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.

The other side of the Veterans History Project: What happens to my transcripts?

VHP Photo_Jaynes

Jessica L. Jaynes poses in front of the Veterans History Project sign

By Jessica L. Jaynes

While attending the 2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp, I decided to make the most of my downtime between meetings on Capitol Hill, so I visited the Library of Congress Veterans History Project Center. I wanted to see where the veterans’ stories I had transcribed in the past were kept and who uses them and for what purpose. My goal was to be able to take that information back to my association, the Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters, to garner support for this year’s Veterans History Project (VHP).

I started my mission at the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building, only to discover that the Veterans History Project Center is located in the American Folklife Center over in the Madison Building. I was directed down staircases and underground tunnels to make my way there. I finally made it to my destination where I met Christy Chason, VHP representative. Christy greeted me with a smile and asked what she could do for me.

I explained why I was in Washington, D.C., and I was hoping to be able to see the transcripts that I had sent in. Christy lit up, telling me how they love NCRA and the court reporters who have worked so hard transcribing the oral histories and what an important a role we play in the process. She apologized, saying that the transcripts are kept at an off-site location and that I wouldn’t be able to see them on that day, but that I was welcome to stay and take a look around.

The first picture I came across was that of Rep. Ron Kind (WI). Christy explained to me that Rep. Kind authored the original Veterans’ Oral History Project legislation after attending a family function with his father and uncle, both of whom served in the U. S. military, and wanting to document their experiences for future generations. He got a video camera and began recording their stories. I also found out that Rep. Kind’s wife is a court reporter.

The most interesting artifact I came across was a letter written home from a soldier to his beloved that was on government-issued toilet paper. The original is in a preservation environment, but there is an exact replica on the wall, along with a transcription next to it for easy reading. We proceeded on, looking at all the different photos and letters, and Christy shared the stories that went along with each of them. I was told that the transcripts we prepare are very important, as researchers, scholars, students, members of Congress, authors, and filmmakers access them on a daily basis. She was so happy that I had come to visit that she gave me a Veterans History Project pin that I proudly wore the rest of the day on my sweater to all of my meetings. I am currently awaiting a package of VHP swag from Christy to distribute at our next VHP Day coming up in November.

I would encourage all of my colleagues to transcribe at least one pre-recorded veteran interview from NCRA or to participate in your local VHP day this year. The experience is incredibly rewarding, and it means so much to our veterans to have their experiences shared. To learn more about how you can become involved with this project, contact April Weiner, NCRF Foundation Assistant, at 703-584-9052 or aweiner@ncra.org. You can also access the Veterans History Project online at loc.gov/vets. Next time you are in the area, stop by and see Christy and her colleagues. They would love to meet you.

Jessica L. Jaynes, RPR, is president-elect of the Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters. She can be reached at jjaynes.steno@gmail.com.

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF), the Association’s philanthropic arm, partnered with the Library of Congress more than 10 years ago to help collect transcripts for the Veterans History Project program through its Oral Histories Program. Transcripts provided to the Library of Congress are preserved for future use as part of the program. To date, NCRF has submitted 3,927 histories to the Library of Congress Veterans History Project and has a goal to submit just 73 more by Memorial Day for a total of 4,000. NCRA members earn 0.25 PDC for each transcript they complete, up to 1.0 PDC per education cycle. Please visit NCRA.org/Vets for more information on how to get involved.

State affiliates gear up for 2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp

LBC_logo_1color_newState affiliates from across the country are making plans to participate in the 2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp being held March 20-22 at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, Va. The event is sponsored by NCRA’s government relations department.

The schedule for this year’s event will include sessions that cover an introduction to politics, grassroots lobbying, effectively communicating with the press, understanding NCRA’s 2016 federal initiatives, building lasting relationships, and what to expect when participants visit Capitol Hill. Several sessions will also include mock hearings and role-playing exercises. Attendees will also learn how to promote the profession to external audiences and consumer groups and how to testify before legislators.

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.

NCRA member Rachel Erickson, RPR, CRC, a CART captioner from Minneapolis, Minn., said this year’s Boot Camp will be the first she has ever attended. She is looking forward to learning about issues that affect the court reporting and captioning professions.

“I would like to be well versed with the legislative and political information I need as well as role-playing to help better equip me to promote and advocate our profession effectively and intelligently,” added Erickson, who is preparing to become president of the Minnesota Association of Verbatim Reporters and Captioners.

“This will be my first time attending Legislative Boot Camp, and I am looking forward to learning additional tools I can use to promote our legislative interests and share the information with other reporters and students with common passions and interests,” said Jennifer Sati, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI, who serves on NCRA’s Board of Directors.

“Meeting with legislators, especially from my home state, will definitely be highlight,” added Sati, who is also a court reporting educator and an independent captioner from Dayton, Minn.

Online registration is now open for the 2016 Legislative Boot Camp 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.

“The NCRA Legislative Boot Camp is one of the most important benefits of membership in the Association because it provides training in the skills needed to successfully advocate and participate in the legislative and regulatory processes when issues in either of those arenas arise that could hinder or help the future of the court reporting and captioning professions,” said NCRA President Stephen A. Zinone, RPR, an official court reporter from Pittsford, N.Y.

“If you are in the business of making the record and preserving history or providing valuable captioning services to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, then you are in the business of protecting our profession,” said Zinone.

Gear up for the NCRA Legislative Boot Camp

State affiliates gear up for 2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp

State affiliates from across the country are making plans to participate in the 2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp being held March 20-22 at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, Va. The event is sponsored by NCRA’s government relations department.

The schedule for this year’s event will include seminars on the political climate on a state and national level, as well as ways to promote the profession to external audiences and consumer groups. Attendees will also be trained how to testify before legislators, partake in rigorous roleplaying exercises, and receive an intensive overview of the current legislative and regulatory issues at hand. The two-day training culminates with a trip to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., where attendees will have the opportunity to walk through the building, meet with their respective legislators and their professional staff members, and gain experience in lobbying. Attendees will also have the opportunity to attend a political fundraiser for one of NCRA’s major supporters.

“The NCRA Legislative Boot Camp is one of the most important benefits of membership in the Association because it provides training in the skills needed to successfully advocate and participate in the legislative and regulatory processes when issues in either of those arenas arise that could hinder or help the future of the court reporting and captioning professions,” said NCRA President Stephen A. Zinone, RPR, an official court reporter from Pittsford, N.Y.

“If you are in the business of making the record and preserving history or providing valuable captioning services to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, then you are in the business of protecting our profession,” said Zinone.

Online registration is now open for the 2016 Legislative Boot Camp 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.

Court reporters take to Capitol Hill for NCRA 2014 Legislative Boot Camp

On March 4, 44 state affiliate association leaders, along with NCRA’s board of directors, traveled to Capitol Hill to meet with their respective members of Congress to urge them to support the critical and important Local Courthouse Safety Act. The visits culminated a two-day Legislative Boot Camp program hosted by NCRA, March 2 – 4. The boot camp is designed to provide advocacy training for the stenographic court reporting profession.

Read more.

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.