Scheduling a Meeting with Your Representative
On Thursday morning, the National Youth Correspondents will be on Capitol Hill and will have the opportunity to meet with their community’s Congressional representative between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Please note that while we are providing time during the Conference and instructions for setting up your meeting – we will not be scheduling the appointment for you. You may choose to contact your U.S. Senator’s offices or your Congressional district representative. Congress is expected to be in regular session during our Conference dates, so we encourage you to make your appointment as soon as possible. Keep in mind that during your meeting, you are representing your school, community, and the Washington Journalism and Media Conference and are expected to do so in a courteous and respectful manner.
We strongly encourage all National Youth Correspondents to take part in this activity. Follow these steps to schedule your optional visit:
1. Find your Congressional representatives by entering your zip code here.
2. Do a little research via the web or other sources about your representatives. What issues are important to you and which are important to your representative(s) in Congress?
3. Contact your representative’s office via phone, e-mail or an online form (generally found on their official website, which should end in a “dot gov”).
You can call your representative’s Washington, D.C. office by finding their phone number on their website here. You can ask for a scheduler, as they usually set up office visits.
Call during regular business hours and follow the following script:
Hello, my name is [your name], and I am representing [your school] and [your state] as a National Youth Correspondent at the Washington Journalism and Media Conference held at George Mason University. The Conference runs from July 8 to 13, 2018 and focuses on leadership and careers in journalism. On Thursday, July 12 we have time between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. to meet with [representative’s name] or a member of their staff. Is there any time in that window available for [representative’s name] or a staff member to meet with me?
4. If you e-mail, remember to write your communication in a word document and make sure that it is proofread and spell-checked by a parent or teacher. Here is a sample letter for your use.
Dear Representative Name,
My name is Full Name and I am entering my senior (or junior) year at Name High School in Town, State. I will be visiting Washington, DC in July as a National Youth Correspondent at the Washington Journalism and Media Conference held at George Mason University.
The Conference’s schedule allows time on July [11/18], 2018 between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. for me to meet with you or a member of your staff. It would be a great privilege for me to discuss your position on journalism and leadership, your experiences, and what I can do to help better serve Home State.
Your consideration and efforts are appreciated.
[Your Home Address]
[Your Phone Number]
We suggest you give the representative’s office 7-10 days to process your request and if you don’t hear from them in that time, give them a call and ask for an update on the status of your meeting request. Continue to follow-up until you get a response.
5. Print out any confirmation details about the appointment and bring them with you to the conference. Make sure you have: senator/representative’s name, your contact’s name, Congressional office phone number and e-mail, Congressional office address with the name of the building and room number.
Again, these appointments must be scheduled AND confirmed by you, the student.
Preparing For Your Meeting: How to have a good visit with a government official
Elected and other government officials make decisions that affect our everyday lives. One of the most effective ways to learn about those decisions is to have a face-to-face meeting. Tips on having an effective meeting include:
Make an appointment well ahead of time and be punctual.
Plan your discussion. Try to have several questions prepared and be able to tell your story (who you are, where you’re from, and what you are interested in) in about 60 to 90 seconds. Explain what issue is important to you and how it affects the community you live in.
Timing: The length of your visit will vary, but assume you will have 10-20 minutes and there could be interruptions or opportunities to get a private tour of the Capitol. Be prepared for 10-20 minutes, but if the opportunity presents itself, take the tour!
Be respectful, cordial, and appreciative, regardless of views, political party, past votes, or past history.
Follow up and say “Thank You.” Send a thank you note and if you like keep them up to date on the things going on in your community. Who knows, if you keep it up, you could be the next Congressional representative from your area!