NCRA Boot Camp boosts lobbying confidence

NCRA members hit Capitol Hill in full force on Tuesday, May 7, as part of the NCRA Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp. More than 80 attendees shared the importance of the court reporting and captioning professions with senators, representatives, and staff members.

Jocelynn Moore, NCRA Director of State Government Relations, called the day a big success.

“On Capitol Hill, it’s common for constituents to meet with the elected member’s staff for 15 minutes to a half hour,” Moore said. “Our Boot Camp attendees from Montana and Oregon not only met with the staff of a senator for an hour-and-a-half but were also given a private tour of the House and Senate office buildings and were invited to attend a constituent coffee the following day where they discussed the Training for Realtime Writers grant program with both senators Tester and Daines, as well as Congressman Gianforte. After their meetings, Sen. Tester’s staff even took them on another private tour to see the Capitol. As a former staffer on the Hill, I was absolutely amazed. That sort of facetime just doesn’t happen.”

The event started with two days of training with Dave Wenhold, CAE, PLC, NCRA Interim Executive Director, and Moore.

(Read Dineen Squillante’s “My NCRA Boot Camp experience.”)

“My experience at Boot Camp was simply amazing!” said Rebecca Brewer, RPR, CRR, of St. Louis, Mo. “I find it hard to explain to others, you simply just have to attend to understand the intensity of the training and the wealth of knowledge gained from attending. Dave Wenhold, with his vast knowledge and experience of the legislative process, was able to train the attendees in an easily understandable way, making the Boot Camp that much more enjoyable.”

Wenhold outlined the goals of the event and discussed the nuts and bolts of association work. Wenhold and Moore then talked to attendees about politics on Capitol Hill and how to effectively advocate for ideas and legislation. Moore followed with a presentation about the state of court reporting and captioning throughout the country and how to effectively advocate before state legislatures. NCRA Board President Sue A. Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, Springfield, Ohio, and NCRA President-Elect Max Curry, RPR, CRI, Franklin, Tenn., ended the first day of Boot Camp with a discussion about the state of electronic and digital recording throughout the country.

During the second day of Boot Camp, Mike Goodman, with Cornerstone Government Affairs, Washington, D.C., began the day by talking to attendees about the dos and don’ts of lobbying members of congress. Then attendees broke out into a mock scenario session, in which they were trained to lobby before senators and representatives, and they had the opportunity to testify before a mock congressional committee. The day ended with Wenhold and Moore discussing the proper way to network and what they were to expect on Capitol Hill when lobbying for key legislation.

On Hill Day, NCRA members asked legislators and staff to make sure funds for captioning training are included the next time the Higher Education Act is reauthorized.

Margary Rogers, RPR, CRI, Washington, D.C., and Crystal Pilgrim, RPR, Silver Spring, Md., reported on a successful meeting with Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who represents Maryland, and his Legislative Director Sarah Shenning, who said they supported the reauthorization of the captioning grant money.

“We met Sen. Van Hollen because we arrived 15 minutes early and met him as he walked in for the day,” Rogers said. “The senator asked us why we were there.  We were prepared and answered questions with confidence. We told him about the HEA Act Bill 872, the reauthorization, FIPSE. We informed him that we represented NCRA and that we were court reporters here in Washington, D.C.  He even did the court reporter finger motion and said how fascinating our jobs were.”

First-time attendee Lori McCoin Jones, RPR, CCR, Midlothian, Va., met with staff members for Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Mark Warner, Sen. Tim Kaine, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, and Rep. Elaine Luria.

“Boot Camp was a wonderful experience to bond with other reporters, gather information, and stretch and grow as reporters advocating for our profession,” Jones said.   

Miranda Seitz, Eau Claire, Wisc., also reported a great experience.

“I think as court reporters we feel that we should not interrupt unless we absolutely have to, and as women doubly so. The fact that NCRA has taken on the task of providing this kind of training and experience for their membership that goes so much against our professional instincts is quite the endeavor. The fact that they did it so effectively and at such a pivotal time for our profession … my gratitude cannot be overstated,” she said. “Every single person that I met and networked with within Boot Camp was so genuine and engaging with me, and I did my best to do the same! I’m so glad I seized this opportunity to be able to (learn to) focus, strategize, and implement our collective goals alongside my multidimensional peers.”

See a photos from the event.

Become an expert advocate and leader for your profession

The 2019 NCRA Leadership and Legislative Boot Camp promises to provide attendees with an experience like no other when it comes to learning firsthand the power of advocacy and the influence good leadership can achieve.

The 2019 event is being held May 5-7 and will include two full days of training, exploration, and hands-on activities designed to give everyone who attends the takeaways necessary to become successful advocates and leaders in the profession at the local, state, and national level. Training will end with role-playing and mock interviews to help prepare attendees for the final day of the event, which culminates with visits with Washington, D.C., lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The site of the 2019 event is the Embassy Suites by Hilton, in historic Alexandria Old Town, Va., just outside of Washington, D.C. Anyone in the court reporting, captioning, or legal videography professions wanting to grow and hone their advocacy and leadership skills should make plans to attend the 2019 NCRA Leadership and Legislative Boot Camp.

Watch the JCR Weekly and JCR magazine for more details and information about registration for this one-of-a-kind event.








Make an impact in Washington, D.C., at the NCRA Legislative Boot Camp

NCRA members meet with their elected officials on Capitol Hill, including Meredith Bonn and her colleagues from New York, shown top-right with Rep. Kathleen Rice

“The NCRA Legislative Boot Camp was a tremendous training opportunity,” said Rachel Waterhouse-Schwalm, RPR, a freelancer and owner of Westphal Reporting, in Dubuque, Iowa. Waterhouse-Schwalm attended the 2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp and is currently the president-elect of the Iowa Court Reporters Association. “I continue to use the skills we received training on to this day, and they will always be of value,” she said.

The 2018 event has two days of sessions on decision-making, grassroots lobbying, certification legislation, and more. But what makes this event unique is the location: our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.

While many of the sessions at Boot Camp are new, attendees will still have the opportunity to take the lessons they’ve learned and practice their new skills in mock meetings. In these mock meetings, attendees will test their strategies for speaking with legislators, and they will receive feedback to tweak their messaging and delivery.

“The mock hearings prepared me by allowing me to get my nerves out by practicing,” said Meredith Bonn, RPR, an official in Webster, N.Y. Bonn also attended the 2016 event and is currently an NCRA Director after having served on the New York State Court Reporters Association board. “I must say having not an ordinary practice session, but a tension-filled, lifelike situation was eye-opening and helpful.”

Rachel Waterhouse-Schwalm, left, and Kara Holland, center, meet with Capitol Hill staffers

On the final day of the event, attendees will get the full D.C. experience, traveling by Metro to Capitol Hill and spending the day meeting face-to-face with their elected officials and staff and talking to them about the important issues that affect court reporting and captioning today.

“Being there in awe of all its history is amazing,” said Bonn. “To have the ear and attention of our legislators was appreciated. To communicate a clear, concise, and useful message was empowering.”

“Kara, our current Iowa Court Reporters Association president, had a meeting with the governor last week to do a press event for the signing of the proclamation for Court Reporting & Captioning Week,” said Waterhouse-Schwalm, who attended with Kara Holland, RPR.  “Afterward she and our lobbyist, Bill Wimmer, went to meet at the capitol with state representatives. She mentioned how Boot Camp training really kicked in and made her much more comfortable in those meetings and helped her shape her arguments and talking points.”

After a full day of D.C. action, attendees will wrap up their experience with a reception in the beautiful Library of Congress honoring the popular Veterans History Project (VHP). Many NCRA members have participated in the VHP, and this reception will help them have a deeper understanding of the value of this project and reporters’ and captioners’ participation in it. The reception will also allow attendees to compare notes and share wins from the day.

“The Boot Camp was a challenging experience that has value beyond measure,” added Waterhouse-Schwalm. “Those training tools have been used both in board work and in many other ways. It gives you great confidence in advocating for your profession and your fellow reporters.”

Register for the 2018 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp at NCRA.org/BootCamp by Feb. 23.








Is the NCRA Legislative Boot Camp for me too? You bet!

You’ve heard about the great things that the NCRA Legislative Boot Camp has done for the profession. You’ve read the articles, seen the pictures, and heard the testimonials from your fellow court reporters and captioners on the incredible experience that Boot Camp has on attendees’ lives. But have you ever wondered: Is it only for state leaders?

The answer is no for one simple reason: It is everyone’s job to protect the profession and each professional’s own ability to do his or her job. If you don’t commit to saving your job, who will? Boot Camp teaches everyone the issues affecting the profession at a national level and how to affect change at the state and local levels. People who have attended Boot Camp have used their new skills to advocate for things outside the court reporting profession, such as cancer funding, appropriations for local city needs, and more. Boot Camp has even so inspired former attendees to make changes in their community that they have run for political office. Boot Camp alumni have become city council members, aldermen, the assistant mayor, and even a state representative!

What happens at Boot Camp? NCRA’s Government Relations team begins by training attendees on the basics of advocacy, including politics 101, grassroots lobbying, understanding the issues affecting reporters, and dealing with the press. Then attendees learn about a real-life scenario that is affecting court reporters. The attendees break into teams. The teams compete to come up with the best strategies and messages to influence mock senators in mock meetings. After their meetings, the teams testify in front of a mock Senate panel to try to influence a committee on a crucial issue.

Testifying is challenging and forces attendees to think on their feet. Attendees take their charge very seriously and but also have fun competing to be crowned top team at Boot Camp for that year. Reporters can be very competitive!

After two days of training, the attendees get a much-needed break to celebrate their efforts and bond with their fellow reporters. They also prepare for the next day, during which they will take all their skills and implement them for real. On Hill Day, attendees meet with their senators and Congressional representatives and pitch an issue critical to the profession to their national representatives and their staffs. The energy and excitement is palpable as the attendees arrive on Capitol Hill. The attendees meet with Hill staff all day, and finally their Boot Camp experience winds down with a great debrief at a Capitol Hill hotspot.

Hundreds of reporters have gone through Boot Camp and become steadfast advocates for the profession. If you are interested in attending this life-changing event, please register at NCRA.org/BootCamp or contact NCRA Government Relations Manager Matthew Barusch with any additional questions. See how you can make a difference!








Local paper reports NCRA member’s involvement in 2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp

On April 5, the Traverse City [Mich.] Record Eagle posted a press release issued by NCRA announcing that Jessica L. Jaynes, RPR, an official court reporter from Traverse City and president-elect of the Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters, attended the 2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp.

Read more.








Space is filling fast for 2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp

NCRA Legislative Boot Camp logoRegister now to join the leaders from more than 40 state affiliates from across the country who are participating in the 2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp being held March 20-22 at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, Va. Space for the event, which is sponsored by NCRA’s government relations department, is limited.

Attendees will participate in sessions that include an introduction to politics, grassroots lobbying techniques, effectively communicating with the press, understanding NCRA’s 2016 federal initiatives, building lasting relationships, and what to expect when visiting lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The schedule also includes mock hearings and role-playing exercises, as well as tips on how to promote the profession to external audiences and consumer groups and how to successfully testify before legislators.

Tiva Wood, RDR, CMRS, NCRA President-Elect, a freelance reporter from Mechanicsburg, Pa., has attended the camp twice. “Participants in the NCRA Legislative Boot Camp leave this intensive and very informative event armed with the knowledge and confidence they need to work with their lawmakers to help ensure that issues with a potential impact on the court reporting and captioning professions are addressed swiftly and accurately and in the highest professional manner possible,” she said. “The mock trial and role-playing exercises are extremely beneficial as well for preparing participants for their visits to Capitol Hill.”

Lead presenters will include Adam Finkel, NCRA’s Director of Government Affairs, and Dave Wenhold, CAE, PLC, from Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies.

The two-day training culminates with a trip to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., where attendees will have the opportunity to meet with their respective legislators and their professional staff members, and gain experience in lobbying. Attendees will also have the opportunity to attend an event with one of NCRA’s legislative supporters.

During visits with lawmakers, Boot Camp attendees will be encouraged to urge their representatives to reauthorize the Training for Realtime Writers grants under the Higher Education Act passed by Congress in 2009. The Act created a competitive grant program to train realtime writers to provide both captioned information and communication access for the 30 million Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing. Programs established with past grants also aided working reporters in learning and polishing realtime skills.

Registration for the 2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp is available online at NCRA.org/bootcamp. The cost is $175 per attendee. For more information, contact Adam Finkel, NCRA Director of Government Relations, at afinkel@ncra.org.

 








Tennessee Court Reporters Association hosts one-day boot camp

The Tennessee Court Reporters Association, in conjunction with NCRA’s Government Relations Department, hosted approximately 30 members for a one-day, mini Legislative Boot Camp. Throughout the day, sessions were led by NCRA’s outside Legislative Counsel Dave Wenhold and NCRA Senior Government Relations Specialist Adam Finkel on the basics of politics, grassroots lobbying, and communications tips and techniques, with an intense focus on the issue of third-party contracting. At the conclusion of the day, the attendees were put through mock meetings where they were required to put their newly learned lobbying techniques to the test by meeting with individuals playing the roles of various key players.

TCRA President Sheila Wilson explained, “As affiliates struggle to address legislative issues in our individual states, we are extremely fortunate to have NCRA’s Government Relations at the helm, standing ready and willing to provide assistance. Their thorough understanding of the intricacies of the inner workings of government helps us grasp how the pieces of the puzzle fit together and arms us with the tools necessary to bring about positive change.”

“I would really, really recommend that every state association have NCRA put a ‘Boot Camp’ on for their association,” said TCRA President-Elect Jim Beres. “You’ll be amazed at what you will learn and then be able to accomplish.”

NCRA’s Government Relations Department stands ready and willing to assist affiliate associations in the challenges faced by court reporters today. If you have any questions, please contact govrelations@ncra.org.