Springtime in D.C.
Posted by Tall Ships America on June 2, 2014
Last month, Team Tall Ships America trundled down to Washington, DC for our annual reception in the U.S. Capitol Building. Every year, we host a gathering of politicians, naval attaches, board members, port partners, and supporters to talk about sail training, tall ships and the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® seasons, and to cultivate the ground for our invitations to their ships to participate in the series. It is also really cool to have a reception in the U.S. Capitol Building and I personally look forward to our trip every year.
In years past, we have stayed down by the Navy Yard and on U Street, but this year we scored a sweet apartment a few blocks away from the Capitol Building and behind the Library of Congress. This was right around the corner-
The day of the reception, Patti, Bert and I were generously invited to a luncheon at the Canadian Embassy hosted by the naval attaché and our long-time partner in Halifax, Waterfront Development Corporation. The Canadian Embassy is truly impressive with fountains throughout an open plaza area outside and sun-filled rooms inside. Our luncheon and the guests were delightful and a wonderful way to meet a few of the attaches who would, later that evening, be joining us in the Lyndon B. Johnson room. I fell into a heated discussion about poutine (the Canadian attaché is from Montreal), learned about “Goofy Newfie” time and found that if you like soccer (or, for the rest of the world, football), you should be in Brazil next week.
Finally (finally!) after months of preparation -invites sent out, folders assembled, meetings planned, agenda’s written, and posters created- it was time for our party. We had an amazing turn out with the countries of Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Indonesia, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, and Uruguay represented. Our host, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse was in attendance and challenged all of us to harness the educational power and the public impact of sail training to promote sustainable ocean environmental practice and policies. We also heard from Senator Jack Reed and Congressman David Cicilline. Rhode Island was in the house and represented well that evening. All too soon, the schmoozing was over and we said our goodbyes…until next year.
For those attaché’s who could not attend the reception, we made personal visits to their embassies to drop off information about the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® series and invite their naval vessels to be a part of our fleet. I crossed some new embassies off of my list- Netherlands, set up on a hill, in a very suburban area and surrounded by woods (with tulips, naturally) –
Next up was Italy, which has a massive atrium in the middle of it and where we were offered desserts made by the attaché himself (they were delicious) and I was able to bust out a little of my rusty Italian.
While the week in D.C. is fun and being in the capital is exciting, the main reason for our visit is to maintain relationships that we have established within the international maritime community and create new ones, while at the same time promoting sail training and adventure under sail. Until the cherry blossoms bloom again…
More photos on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.
Also, WE MOVED! Our new location is still in Newport but down by the Naval War College. We are at 221 3rd Street, Bldg. 2, Suite 101, Newport, RI 02840. Come visit the new digs!