey Gregory Produce, BJs Club, Costco, Publix, and Winn-Dixie; or other supplies:  4imprint.com promotional products, Angela Berkovich, D.M.D., Duffy's Sports Grill of Deerfield Beach, Gimler Plumbing, Marriott Courtyard Miami Airport West, Francesco Vutaggio, D.M.D.   Other individual donors have helped us to provide educational and other supplies: RPCVs Charles Dawkins, John Dinger, Marvin Hancock, Barbara Junge, Joy Klein, Mary Lamberts, Frank Melograno, Kiki Mutis, Tim and Hyon O'Brien, Marilyn Page, Patty Phares, Brian Rapoza, Sally Rowley, Charles Turner, Doris Vincent.   And a long list of other individuals have contributed time and resources to make the event a success!  


In 2008, RPCVSF helped the Kiwanis of Biscayne Bay, a proud sponsor of our Outing, to launch its own Outing with an elementary school - such that even more South Florida children are introduced to the wonders of the Everglades.  In a time when school field trips are rare for most children in public school, and when homelessness among children is increasing, we are very happy to provide this educational and fun day for the children in our community.


We welcome you to join us for our annual Outing, or to lend your support.  For more information, contact us at RPCVSF@rpcvsf.org.

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