A day at the CCL conference

A day at the CCL conference

By Flannery Winchester

This year’s conference is CCL’s first in-person nationwide event in two years. We can’t wait to see you in D.C. from June 11-13! If you haven’t registered yet, sign up here. If you have registered, be sure to book your room soon.

Since our last few conferences have been virtual, you may wonder what the experience is like when we’re actually together in our nation’s capital. That’s especially true for the thousands of you who have joined CCL in the last two years and have never had the chance to come to an in-person conference.

Well, wonder no more! Today, we’re taking you on a tour through the CCL conference experience. 

When you arrive in D.C., you’ll make your way to the Omni Shoreham hotel. Sneak a peek at the lobby on their Instagram page. This historic D.C. hotel has hosted presidents, world leaders, and even inaugural balls, so it’s an appropriate gathering place for climate advocates with a taste for politics.

Conference registration opens as early as Saturday, June 11, at noon, or you can check in Sunday morning starting at 8 a.m. You’ll pick up your name tag and a folder with the conference program and all the other information you need to navigate the conference.

Get ready to rock your lanyard

We’ll kick things off with opening remarks all together in one of the Omni’s main ballrooms. You’ll see familiar staff faces up on stage and be seated next to hundreds of your fellow CCL volunteers. 

Please note that we are requiring attendees to wear a mask for added safety in an indoor group setting. You can check out our latest COVID guidance on CCL Community here.

There’s Lynate Pettengill, our fearless Senior Development Director, on the main stage at a past conference. This June, you’ll see CCL Executive Director Madeleine Para, board member Mark Reynolds, and Louisiana State Coordinator Nicole Hammond up on stage to begin the event.

The plenary session usually includes some chances to introduce yourself to the folks next to you or practice some quick communications exercises. Building connections with each other — even outside of our own chapters and states — is a big perk of being together at the national conference. You’re also encouraged to meet and talk during regular breaks between programming.

On both days of the conference, you’ll have your pick of trainings and breakout sessions. Elli Sparks, our Director of Field Development, leads a Climate Advocate Training for newer volunteers to get a strong foundation in CCL’s methodology and values. 

You’ll sit in round tables with lots of chances for interaction and discussion. You’ll even get a chance to practice holding a mock lobby meeting, so you’ll know what to expect during a meeting with your members of Congress.

There will also be lots of expert guests sharing their wisdom with us throughout the conference — and it’s not uncommon to get a chance for a bit of one-on-one face time with them after their remarks. Here’s climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe at a past conference, stopping to talk with young Canadian volunteer, Sophia Mathur.

In between sessions and at meal times, you’ll see CCL volunteers all throughout the Omni — catching up in comfy armchairs in the lobby, filling up the tables at restaurants across the street, or just grabbing a patch of carpet to chat.

You might even catch a CCL staff member stealing a few minutes to do work at the back of a meeting room or in a hallway — always feel free to come up and say hi!

And it’s not truly a CCL conference until we’ve gotten a legislative update from Dr. Danny Richter, our VP of Government Affairs. You won’t want to miss that Sunday afternoon session, where Danny will update everyone on the latest developments in Congress.

Another staple of CCL conferences? Busting a move. We may be a bunch of climate nerds, but we like to party! Sunday night will include some social time with a DJ and dancing.

Monday night will include a reception with remarks from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), drinks and hors d’oeuvres. (Watch out — we might dance a little bit then, too.)

To see more photos and video clips from our last in-person June conference, check out this story highlight from our Instagram page.

We hope these photos helped you start to envision a fun few days of climate advocacy with us. See you in June!

Flannery Winchester has put her words to work for magazines, for marketing agencies, and now for our earth as CCL's Communications Director. She is grateful to spend every day working to preserve this beautiful planet.