For the third year in a row, I spent President's Day Weekend traveling to Washington D.C. with 200 8th graders and chaperones to explore our nation's capital.
We arrived to the airport at 5am and departed on two different flights.
If you've never traveled through security, boarding, take off, landing and baggage claim with 200 13-year-olds than you haven't really traveled. It's an experience.
Joe's Souveniers-- The number one spot for all your Washington D.C. needs. Sweatshirts. Hats, Fleeces, Tshirts, Figurines. Sunglasses. Postcards. Coffee mugs. Flags.
Einstein-- One of my favorite spots. All the kids crowd in and take turns climbing up on Albert Einstein.
At this point we were just with the kids from busses Obi Wan and Yoda. We preference kids on our busses and even though we don't get everyone, my bus was still primarily packed with kids from Wyld Life, FBC and my bible studies. I absolutely love hanging out with these kids for days in a row.
White House-- For the first time in HSJH history we got to tour the White House. After standing in security lines and getting checked multiple times we made our way inside. It was crazy cool to walk through different rooms where I could imagine both Obama's family and administration as well as the cast of Scandal at work.
We couldn't take pictures inside the White House but took a whole lot of mental pictures and picked the brains of the Secret Service men that patrolled each room.
In Kid President's Guide To Being Awesome he tells the story of how just before he met Obama in the Oval Office he licked the wall paper because he was just freaking out. So.... we wanted to lick the wall paper too. We were very low key and chill about it when Sophi, Lexi, Caroline, Elise, Hailey, Maggie and I each licked the wall paper.
Pretty fantastic start to the trip.
Every other year these are the only kinds of pictures we could take-- from the street with the fence separating us from the house.
Washington National Monument-- Towering at 500 feet, it's the world's tallest freestanding structure. That means there are no beams or rods holding all the rocks together, not even mortar or cement between the stones.
It was freezing. Beyond freezing. So cold. All weekend long.
Obi Wan had to wait to take our turn up to the top of the monument so we took some pictures and then walked over to the WWII memorial.
I ran into Maggie Madro, a CILT from Session 3 and a new Day Camp counselor this summer. She was in town with her dad for college visits and I got to visit with her really quickly before running back to the Washington Monument.
World War II Memorial-- One of the largest, this memorial has pillars for the different states so we always find Indiana.
We do our best to keep the kids entertained while we were waiting for our turn on the elevator. Girl cheerleaders win.
Because of recent construction due to an earthquake, this was my first time to the top of the Monument. We got to look out from all four sides which was pretty spectacular. Because I've visited enough times I could spot other landmarks from afar.
The Capital straight down the mall and several Smithsonians on the left.
The Lincoln is straight ahead with the reflection pool and WWII in-between. Vietnam is to the right, Korean on the left and then far to the left you can spot MLK and FDR.
Jefferson is across the water looking back at the White House. The Holocaust Museum is the red brick building on the left.
The White House is in the center of the picture behind the lawn.
From the top we could spy out all four sides. This is a model of the structure. The viewing level is just below the point. Then you walk down the stairs to more information about the building and history of the structure before taking the elevator back down.
FDR Memorial-- A series of statues and quotes the depict key parts of FDR's presidency.
Climbing on the rocks is my favorite part.
MLK Memorial-- From a mountain of despair comes a stone of hope. I love the symbolism and history of this whole spot.
Kennedy Center-- Our night tour got cancelled because of rain and snow so we had to come up with a fall back plan. We visited the Kennedy Center to see the hall of international flags but the observation deck was closed. There was a special Valentine's Day event going on with glamorous people in suits and fancy dresses. It was only a bit awkward when 200 8th graders infiltrated in their sweatshirts.