Capitol Hill Day
In Schedules and Highlights

Wednesday, April 9
9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

There are 76 million youth in America. Many of them are making real-world change to some of today’s toughest challenges. When given the opportunity, they are true leaders in their schools and communities. At NYLC, we see 76 million youth as 76 million solutions. We want policy makers to see youth as solutions; to hear about the positive outcomes as well as the challenges youth are facing; and to see that when youth have a seat at the table, they are engaged community members who are ready to lead meaningful change.

To that end, NYLC is providing a unique opportunity for adults and students to advocate for youth as solutions by meeting with legislators on Capitol Hill and educating members of Congress about the critical role of youth as solutions and as contributors in communities across the country. NYLC will host a Capitol Hill Day to give policy-makers the opportunity to engage in real conversation with the next generation of voters and hear what their constituents and youth from around the globe are accomplishing in their local communities. The goal of the event is to have hundreds of youth advocates speaking with one powerful voice on Capitol Hill.

Capitol Hill Day participants will receive support in securing meetings with Congressional offices, as well as materials and the opportunity to make a real difference in the halls of Congress.

Capitol Hill Day is free with conference registration. Space is limited.

*NYLC’s Capitol Hill Day openings are currently FULL. Please contact registration@nylc.org to be added to a wait list.


Below you will find a lot of information to ensure a successful Hill Day on April 9, 2014.  However, there is always more to learn, so we have provided links to additional information and resources if you want to delve deeper.

» Purpose of Capitol Hill Day
» Capitol Hill Day Preparation and What to Bring from Home
» The Specific “Ask”
» Being a Resource
» What to Expect when Visiting Capitol Hill, Congressional Offices
» After Your Visit
» Additional Resources, Background, History on Service-Learning and Civic Learning
» Background and Additional Information on the Legislative Asks

Purpose of Capitol Hill Day
Meaning and connection to NYLC and the National Service-Learning Conference
The First Amendment to the Constitu1tion, as included in the Bill of Rights, guarantees free speech.  It also guarantees the right of citizens to, “petition the government for a redress of grievances.”  This is a very important part of the civic process because it allows people the right to join together and seek change from the government.

For the past 25 years, NYLC has convened the National Service-Learning Conference, and for the first time in its history, it will be held in Washington D.C. in 2014.  Not only does this allow for greater visibility of what young people across the world are doing to Serve. Learn. Change the world®, it also means that we are able to offer a MONUMENTAL Capitol Hill Day experience on Wednesday, April 9 to the first 250 conference attendees who registered. 

Our goal is to educate Members of Congress and their staff about the need for young people themselves to be taken seriously – as true stakeholders in our schools and communities. A MONUMENTAL Capitol Hill Day provides an opportunity for youth and adults to share how they are addressing real challenges while also achieving success in school through service-learning, and importantly, to give lawmakers a chance to engage in real conversation with the next generation of voters who are already actively contributing as citizens in service to others, today.

By the way, what is Capitol Hill?
This is a term used to both describe a geographic area of Washington D.C.– the largest historic residential neighborhood in the city - that actually is on a hill, as well as a catch-all phrase for where the United States Capitol, Senate and House Office Buildings, Supreme Court, and Library of Congress all stand.  So, it is often used as short-hand reference for where Congress does its work, and where constituents and interested groups come for meetings, visits, and hearings, etc.

Capitol Hill Day Preparation and What to Bring from Home

The Specific “Ask”
While it is a great experience to simply meet and visit with elected officials while you are in Washington, D.C., it is wise to not waste your time or theirs, by simply having a nice chat.  There is an expectation that if you are meeting with a Congressional office, you are there to share specific knowledge you have that can be an asset to the Member, and/or to ask for their help or support in a respectful way, on an issue or bill that they can actually affect.  In other words, while Members of Congress do have a lot of influence and know many people, it is best to focus any requests on federal issues, as opposed to local issues, or challenges that are outside of the federal government.

» Download the one-page “ask” for your Congressional visit to read more about serving as a resource, legislative asks, and increasing the visibility of young people making an impact.

Being a Resource
The first ask is to allow you to become a resource for your Members of Congress and their staff.  It might surprise you to know that not every Member of Congress has young people who serve on an advisory council or who are available to answer questions or give perspective on issues.  In fact, not every Member may want or feel they need that kind of support.  However, after succinctly sharing your story about who you are and what you’re doing to effect change at home, we want you to offer to be a resource to them. 

We have created a one-page Service-Learning Showcase template that will help you describe your project or initiative in a way that makes it succinct, focused on impact, and easy for the Member of Congress and staff to understand.  This is often called a “leave-behind” or “one-pager” but is essentially a summary of what you’re requesting during your visit.

» Download the Service-Learning Showcase template
» View a sample of the Service-Learning Showcase leave-behind

You may also be surprised at how many people visit Capitol Hill every day only ask for help and never think to offer their insight and networks to help.  Even if they don’t take you up on it, by being prepared and professional, and offering to be a resource for youth input on issues, 1it’s a great way to make sure that offices take you seriously and know that you want to build a positive relationship with them. 

What to Expect when Visiting Capitol Hill, Congressional Offices

After Your Visit

Additional Resources, Background, History on Service-Learning and Civic Learning
» Read more about the background on service-learning
» Read more about Learn and Serve America’s 15th Anniversary

Background and Additional Information on the Legislative Asks
» Read more about the background of the legislative asks

Hill Day Information Packet



Inspiring Confidence for Capitol Hill Day

Download the Webinar Slides