I’ve never been to Head to the Hill. What should I expect?
Welcome! We’re so glad you’re considering joining us for this inspiring event. As we’ve said before, no prior experience is needed to take part in Head to the Hill. To get you acclimated, we will be holding a training session on Monday (May 8) to give you all of the tools you’ll need to be an effective advocate during your meetings on Tuesday (May 9). We will also give you time to practice what you learn and meet up with other advocates from your state to coordinate a plan for your meetings. Many returning advocates are multi-year veterans of Head to the Hill and are always happy to answer questions and help first-timers out.
In addition, we will offer a pre-event web training, which will take place on Thursday, April 20 at 12:00 pm Eastern Time, and will aim to address many of your questions prior to arriving in DC.
Of course, you already have the most important tools for being a successful brain tumor advocate: your story and your voice. Although we will provide you with the information to make you comfortable and informed on specific legislation, your story is what will have the greatest impact on elected officials.
Finally, if you have any specific questions or concerns about attending Head to the Hill not answered on this site, please contact Kacey Troy at email@example.com or 520.762.4544.
Click here to read about last year’s Head to the Hill event.
What is the schedule of events?
You should plan to arrive in Washington, DC for breakfast on Monday, May 8, so you can settle in and be prepared to begin our training in the morning. Immediately following our training, we’re pleased to once again partner with the CERN (Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network) Foundation for their annual Ependymoma Awareness Day and Butterfly Release ceremony. Last year, our advocates found this to be an inspirational event for all members of the brain tumor community. Following the ceremony, the National Brain Tumor Society will host a reception including appetizers and beverages. Dinner is on your own.
You will want to make sure to get plenty of rest Monday night, as Tuesday is a busy day that starts early! If you are departing DC directly after your meetings, you’ll need to be out of your hotel room, checked out, and ready with your luggage to meet up with the rest of the group prior to breakfast on Tuesday.
On Tuesday morning, we’ll join together again for an early breakfast and a quick send-off before boarding buses for the Capitol. We have arranged for a Head to the Hill headquarters close to the Capitol so that you have a spot to rest and/or have a snack between meetings, as well as a place to securely store your luggage or any other personal belongings you don’t want to carry to your meetings.
Please note that meetings may be scheduled throughout the afternoon until as late as 5:30 PM, and you won’t know your meeting schedule until after you have made your travel arrangements. Therefore, assume that you will have a late afternoon meeting when scheduling your departing flight or ground transportation.
If you have a Tuesday evening flight, you will likely want to head straight to the airport after your last meeting. Depending on where you leave your luggage during the day, you may have to stop at the hotel or the Head to the Hill headquarters on the way to the airport to pick up your luggage. Once you know how much time you have you can decide whether to take a cab, car service, or ride-hailing app (e.g. Uber or Lyft) to the airport or some other mode of transportation (METRO to DCA or MARC Train from Union Station to BWI).
If you are interested in joining other members of the brain tumor community in DC prior to the start of Head to the Hill, you could also participate in Race for Hope – DC, which takes place on Sunday, May 7. Head to the Hill participants have formed a team, and welcome you to join them! Click here to find out more information on Race for Hope – DC.
Is there a fee to register?
No, there is currently no fee to register. If you would like to make a donation in lieu of a registration fee to help offset the costs of Head to the Hill, please follow this link. Please consider that the National Brain Tumor Society incurs a significant cost for those who cancel close to the event, or who do not show up. Therefore, please only register if you intend to participate in the event. If you must cancel your registration, please do so by Monday, May 1 by contacting Kacey Troy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 520.762.4544.
I am interested in attending Head to the Hill but don’t know yet if I can. Should I still register?
Space is limited, so we strongly encourage you to do everything you can to make a decision quickly. However, the National Brain Tumor Society incurs a significant cost for those who cancel close to the event, or who do not show up. So we do ask that you consider waiting to register until you are sure you can commit to attend Head to the Hill on May 8 & 9.
Is it OK to use my office or PO Box address to register for the event?
No. We use your address to find which congressional district you live in to schedule the correct meetings for you, so it is very important that you use your home address when you register.
My family member and/or friend is planning on accompanying me to Head to the Hill. Do they need to register?
Yes. Everyone who is planning on attending Head to the Hill must register SEPARATELY. Not only is it critical for scheduling meetings during our lobby day, but we also need an accurate headcount for catering and seating arrangements on training day.
May someone who is not registered for the event accompany me?
Due to space constraints, we are unable to accommodate anyone who is not pre-registered. Please contact Kacey Troy at email@example.com or 520.762.4544 to check on the registration status of an individual who may be accompanying you.
I would like to take part in Race for Hope DC. Do I need to register separately?
Yes. Race for Hope – DC, on Sunday, May 7, is an inspiring event and a great way to get motivated before our Hill visits — but you will need to register separately. Please click here for more information on Race for Hope – DC.
Will I receive any pre-event materials?
Upon receipt of your registration, you will receive a confirmation email that outlines information on traveling to and from Washington, DC, as well as information on the event hotel. In addition, we will offer a pre-event web training, which will take place on Thursday, April 20 at 12:00 pm Eastern Time, and will aim to address all of your questions prior to arriving in DC.
We will also send you an agenda along with any necessary last minute information immediately prior to the event. Finally, when checking in at Head to the Hill, you will receive a participant packet that includes all the materials you will need for the event.
I know that I can’t attend the event in person but would still like to participate in some way. How can I be involved?
Look for announcements in April about other ways to get involved for those unable to travel to DC in May.
When is the registration deadline?
Registration for Head to the Hill 2017 will close on April 7. Register now to ensure you can join us on May 8 & 9!
For information about traveling to and from Washington, DC, as well as hotel information, please visit our Travel and Hotel Information page.
Will I meet with my members of Congress by myself?
No. Head to the Hill participants will be coming from all across the country. National Brain Tumor Society will arrange all of the appointments for you based on your home address. You will be grouped with other people from your city, state, or region, and, at times, may also be accompanied by National Brain Tumor Society staff or volunteers. Please note that it is very important that you do not set up your own appointments! If you have special contacts with members of Congress or their staff, please contact our Advocacy and Public Policy team right away (Kacey Troy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 520.762.4544).
Who will I meet with and what will the meetings be like?
We will make every effort to secure appointments for you to meet with your two U.S. Senators, as well as your U.S. Representative. If a Senator or Representative is not available, the meeting will be scheduled with a member of their staff. Please note that staff meetings are just as important as meetings with the actual Senator or Representative! Staff members are key advisors to the lawmaker and often are deciding factors in what gets passed on to your member of Congress. They will fight (or not fight) for our cause. They are – in many cases – more important than the elected official, because they will be the ones who research the details of our issues and push for follow-up from the elected official. These staff members meet regularly with advocates, so this is where your story can make the difference between just another meeting, and a meeting that results in action and support from your member of Congress.
May I set up my own appointments with members of Congress?
No. We ask that participants not contact any congressional offices directly to schedule appointments. If you set up an appointment for yourself, you could prevent others who are constituents from getting an appointment and/or create complications with other meetings that we are scheduling for you. If you have special connections with individual members of Congress or their staff, please let us know as soon as possible, so that we may take that into account as we are scheduling. Please contact Kacey Troy at email@example.com or 520.762.4544 with any concerns or questions.
Will I be able to go on congressional visits with my friends or family from other parts of the country?
We think that it is wonderful that our advocates bring their family members and friends with them to Head to the Hill! Inviting people from different parts of the country helps us with our goal of bringing our message to as many members of Congress as possible. You, your family members, and friends will have opportunities to spend time together; however, it may not be possible to pair you together for the actual visits, as we need all participants to attend the meetings with their own congressional delegation. Please feel free to contact Kacey Troy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 520.762.4544 if you have questions or concerns.
Will I receive training on the topics we’ll be discussing at our Congressional meetings?
Yes, we will make sure you have all of the tools you need to be an effective advocate, including education on the policy matters we’ll be discussing.
We will be advocating with our members on various issues affecting the brain tumor community. Once you arrive in D.C., we will dedicate a portion of our training on Monday, May 8 to reviewing the relevant legislation and public policy topics to make sure you are comfortable speaking about them during your meetings on Tuesday. However, you should become familiar with these issues in the weeks leading up to Head to the Hill, and we will be offering a webinar prior to Head to the Hill to get you primed for the event.
Also, please make sure to visit the Legislative Agenda page to learn more about the topics we’ll be discussing.
What is the attire for Head to the Hill?
Attire for the Monday (May 8) training session is casual. We encourage you to bring layers as the temperature in the hotel can vary. We will be providing participants with an event t-shirt that you can wear on Tuesday (May 9), if you would like. You can pair the t-shirt with business casual attire, but ask that you don’t wear shorts or jeans. Please also plan to wear comfortable shoes, as there is a fair amount of walking involved.
Weather in Washington, D.C., in May can vary between 50° F – 80° F, so we encourage you to bring a light coat or sweater and an umbrella. Note that you will have to go through security screenings to get into the congressional office buildings. We strongly encourage you to limit the amount of metal that you wear on Tuesday and to wear shoes that you can easily get on and off, if requested by security. Also, please keep in mind that you may need a photo ID for some meetings.
Are meals included?
We will host breakfast, lunch, and an evening reception on Monday (May 8) including light appetizers. Dinner on Monday is not included, and we hope participants will use the time to get to know the others in their meeting group and enjoy one of the great local restaurants. Breakfast will be provided on Tuesday (May 9) morning, and we will have snacks and water available throughout the day at our Capitol meeting location.
Lunch on Tuesday is not included, as everyone’s schedule will vary greatly. Both the House and Senate have cafeterias. However, they can get very busy. Be prepared that if you are there at a very busy time, you may end up standing to eat or sitting in the hall. There are also some small restaurants nearby as well as outdoor vendors, depending on the weather.
Do I need to participate in the whole training session on Monday, May 8?
We strongly encourage you to attend the full training session on May 8. For first time participants, there will be a start time of 8 AM to introduce you to other advocates and provide you with all of the information you’ll need to feel comfortable. If you’ve attended Head to the Hill in the past, our full group training will begin at 10 AM. We will cover critical topics such as new information that you can use in your meetings and what we will be asking Congress to do. Please note the messages that we will be delivering can differ year-to-year.
The training will also include time for you to meet the others from your state who you will be advocating with and to strategize about who will say what during your meetings. Need another reason to attend the full training? Your meeting schedules will be distributed during the training on Monday.
Where can I keep my luggage during Head to the Hill?
This will depend largely on your preference, as well as your departing flight time. We have secured a meeting location on Capitol Hill that can accommodate luggage. If you like, you may bring your luggage with you on Tuesday morning and depart for the airport directly from Capitol Hill. If you will have additional time on Tuesday evening and would like to head back to the hotel before going to the airport, simply ask the hotel to store your luggage for the day on Tuesday.
Who else will be attending Head To The Hill, and how can I connect with them ahead of the event?
We are creating a Facebook Event for Head To The Hill. This is where attendees can connect, ask questions about the event, and meet each other ahead of May 2. Please join the Facebook Event and connect!
I love to use social media. How can I connect with event information, and others attending Head To The Hill, through social media?
There are a number of ways that we’d love to help you connect using social media! Participate in the event conversation on Facebook by joining the official Head to the Hill Facebook Event. Follow the National Brain Tumor Society on Twitter for updates and conversation right before Head To The Hill, and all day May 8 – 9. To participate in the social media conversation, be sure to use the hashtag #Head2Hill when tweeting and posting to Instagram.
I have mobility impairments or need the assistance of a scooter or wheelchair to travel longer distances. Will I be provided with mobility assistance and is Capitol Hill accessible?
Our goal at the National Brain Tumor Society is to make sure all of our advocates can fully participate in Head to the Hill. We will provide scooters or wheelchairs to those who require them, as well as accessible transportation for travel to and from Capitol Hill. However, it is very helpful if you communicate your requirements prior to arriving at the event to Kacey Troy at email@example.com or 520.762.4544. Please let her know if you prefer the use of a motorized scooter, or a standard wheelchair.
Capitol Hill, as a Federal building, is accessible to all individuals with disabilities. However, not all entrances are accessible. Please follow this link to a map of all accessible entrances and pathways on Capitol Hill.
What else do I need to know?
- Being on time to your meetings is very important. Your meetings are scheduled to give you enough time to get from one meeting to the next.
- Anticipate going through security when entering buildings.
- Minimize what you are carrying: pins, necklaces, earrings, keys – anything that will set off a metal detector.
- The Office Buildings for the House and Senate members are separated into 6 different buildings – three for the House and three for the Senate – each on the opposite ends of the Capitol.
- The House buildings connect to each other and the Senate buildings connect, so when you are going to meetings with Representatives, you can stay inside the buildings. The same is true if your Senate meetings are back to back; you can get to the different Senate buildings without going outside. You will need to leave the buildings when going from the House to the Senate side and vise-versa – which you can do by walking or taking a cab.
- Cabs are always waiting outside of all of the buildings and the cost from the House to the Senate side, or vice-versa, should be no more than $10, including tip. Advocates are almost always traveling in groups and most usually take turns paying for these cabs. But most simply decide to make the reasonable walk.
I’ve read all of the answers, but I’m still nervous, as I have never been an advocate before. Anything you can tell me?
It’s okay to be nervous! Many of us were the first time we did this, too. But what you’re doing is so important, that we know you can put aside the nerves to take action, and will feel great after you do!
Be assured that we will give you all of the tools you need to walk into your meetings feeling confident. This year, we’ve added a new section of our training just for new participants, to make sure you feel as comfortable and prepared as possible throughout the event.
Also, you will be surrounded by other brain tumor advocates, as well as National Brain Tumor Society staff, who will be with you and supporting you. You can always ask your questions and connect with others who will be attending Head to the Hill through our Facebook Event. Many have attended before, and would be happy to answer any questions that you may have ahead of May 8.
If you want to talk about the experience some more to replace anxiety with energy and excitement, feel free to reach out to Kacey Troy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 520.762.4544.
Other questions? If you have any questions about Head to the Hill 2017, please contact Kacey Troy at email@example.com or 520.762.4544.
*Check back soon as we will post more answers to frequently asked questions as we receive them.*