The question in 1961 at the Maiatico Building was: would anyone apply to the Peace Corps? Could the United States produce enough Americans of high quality and character to make the Peace Corps successful?
Between March 1 and June 1, 1961, after the Peace Corps preliminary policies were set, approximately 10,000 Americans filled out and mailed in Peace Corps applications. From June to December 31, 1961, Americans volunteered at the rate of 1,000 per month.
In those early months, the Peace Corps made little effort to attract Volunteers, preferring to wait until it had a clear mandate from the Congress both in terms of authorization and appropriation. That mandate came on September 22, 1961. With bipartisan national endorsement, the Peace Corps took the initiative in explaining its program and the opportunities for Peace Corps service. October and November 1961 were taken up in preparing an adequate public information and public affairs program for 1962.
The result of this planning was soon apparent. Month after month, the total number of Peace Corps applicants rose. In some weeks in 1962, almost as many people volunteered as in an entire month of 1961. In one week in March 1962, 724 people volunteered; in one week in May, 878; in one week in June, 965. By February 1962, twice the number of Volunteers had applied than in 1961.
The Peace Corps had its answer. Americans, young and old, wanted to become Peace Corps Volunteers.