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the tradition of service

Elizabeth Skurdahl, Development Coordinator, reflects on the history of JVC Northwest in light of the beginning of the 2012-2013 service year.


Well, it’s that time of year again! The beginning of August marks the close of one service year and the beginning of another. On August 6th, 142 men and women from across the country will gather at Camp Adams in Molalla, Oregon for their orientation and inauguration as Jesuit Volunteers. Here at the JVC Northwest office, the excitement is palpable as the staff prepares to welcome this new group of individuals dedicated to community, spirituality, simple living, and social and ecological justice.

Amidst the flurry of tackling last minute details and finalizing plans for the beginning of a new service year, what strikes me most is the rich tradition and history upon which this year is founded. JVC Northwest began in 1956, when a group of dedicated individuals built and began teaching at the Copper Valley School in Alaska. Their generosity of spirit and commitment to those they served became the cornerstone of JVC Northwest’s mission and work.

Five of the original Jesuit Volunteers in Copper Valley, AK (1956)

Things have changed since then. Over 56 years, JVC Northwest has grown out of Copper Valley to serving over 120,000 individuals in 21 different locales throughout Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, and Alaska. The small group of original volunteers has grown to a network of over 6,000 FJVs from the Northwest, united by their spirit of service and the common experience of being “ruined for life.” And I’m sure Orientation today looks far different from what it did even just 20 years ago, let alone 56! Despite these changes, the core mission – to serve the marginalized and stand in solidarity with the vulnerable – remains the same.

2011-12 JV Darryl Yip serving at the James John SUN school in Portland, OR

The JVs that will gather at Camp Adams next week, then, are a part of the incredible legacy of the volunteers that came before them.  Following in the footsteps of the original founders, they are dedicating a year in the service of those who so often go overlooked in our society.

As we welcome these new JVs, we remember the history that precedes them. The tradition of service continues!

’11-12 JVs Chris Freeburg, Janna Lam, Katie Kurtz, and Angela Bagnasco at Camp Adams

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Upcoming Virtual Events

"JVC Northwest 101: Service and Community"

Thursday, April 7 | 7:00pm ET / 4:00pm PT
Learn about all that makes a year of service with JVC Northwest unique. We’ll talk about the opportunities available, what intentional community looks like, and dive into our values of social and ecological justice, simple living, and spirituality/reflection. There will also be plenty of time for Q+A. Register here. 

"How to Make Your Application Stand Out"

Wednesday, April 20 | 7:00pm ET / 4:00pm PT
Learn how you can position yourself to be a strong candidate for service with JVC Northwest. With one week left before the April 26 priority deadline, this will also be the perfect time to get a handle on each step of the application, interview, matching, and placement process. Register here. 

Where Are the JVC Northwest Recruiters Going Next?

Check out our upcoming recruitment events below. Don’t see your school or town on the list? Reach out to us at recruiter@jvcnorthwest.org to let us know you’d like us to pay your town a visit! 

Notre Dame | Info Session: Discerning Post Graduate Service | 6:30 PM | COffee House in Geddes Hall

Marquette | Info session (1-2) office hours (2-4) | Career Services Center – Seminar Room