Washington Week is an intensive week of unparalleled educational activities in the nation’s capital designed to deepen the student delegates’ understanding of the federal government and give them direct access to those who lead it. The action-packed agenda for the week encompasses the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government and also includes a comprehensive perspective on America from abroad. Events include meeting with the Senate Co-Chairs, other Senate leaders and the Senate parliamentarian and historian; a justice of the Supreme Court, the president, officials from the Departments of State and Defense and other executive agencies, a foreign ambassador to the U.S. and senior members of the media. The agenda for Washington Week reflects the substantive issues of the day, and at each event the question and answer session is extensive. A highlight of the week is the USSYP Annual Senate Reception where all student delegates have an opportunity to meet and converse with their U.S. senators. This in-depth exposure to national and international leaders who generously give their time is precisely what fuels and sustains the delegates’ commitment to making a difference in their schools, their communities and their country.
USSYP student delegates arrive in the Washington area and are met by their military mentors. The Department of Defense maintains a longstanding partnership with the United States Senate Youth Program by providing a competitively selected “purple team” of 17 of the most exceptional military officers from each service branch to serve as mentors during Washington Week. The mentors help the students move smoothly from one high-level venue to the next and guide the students in the protocol and comportment necessary during the week.
Accommodations, Safety and Security
Student safety and security are the first concerns of the program. In addition to being met at the Washington area airports and train station by their military mentors who accompany the students at all times, the USSYP employs a private security staff to monitor the group 24 hours a day. A registered nurse travels with the group to all events and is available at all times, and a dedicated program physician is on call throughout the week to meet any of the students’ medical needs.
All expenses for meals and accommodations during Washington Week are provided by The Hearst Foundations. Accommodations during Washington Week are held at the historic Mayflower Hotel. The Mayflower is an historic landmark in D.C. and is one of the most elegant luxury hotels in the city conveniently located near to the White House and the Capitol. Hotel security staff supplement USSYP private security.
Round trip transportation to and from the Washington,D.C. metro area is provided by The Hearst Foundations. All students must travel round-trip on specified travel dates to partake of the travel benefit, and student delegates are required to remain with the group for the entire Washington Week program – exceptions are not permissible for outside educational meetings, conferences or sport competitions of any kind. Students are required to comply with the official rules governing the program to be able to serve as USSYP delegates to Washington Week and receive the $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship.
The $10,000 college scholarship and attendance at the Washington week program are one, inseparable award. Delegates must participate in the Washington Week program in order to receive the financial scholarship.