Mission to Washington 2015
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
NORPAC’s Mission to Washington is an annual event where we bring close to a thousand citizen activists to Washington, DC, in order to advocate for a stronger U.S.-Israel relationship with Members of Congress. Mission attendees are bused (or can use their own transportation) to Washington in the morning, and arrive at the Washington Convention Center where they attend a brief plenary session with presentations by Congressional leadership. Afterwards, individuals converge to their assigned groups – usually of 4 to 6 people – and meet with Members of Congress and their staff to discuss this year’s talking points regarding pressing legislation on U.S.-Israeli concerns. The event wraps up the same day in the early evening, and transportation is provided to get back home.
What we advocate for:
Each year NORPAC selects different issues to present to Members of Congress related to legislation in the U.S. House and Senate. Previously we have advocated for stronger Iran sanctions, continued foreign aid, increasing military and strategic cooperation between the U.S. and Israel, and additional funding for the Iron Dome anti-missile defensive system. A talking points handout is supplied to all Mission attendees well before the event in order to bring them up to speed on the latest, most pressing issues and legislation.
Who comes on the Mission:
People of different age groups and backgrounds come on the Mission to Washington. Many students, professionals, members of the clergy, and retirees join us each year. NORPAC welcomes students from Eighth Grade and up, accompanied by a legal guardian if under 18. We are not lobbyists! We often have people attend the Mission who have never advocated for Israel to a government official before. It is a unique experience for people of all ages, and is educational and inspirational for everyone involved.
Why wait? Join us on this year’s Mission to Washington and help us make a difference!
After you’ve registered, here are some important links to help you prepare:
(Please note that these links may be updated periodically, so please check back in soon!)
Latest Talking Points
Coming in 2015.
Questions about the NORPAC Mission
Q: Is there an age requirement to attend the Mission?
A: Yes. You must be in eighth grade and up to attend. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian. Teachers, aunts and uncles, and friends’ parents do not make a student eligible unless they are the legal guardian of the student.
Q: Will I be the only student on the trip?
A: Not a chance! Last year, over 200 students of all ages joined us.
Q: How will I get to DC?
A: Most participants take one of the buses NORPAC provides from various locations in the Northeast. If you are unable to come by bus and want to make your own travel arrangements, let us know during your registration.
Q: Is there a discount for people who do not take a NORPAC bus?
A: Sorry, no. NORPAC would actually prefer for you to take a NORPAC chartered bus because much of the education takes place there and it helps groups plan for their DC meetings. We understand that taking the bus may not be possible for everyone, but since the buses are a fixed cost and the Mission fee is already subsidized by NORPAC, we cannot give further discounts except in cases of real financial hardship. Please email email@example.com in such instances, well in advance of the registration deadline.
Q: If I cannot attend, can I donate my registration to someone else?
A: If you find you are unable to attend and would like to encourage someone else to attend in your place, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and number and the full name, address, cell phone, and email of the person you would like to attend in your place. If the cost of your registration was less than the new registrant’s fee would be, the new attendee must make up the difference in price (unless you donate the difference for them). Please contact NORPAC as soon as possible if you will not be able to attend, even if you are not donating your registration fee to someone else.
Q: How can I request a refund?
A: Due to financial commitments, refund requests must be received in writing at Avi@norpac.net by April 14, 2015, and will be processed as soon as possible. We reserve the right to wait until after the Mission before issuing a refund.
Q: How will I know if I’ve successfully registered?
A: If you register by mail, fax, or phone, it may take approximately 2 weeks before you receive an email confirmation. If you register successfully online, you should receive confirmation almost immediately. In either case, please check your spam or junk mail to make sure your confirmation did not get sent there (if it did, let us know). If you still have not received a confirmation, please check with us by emailing Avi@norpac.net with your full name, address, and daytime and nighttime phone numbers. Thank you for your patience.
Q: Can I choose which issues to discuss?
A: NORPAC is a group of diverse, politically-involved individuals who are concerned about the safety and security of America and Israel in an age of international terrorism, energy crises, and missile and nuclear proliferation threats.
Each year, NORPAC’s Mission Committee spends a great deal of time vetting the items on the Mission agenda. It is expected that Mission participants stick only to these issues and convey NORPAC’s position. Bickering about how best to support Israel while in a Congressional office, or bringing up issues of your own agenda outside of those chosen for the NORPAC Mission, are strictly forbidden. We have only minutes to make a strong and consistent presentation across hundreds of Congressional offices.
That said, since there will be several interesting and important consensus issues to discuss, you and your Mission group will have flexibility in choosing who will present each issue to the Members of Congress and their staff.
Q: What should I wear? What should I bring?
A: The entire day will be conducted in a professional manner. Conservative business attire, briefcases, and the like are appropriate. DO take along a collapsible umbrella and/or raincoat in the event of rain, since there will be a substantial amount of outside walking. For the same reason, you might want to bring money for taxis in case the walking becomes difficult for you. The less other material you bring, the better to quickly go through security and the less you’ll need to carry on a long day. There will already be plenty to do without needing to bring another book with you, for instance.
Q: Can I choose my group, bus location, and choices for Congressional offices?
A: If you give us your preferences of group members in advance we will try to accommodate but we CANNOT promise we will be able to satisfy all requests. We must coordinate hundreds of participants, be flexible to meet the needs of Members of Congress, make changes based on cancellations as well as new participants, take into account group dynamics, seating limitations, minors with their legal guardians, etc.
We appreciate your flexibility for this exciting day.
Q: How should I prepare for my meetings with Congressional offices?
A: NORPAC will provide training, and information on the website and by email. We will also have several hours on the NORPAC buses to Washington to review the material – but we highly recommend you start your review well before Mission day – especially if you’re making your own travel arrangements.