Day five started out with a discussion about critical thinking. We discussed how our congressional and professional visits made us step out of our comfort zone and challenged the way we viewed organizations and institutions. We discussed critical thinking and strategies to use include which include pause, frame and choose.

– Pause; don’t act or react to a situation, take a breath and observe how you are feeling.

– Frame; what are my assumptions, what objective data support and/or challenge my assumptions.

– Choose; what are my options? What seems best based on the facts and long-term interests.

After another metro ride to the capital, the group embarked on a tour to learn about our capital’s history. From the crypt room to the rotunda, our capital is majestic and contains years of congressional history.

Following the capital tour, we rushed over to Hart Senate office building where we had to the chance to meet with not one but both of our Senators….AT THE SAME TIME. Everyone in our class and the staff were very excited about this opportunity and we made the most of the experience. With Senator Smith we talked about her involvement in the Senate Ag committee, implementation of the farm bill, specifically the dairy aspects of the new bill. Senator and newly named Presidential Candidate Klobuchar also discussed her involvement with the Ag committee, rural Emergency Medicine access, and rural broadband. We were able to snap a photo with both of the Senators and discuss further with Senator Klobuchar’s senior staff member Brian Werner.

After all the awe wore off from our visit with the Senators we resumed our day with a Leadership Search Activity across “The Proper.” Our SMT Team ventured to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum to discover how aeronautics and space travel have progressed throughout the 20th and 21st centuries into what they entail today. The most interesting aspects of our visit included all the leadership traits exemplified by a number of men and women willing to risk their lives in order to further civilization through the basic phenomenon of lift.

The entire group convened at the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts following our Leadership Search Activity. Each SMT performed a 5-minute skit about the leadership traits seen as they explored various sites throughout the city.

To finish off the night we had our farewell dinner at Tony and Joe’s where we enjoyed dinner and shared our “golden nuggets” with the group. ­­

Submitted by Scott Schwartz and Stephanie Loch


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