The Peace Corps was created in 1961 as a call to service for America's youth. But in recent years, the percentage of Peace Corps volunteers over the age of 50 has ballooned to 6 percent of the nearly 8,000 total volunteers worldwide [source: Gilgoff].
Many baby boomers were in college when President John F. Kennedy announced the creation of the Peace Corps. Boomers are an adventurous generation that feels a deep commitment to social justice. Many chose not to join the Peace Corps when they were younger, but never forgot the allure of the program. Mary Ann Camp was a pediatric nurse for 35 years, for instance, but always knew that she wanted to join the Peace Corps some day. At 60, she traveled to Malawi to work in AIDS education for youth [source: Peace Corps].
Peace Corps recruiters appreciate the life experience that boomers bring to the table, and so do the communities in which older volunteers work. Many of these cultures have a deep respect for older people and are more likely to listen to a grey-haired American than a wide-eyed youngster. Older Peace Corps volunteers also serve as mentors and role models for their younger colleagues in the field. It might be 50 years later, but it's never too late to answer President Kennedy's call.