Chessie's Convention Scoop Tips, hints and suggestions for navigating the 2019 Junior Civitan International Convention

Issue 2 / June 2019

Hello Junior Civitans, Chaperones,Guests and Mascots!

I'm Chessie Chesapeake, the official mascot of both the Chesapeake Junior Civitans and Chesapeake Civitans.

My District's Civitans, Junior Civitans, the International Staff, and of course me, are getting so excited to welcome you all to The Chesapeake District in just a couple of weeks!!

We've put together some more info to help you have a great Convention experience. Here's what you'll find in this issue:

  • Free-time Activity Poll and sight-seeing suggestions
  • How to get around town
  • Introductions and travel tips for your Mascots


Free-Time: What to do......

We hope you are able to either come in a few days before Convention or leave a few days after Convention to enjoy DC and the surrounding areas.

You'll also have some free time on Saturday, June 22nd to enjoy some of the sights. To help you maximize your free time on Saturday, we would like to know what you are interested in doing. We might be able to make advance arrangements and get you discounts.

Note, you will be responsible for the cost of the activities you choose to participate in and there might be a transportation cost as well. Filling out the Doodle Poll simply tells us what you are interested in doing; you are not obligated to participate in those activities.

(make sure to return back to this newsletter after you complete the Doodle Poll)

Here are descriptions of some of the options we are proposing:

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum; Udvar-Hazy Center in nearby Chantilly, VA.

There are two (2) Smithsonian Air and Space Museums, one in DC on the National Mall and one in Virginia. There are different exhibits in each museum. (Yes, this is our Junior Civitan Membership Specialist, Emily Kicker. She visited the Udvar-Hazy Center last year while planning this year's convention.)

Udvar-Hazy Center is located about 5 miles from the Hyatt Dulles. Admission is free; if there is enough interest on Saturday we may be able to provide transportation for a nominal fee.

If you'd like to visit on your own, we suggest using the Fairfax Connector bus (more about the Fairfax Connector later in this issue), ride-share (Uber/Lyft) or taxi.



There are several shopping centers close by, unfortunately none are within walking distance.

Reston Town Center has a variety of shopping and restuarants. If there is interest on Saturday during free-time, we might be able to secure transportation for a nominal fee.


The hotel does provide 3 evening shuttles to Reston Town Center at 4:45 pm, 6:45 pm and 8:45 pm that you can use if you are coming in early or staying late. These are not available to us during Convention.

The Fairfax Connector Bus also stops at Reston Town Center.

Other Shopping: (not serviced by bus or hotel shuttle)

Escape Room Herndon

If you are looking for something fun and challenging to do, Escape Room Herndon has several Escape experiences. They are located approx 5 miles from the hotel.

If you are interested in this for a free-time activity on Saturday, make sure to check it on the Doodle Poll. We can negotiate the costs, make reservations and possibly provide transportation. Note, all costs will be the responsibility of the participants.


Manassas National Battlefield Park

Want to get outside in the fresh air and learn about the history that took place just 13 miles from the hotel? Take a self-guided walking tour of the Battlefields.

Entrance is free. If there is enough interest for Saturday free-time we will look into providing group transportation, the cost would be the participant's responsibility. Otherwise, ride-share (Uber/Lyft), taxi or rental car would be your best options.


Mount Vernon: George Washington's Home

Located about 30 miles from the hotel, Mount Vernon offers a guided tour of George and Martha Washington's home and grounds.

General admission is $20. If we have enough interest during free-time on Saturday, we could arrange a possible discount, reservation and transportation. All costs would be the responsibility of the participants.


Arlington National Cemetery

Visit Arlington Cemetery, take a guided tour or walk the grounds on your own. View the Changing of the Guard every half hour at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

You can tour the grounds for free, or pay for a guided bus tour where you can get-off and on the bus throughout the cemetery. General ticket price is $15.

Arlington National Cemetery is accessible by Metro. (more about Metro later in this issue). On Saturday during free-time, if there is enough interest, we maybe able to provide group transportation and secure reservations for group tour.


Georgetown: Ghost Tours & Shopping

"Georgetown is perhaps DC’s most storied neighborhood, and DC by Foot brings out the darker side of this history with two awesome tours. Each one takes you behind the symbols of the past that shroud the area, revealing the ghosts and spirits that have called Georgetown home for hundreds of years (Wicked Georgetown is recommended for ages 14 and up). You’ll even get the inside scoop on curses, startling incidents, and those infamous Exorcist steps." - DC by Foot and washington.org

If there is enough interest for a Walking Ghost Tour on Saturday, we could possibly arrange an afternoon guided tour, discounted tickets and transportation. All costs would be the responsibility of the participants.


Georgetown also offers lots of shopping and restaurants, including the famous, Georgetown Cupcakes.



Grab your smartphone and experience Washington, DC’s first virtual reality sightseeing tour!

If there is enough interest during free-time on Saturday, we could possibly arrange a reserved tour time, discount and transportation. All costs would be the responsibility of the participant.


Smithsonian Museums, National Mall and Monuments

There are so many free things to do and see in DC just along the National Mall, all of which is Metro accessible.



If there is enough interest on Saturday, we would could arrange in advance transportation and any guided tours based on interest. Any costs would be the responsibility of the participants. To follow are some suggestions of guided tours:

DC Duck Tours

Explore DC by land and water. General tickets are about $45 per person. If we have enough interest, we could possibly negotiate a lower price, make a reservation and provide transportation to Union Station. All costs would be the responsibility of the participant.


There are many options for guided bus tours, such as this open top bus, trolleys, coaches, tour mobile, etc.

During free-time on Saturday, if there is enough interest we could possibly secure discounted pricing, reservations and transportation to/from DC. All costs would be the responsibility of the participants.

View the Monuments from the water on a cruise:

Based on interest, we could possibly secure discounted pricing, reservations and transportation to/from DC. All costs would be the responsibility of the participants.


Uncover your spy skills at the International Spy Museum in DC.

The Spy Museum just opened in it's new, much larger location. You can go undercover on a mission as you go through the exhibits and track your performance.

If there is enough interest, we could possibly secure discounted pricing, reservations and transportation to/from DC. All costs would be the responsibility of the participants.


Smithsonian National Zoo

Spend some time outdoors with the animals. Admission is free.

Based on interest, we could arrange transportation options to/from the Zoo during free time. Costs would be the participant's responsibility.

The Zoo is accessible by Metro.


Don't forget to take our Doodle Poll to let us know what you might want to during free-time on Saturday. (Return to this newsletter after taking the poll for more info.)


Based on the results of the poll, we will pre-arrange some free-time options. We will send out the info and sign-ups before you arrive at Convention and you can also sign-up during Convention.

In addition to the above options, if you are coming early or want to do something else during free time, make sure you visit these websites for more ideas:



Thinking about College in DC? Walk the grounds, or schedule a tour:

How to get around:

If you won't have a rental car, your options for getting around include ride-share (Lyft/Uber), taxi, bus and Metro.


The Fairfax Connector Bus

From the hotel, take the hotel's complimentary shuttle to Dulles Airport. (work with the front desk if you have a large group)

If you want to go to the Udvar-Hazy Center/Air & Space Museum, board bus route 981.

If you want to go to the Reston Town Center (shopping/restaurants) or the Whiele-Reston East Metro Station (to go into DC or anywhere Metro takes you) board bus route 983.

The cost per trip (per person) on the bus is $2. Payable ONLY with CASH or a SmarTrip Card (more about SmarTrip cards later in this issue) Each person must have their own payment method.

For your return trip home, go back to Dulles Airport and take the Hyatt Regency Dulles complimentary shuttle.

Note, the hotel shuttle goes to the airport every half hour at the :15 and :45. Contact the hotel if you have a large group going at one time.

Visit the Fairfax Connector link below for their website. The second link is a link to the Routes and Maps that you will want to use.




Once you are at a Metro station, you can go pretty much anywhere in the DC Metropolitan area.

The closest Metro station to our hotel is the Whiele-Reston East Metro Stop on the Silver Line. (approx 6 miles from the hotel)


To use Metro, you will need to purchase a SmarTrip card for $2. Each person will need their own SmarTrip card.

You can purchase SmarTrip cards in advance and have them mailed to you, but you'll want to do this ASAP. You can purchase them pre-loaded with fares, you can load them on-line or you can add value to them at Metro Fare Kiosks at each station.


If you are coming in early or staying late to do some DC sightseeing using the Fairfax Connector and Metro, we suggest purchasing a Day Pass on your SmarTrip Card.

Day Pass will give you one day of unlimited Metrorail and Metrobus travel (base bus fare of $2.00); no time restrictions. The pass expires at the end of the operating day. After the pass expires, new passes or value may be added to the card. (make sure you are purchasing a day pass and not just adding the dollar value of a day pass.)

Watch the video in this issue to learn how to purchase your card or use your card at a Metro Kiosk.

International Director and Chesapeake Governor Victoria Davis and me (Chessie) have our SmarTrip cards and are ready to go!

Make sure to return to this newsletter after watching the Metro video, I've got more to share.......

Metro and Bus Trip Planner

The WMTA website has a feature called, "Trip Planner"


Just type in where you are and where you want to go. (make sure you check rail, bus or both). It will give you a tentative itinerary and approximate times.

Now, you are in DC and don't want to walk....

Here are some options to consider. NOTE: none of these options are covered under Civitan's insurance, nor are any of the activities mentioned. You might want to make sure that you have signed waivers/permission from parents before you leave home. We suggest you visit the website before you arrive and make your decisions ahead of time with your chaperones/group.


It's important to remember, you are in a major metropolitan city.

  • Secure your valuables. Do not put wallets, passports, cellphones, ID, etc in outer pockets of your backpack or purse
  • Don't carry large sums of cash
  • DO NOT WEAR your name badge outside of the hotel
  • Stay in groups, do not wander off
  • We suggest your group download a locator app, such as "Find My Friends" before you leave.Create a group and add all of your delegation. As long as the phone and gps/location are turned on you should be able to find each other
  • Make sure everyone knows the name and address of the hotel. Hyatt Regency Dulles, 2300 Dulles Corner Blvd, Herndon, VA. 703-713-1234
  • Make sure everyone in your group has each other's cell phone numbers
  • Do not go anywhere without your Chaperone's permission
  • Use common sense

Click this link to check-out my previous issue for more sightseeing and advance ticket info:


Visit DC's Visitors Bureau website


If you have questions or suggestions about the Greater Washington DC send an email to:

ChesapeakeJrCivitan@gmail.com or Emily@civitan.org


I CAN'T WAIT to welcome all the new Mascots to their first Convention! Marvin Manatee, from Florida, and I have some convention experience and travel tips that we'd like to share. But first, let's do some introductions:

  • Bucky the white-tail deer - South Carolina
  • Burt the bear - Alabama Central
  • Andre the regal eagle - Alabama North
  • Freddy the frog - Magnolia
  • Georgie the bull dog - Georgia
  • Ollie the otter - Mississippi North (he's a little shy)
  • Marvin the Manatee - Florida
  • Monty the Mountie moose - Canada West
  • Benny the bighorn sheep - Great Southwest
  • Beatrice the honey bee - NCDE
  • Sly the fox - Appalachian
  • Ringo the raccoon - Valley
  • Fred the cardinal - Cardinal.m -- not pictured
  • If you have a mascot and they aren't pictured or mentioned, please email a pic, the name of your mascot and district to: ChesapeakeJrCivitan@gmail.com before Convention please.

Mascot traveling tips

I've been around for a while and have traveled to both Junior and Civitan International & District Conventions, and I've picked up some traveling tips along the way.

FIRST, you'll want a suitcase if you have any clothes, toys or things you must bring with you. Here's a pic of my suitcase and some of the things I take with me, depending where I'm going. I do have golf clubs because I sometimes participate in the Civitan Golf Benefit, but I won't be needing those this trip

MOST IMPORTANTLY, I suggest that a RESPONSIBLE Junior Civitan is appointed to be your primary guardian during travel and throughout Convention. It's important that someone knows where you are at all times. I've found that sometimes our Junior Civitans get distracted and forget where they might have left us and who knows what kind of trouble we can get into; not to mention 'Stranger-Danger.'

Once you know who is responsible for you, here are some suggestions to safely travel with your Junior Civitans: (as you will see some of these are safe and some, not-so-much)

Make sure they feed you, give you lots of love and take lots of pictures with you.

Remember to use #jcivmascots

Mascots are required to register/check-in, so make sure your Junior Civitans bring you when they pick up their Convention packets.

Also, just a reminder about breakfast; it's not included with your room. The hotel does have a restaurant and there is a local deli in the office building across the street that serves breakfast Monday - Friday. Make sure you have chaperone permission to go to the deli. We suggest packing some travel-friendly breakfast foods.

See you all in a couple of weeks!!

A special Thank You to our Chesapeake Host District, Civitan Clubs, individual Civitans, and FCIDD for their support and donations.

Created By
Chessie Chesapeake


Created with images from: Pexels; Prince William County; Trip Advisor; Pixaby, Time Looper; DC by Foot; WMATA; DC Ducks, International Spy Museum; Smithsonian; Big Bus Tour; Potomac River Boat Co; Trip Savy

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