Frequently Asked Questions
Strolling Thunder 2023
I submitted my interest form. Now what?
Thank you for taking the time to share your information with us! We know life with little ones is busy and time is precious. We’ll be in touch with you by the middle of March to let you know if you are selected to participate in Strolling Thunder™ 2023. If selected, we’ll quickly connect you with someone from ZERO TO THREE. This person will be your go-to for questions and logistics, including planning travel and preparing for your meetings.
Who will be invited to travel to DC to meet with their Members of Congress?
We will select one family from each state, including a parent/primary caregiver, their child under the age of three, and a travel companion, such as a co-parent, family member, or caregiver. We know that many more people in our network want to be part of our push to encourage Congress to Think Babies™. So we’ll also be sharing resources that will allow you to tell Congress to Think Babies through phone calls, emails, and social media, as well as in person in your Congressional district.
Is any experience necessary?
No! Families who are raising young children are our best messengers to help Congress understand how important it is to Think Babies and Act™. We will provide tips and a brief training to help you prepare, as well as connect you with Strolling Thunder Alumni. And we will attend your Congressional meetings with you. But your stories – in your own words – will be the most powerful tool in sharing the Think Babies message.
Will I really be meeting with Members of Congress?
That’s the plan! Our team will work to schedule each family for three meetings: one with each of your three policymakers on Capitol Hill. Sometimes you’ll be meeting with a Member of Congress. But you may also meet with members of their staff, who are key advisors. All of these meetings will be important venues to share your story.
What am I expected to talk about with my Member of Congress?
Most importantly, we want you to share your story. Tell your Members of Congress about your greatest joys as a parent and where you need or have needed support. As we get closer to Strolling Thunder, we will hold a training to give you tips and suggested message points to help explain why Congress must Think Babies and Act by investing in the first three years of our children’s lives.
What is the schedule for Strolling Thunder?
When you mix babies and Congress together, the name of the game is flexibility! We hope that all families selected will be able to participate in the meetings and any other activities around the event. But we know that, sometimes, babies have their own plans. That’s okay! The same goes for Members of Congress. We respect the important work they do and know their schedules are rapidly changing. Our team will set up meetings and modify as needed. Below is a general schedule of events to give you a sense of what to expect.
Monday, June 19
Most families arrive in Washington, DC (depending on flight availability).
Tuesday, June 20
We will hold a training session to get you ready for your meetings, go through event details, and give you a chance to meet our staff and other families.
Wednesday, June 21
Morning and afternoon: Families will meet with Members of Congress and their staff.
Midday: Families who are not in meetings will participate in a rally on Capitol Hill.
Evening: Families will gather for a dinner at the hotel to debrief and celebrate!
Thursday, June 22
Families will travel home.
Who is responsible for travel costs?
ZERO TO THREE will cover travel, hotel, and meals for each baby and parent selected to participate in Strolling Thunder. In addition, we invite each participant to bring a travel companion (such as a co-parent, family member, or caregiver) to provide additional support during the trip. ZERO TO THREE will cover their travel costs as well. We will work with each family to book travel, coordinate logistics, provide meals, and more. We are mindful of what it means to travel with a child and will work closely with each family to ensure you have the information you need to make the trip as smooth as possible.
Will I book my own travel?
ZERO TO THREE, with the help of a travel agency, will book travel for families selected to participate in Strolling Thunder – including you, your baby or toddler under age three, and your travel companion. Our travel agents will work directly with you to be sure we book an itinerary that works for your family within the parameters of our event schedule.
Will I need to bring some sort of ID for my child?
Airlines often require you to present proof of age (such as a copy of a birth certificate) for any children traveling with you. We suggest you bring a birth certificate copy for your child on your trip.
Will the hotel and itinerary be baby-friendly?
ZERO TO THREE will work closely with each family to make sure that you and your child are comfortable during your stay in DC. For example, we can provide a crib at the hotel, age-appropriate snacks (with food allergies in mind), and information on where to eat in between visits with your Members of Congress. While meetings will be flexible to the schedules of policymakers, we hope families are comfortable caring for their babies the way they need to during meetings, including allowing them to sleep, eat, or even cry. A ZERO TO THREE liaison will be in touch with each family during the weeks prior to your trip to coordinate travel, help you prepare for your visit, and answer any questions.
What if I want to extend my stay in Washington, DC?
That would be fine! Families will be responsible for any travel or hotel arrangements beyond those provided to each participant for June 19 or 20 to June 22.
Will I book my own meetings with Members of Congress?
No. We’ve got that covered. ZERO TO THREE will schedule these meetings for Wednesday, June 21, based on your Members of Congress’ availability.
What about COVID?
Currently, we plan to bring families to DC for an in-person Strolling Thunder. In accordance with our COVID policy, we will continue to monitor public health advisories and make any adjustments necessary to maximize safety. We encourage all participants to take necessary precautions to protect their health and the health of their children. Participants may be asked to wear masks or to share their vaccination status.
What if I’m not currently active on social media?
That’s OK! What better reason to start posting than to tell your Members of Congress why they need to #ThinkBabiesAndAct? As part of Strolling Thunder, we ask that participants actively share their experiences on social media. Whether you prefer Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or another platform, we need your help to share the Think Babies message before, during, and after the event.
What happens after the Strolling Thunder event?
After going home, you will have opportunities to Be a Big Voice for Little Kids™ as part of Think Babies and beyond. As someone who your Members of Congress know, your advocacy will be more important than ever! You will be invited to join our community of Strolling Thunder alumni families, the Strolling Thunder Family Advocacy Network, who meet regularly, receive updates, and continue to be strong advocates for infants and toddlers in their state and across the country. There are many options for participation, including calling your Members of Congress’ office, visiting your Members of Congress in their district and state offices, writing to your local newspaper, or engaging other parents! We will be here to support you along the way.