The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
8 E 41st Street, 8th Floor
New York New York 10017
800-221-4602
[email protected] 

Buddy Walk® on Washington FAQs

Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about the 2018 Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington and 2018 NDSS Adult Summit.

WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT DEADLINES?

  • The registration deadline for the 2018 Buddy Walk® on Washington and 2018 NDSS Adult Summit is Tuesday, April 3, 2018.
  • The deadline for getting the group rate at the overflow hotel is 5:00 PM Eastern Time on Monday, March 19, 2018. See this webpage for hotel information

IS THERE AN ACTUAL WALK INVOLVED? IF NOT, WHY IS IT CALLED A BUDDY WALK® ON WASHINGTON?

  • The 2018 Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington Advocacy Conference is a two-day conference that involves a day of advocacy training and networking followed by a day of visits with Members of Congress and/or their staff on Capitol Hill.
  • o   This event does not include a walk or festival-like activities that may occur at your local Buddy Walk®.

  • The 2018 Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington Advocacy Conference was given its name to maintain the message of the National Buddy Walk® Program - to raise awareness and inclusion for people with Down syndrome.
  • The funds raised by the National Buddy Walk® Program directly support the annual 2018 Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington Advocacy Conference and the work that NDSS does in Washington, DC. 

What is the 2018 NDSS Adult Summit?

  • Our 2018 NDSS Down Syndrome Adult Summit is a conference hosted by NDSS and its Self-Advocate Advisory Board (SAAB) in collaboration with the National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices (the “NTG”) and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) to discuss important and critical topics for all adults with Down syndrome.
  • Speakers and topics will align with NDSS’ robust and comprehensive programs and pillars, including healthcare and research, inclusive education, community integration, economic self-sufficiency as well as employment and our NDSS #DSWORKS® Campaign. 
  • Aging-related changes and health issues, including Alzheimer’s disease, will also be covered.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO ATTEND THE NDSS employment conference and the BUDDY WALK® ON WASHINGTON?  

  • Yes and we encourage you to attend both!
  • The NDSS 2018 Adult Summit in will be held in collaboration with the NTG and NAC, on Monday and Tuesday, April 9 and 10, 2018 at the Westin Arlington Gateway hotel
  • The 2018 Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington Advocacy Conference will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 10 and 11, 2018, at the Westin Arlington Gateway and on Capitol Hill.

WILL THERE BE HELP WITH ARRANGING MEETINGS ON CAPITOL HILL? 

  • Yes! NDSS works with Soapbox Consulting to schedule meetings with Members of Congress for all those who attend the 2018 Annual 2018 Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington Advocacy Conference.
  • To enable Soapbox to arrange meetings with your Members of Congress, you must provide your home address when you register. Soapbox will send you your customized meeting schedule in the afternoon on Friday, March 30, 2018.
  • Participants will attend meetings with others from their legislative districts or states.
  • Meetings will be scheduled between 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM on April 11. 
  • We encourage participants to schedule their flights as late as possible in the day on April 11 to allow time for possible late afternoon meetings.

Will there be a training on how to best approach and meet with elected officials?

  • Everyone that registers to attend the 2018 Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington Advocacy Conference will receive additional information and resources (including a webinar presentation to attend in March 2018) that will prepare you to attend meetings and fully experience Capitol Hill.
  • The first day of the conference will consist of advocacy training. Our self-advocates will then head to Capitol Hill on the second day to meet with Members of Congress and their staff to discuss legislative issues that will advance education, research and health care opportunities for people with Down syndrome. 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO ATTEND? ARE THERE SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE?

  • The cost for the 2018 Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington Advocacy Conference on April 10-11 is $50 per person. All are welcome to attend. Children age 5 and under are free.
  • 2018 Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington Advocacy Conference:  Pre-purchase your bus ticket to Capitol Hill from the Westin Arlington Hotel on April 11. Cost is $10 per person.
  • The cost for the 2018 Down Syndrome Adult Summit on April 9-10 is $50 per person. Adults ages 18 and up are welcome to attend.
  • Register for both the 2018 Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington Advocacy Conference and 2018 Adult Summit and receive a $20 discount upon checkout!
  • If cost is prohibitive, please contact [email protected] for information about scholarships.

With purchase of a ticket to the 2018 Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington Advocacy Conference Advocacy Conference, you will receive:

  • Training via webinar before the 2018 Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington Advocacy Conference.
  • State and federal advocacy training on April 10.
  • Written materials to prepare for the meetings on Capitol Hill and materials to leave with Members of Congress.
  • Lunch, snacks and admission to evening dessert reception and dance on April 10.
  • Continental breakfast at Westin Arlington Gateway and awards luncheon on Capitol Hill on April 11.
  • Beyond this, you will need to factor in travel costs, additional meals and hotel accommodations. (See this webpage for hotel information.)

WHO SHOULD ATTEND THIS CONFERENCE? DO I NEED TO HAVE ADVOCACY EXPERIENCE? SHOULD I BRING MY CHILDREN?

  •  If you are interested in advocating for people with Down syndrome, you are encouraged to attend!

o   Whether you are new to advocacy and aren't sure who your elected representatives are or you are a seasoned advocate

  • The 2018 Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington and Advocacy Conference is educational, informative and empowering. 
  • If your children have the stamina and patience for meetings on Capitol Hill, they are generally warmly received by Members of Congress and their staff.

o   Some families do bring their children, but many advocates opt to attend without them.

  • PLEASE NOTE: NDSS is unable to provide child care. 

SHOULD SELF-ADVOCATES ATTEND?

  •  Yes! Self-advocates (individuals with Down syndrome) are highly encouraged to participate in the 2018 Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington Advocacy Conference and the 2018 Adult Summit!
  • It is wonderful for Members of Congress and their staff to have the opportunity to interact directly with self-advocates and their families, and it is empowering for self-advocates to directly participate in the process of urging policy change to improve their lives.
  •  Self-advocates will be briefed on the legislative issues and are invited to participate in all webinars and training sessions.
  • On the first day of the conference, self-advocates who are age 16 and older are invited to join the NDSS Self-Advocate Advisory Board (SAAB) for the Self-Advocates Speak Out Lunch and Panel Discussion.
  • The Self-Advocate Advisory Board will share their expertise as seasoned self-advocates in this presentation for self-advocates, by self-advocates. This event is for self-advocates only. For more information about the luncheon, please contact Colleen Hatcher at [email protected].
  • Each self-advocate who attends the 2018 Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington Advocacy Conference should prepare a brief one-page bio to be left at all your congressional visits, so bring at least five copies.
  •  Bios should include a photo, contact information, a few sentences about yourself (where you work, go to school, interests), why you have come to the Buddy Walk® on Washington, how current legislation will impact you and your family and request for Members of Congress to co-sponsor this legislation. Here are three sample bios:

o   Sample from Sara Wolff

o   Sample from Kayla McKeon

WHAT IS THE DRESS CODE FOR THE BUDDY WALK® ON WASHINGTON?

  • Casual to business casual is appropriate during the first day of the 2018 Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington Advocacy Conference.
  • This event involves advocacy training and the evening social at the Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel.
  • Some people may choose to dress up for the evening social.
  • Professional attire is strongly recommended for meetings on Capitol Hill on the second day of the conference.
  • You will do a lot of walking on Capitol Hill so please bring comfortable shoes! 

HOW WILL I GET FROM THE HOTEL TO CAPITOL HILL ON APRIL 11?

  • The Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel is in Arlington, Virginia.
  • The $10 ticket fee is nonrefundable.
  • There will be two buses departing the hotel at approximately 7:00 AM and arriving in time for a photograph on the steps of the US House of Representatives at 8:00 AM.
  • The bus will drop off at Garfield Circle on the west side of the US Capitol Building and it is a 5-10 minute walk uphill to the east side of the US House of Representatives where the group photo will be taken. Bus seats are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The bus will take participants one way to the US Capitol Building, and participants will need to arrange their own transportation back to the hotel or elsewhere after their meetings on Capitol Hill.    
  • Alternatively, participants may take a taxi/Uber/Lyft to Capitol Hill at their own expense (30 - 60 minutes depending on traffic) or take the Metro (subway train).
  • The Ballston Metro Station is .3 miles from the Westin and a Metro train takes about 30 minutes from the Ballston Metro Station to the Capitol South Metro Station
  • The US Capitol is .3 miles from the Capitol South Metro Station. Participants will go to meetings in groups (typically with others from the same legislative district or state), and NDSS staff will be available to guide participants and answer questions.

WHERE CAN I STORE MY LUGGAGE WHILE ATTENDING MEETINGS ON CAPITOL HILL ON APRIL 11? 

  • Participants may store luggage at their hotel while on Capitol Hill on April 11, 2018.  

WILL THE BUDDY WALK® ON WASHINGTON COVER STATE ADVOCACY IN ADDITION TO FEDERAL ADVOCACY?

  • Yes. Training on state advocacy will be provided in the morning on April 10, 2018.
  • The state advocacy training is optional but highly beneficial for advocates who also want to make a difference on the state level.
  • Federal advocacy training will be provided during the afternoon on April 10, 2018.  

WILL THEIR BE OPPORTUNITIES FOR NETWORKING AND SOCIALIZATION?

  • Yes! One of the best parts of the Buddy Walk® on Washington is having the opportunity to meet, share and learn from other advocates and families from across the country.

HOW DO I REGISTER FOR THE BUDDY WALK® ON WASHINGTON?  

  • Register today for the 2018 Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington Advocacy Conference and 2018 NDSS Adult Summit.
  • Please remember to provide the home addresses of every participant, so that we may schedule meetings with the appropriate Members of Congress.

MORE QUESTiONS?

For more information, please contact [email protected]

 

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