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Hands-on Learning In Washington D.C.
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The next Close Up trip will be in February 11-16, 2018.  See the informational slide show at the bottom of this page.
Close Up is a fast paced and interactive programs offering exciting, challenging and unforgettable activities while breathing in all DC has to offer. From famous landmarks to meeting government officials, Close Up not only allows you to see your government, but to also experience it.  Washington D.C. is the backdrop for Close Up as students participate in small group workshops of 15-20, come face-to-face with leading policy experts, members of Congress and influential lobbyists during question and answer sessions and for workshops.  Students participate in debates and simulations.  They interact with students from across the country representing diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. 
Comments from former Southwest Close Up participants and parents:
  • My top things about Close Up included making new friends with diverse perspectives from all around the country; getting to know SW students better; and getting inside the world of politics--being fully immersed in it--from the lobbyist seminar to Capitol Hill day to the embassy visit. I also enjoyed exploring the Smithsonian Museums and visiting neighborhoods like Dupont Circly and Georgetown.  Will 2018

  • Close Up was an amazing program...the amount of positivity emerging from all the kids caused me to break out of my shell and participate. I learned so many new things and saw almost every aspect of DC that most others don't get to see. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity.   Joniesha 2016

  • I loved Close Up! I experienced so much in Washington. Meeting kids from across the country was awesome and we made friends from California, Louisana and Colorado.  This really has been a life changing experience.  Joe 2016

  • The time spent on Capitol Hill really had an impact on my daughter and the “theoretical” became “real".  As a constituent, she is exposed to those who represent her in Congress through the local news media - but meeting these individuals in person seemed to give her a new perspective - that these are real people, not just names in the newspaper or on TV, and they are doing a job.  And sometimes that job is a little weird, like when Amy Klobuchar spoke on the Senate floor and there were only three or four other Senators present. And the Senate Finance Committee grilling the director of the IRS - she was amazed to learn that there can be serious mismanagement in the government.  Another wonderful benefit of going on this trip was the opportunity to get to know other students at SWHS whom she would not necessarily have become acquainted with otherwise.  She was also quite interested to observe regional differences among the other groups of students in terms of how they behaved towards each other and “outsiders”.  Joyce, parent of 2016 participant

  • The Close Up trip to DC opened my eyes to a more conservative point of view and reminded me that good people can have political differences. I also learned more about the way our government works than I ever have in a classroom. Great trip.  Lauritz 2016

  • The Close Up trip was an extraordinary experience for my son. So many experiences excited him that he called and texted frequently during the trip. He appreciated that being so close to the action was a stunning privilege and came away not only with a better understanding of the legislative process, but also of the individuals representing him on Captiol Hill. Bob, parent of 2016 participant.

  • Close Up for me was a GREAT experience!  Meeting people from different backgrounds and opinions was one of the best things to experience for someone that has been in one single area around the U.S. Close Up will be an unforgettable part of my life, as I got to know more about how the government works and also visiting historical monuments.  Josue 2016

  • “Close Up had an impact on me that no book ever could have given me. Seeing the "real life" politics in person can move a person’s general interest in politics and what could be done if a person has the drive to get something done.  Close Up is for anyone who wants to expand their horizon and knowledge of how policies are made for the people and how they impact different people. It’s an amazing life changing experience that nothing compares too”
  • Another former participant wrote “Being a part of Close Up Washington DC was by far the most memorable program I participated in during high school. I learned so much about our government and history though Close-Up. Close-Up is a truly distinctive program and is a unique learning experience. It is amazing to get the opportunity to physically be present in the place you’re learning about.   Upon the completion of this program, I felt more determined and more passionate to pursue a career that incorporated aspects of American Government. I would recommend Close-Up to any student because it is essential to understand how our system of government functions and Close –Up educates its participants in an engaging and fun way.”  
  • Parents of a former Southwest Close Up participant says “As parents we are so impressed with the work that Close-Up does. It is amazing that this program is offered to high school students. Our daughter had a positive experience when it came to the quality of the trip. We are also blown away with how much she knows about government.  If this program was offered to adults we would be the first to participate.”  
For more information please contact Ms. Caroline Hooper



PDF Close Up 2018   --  Informational Slide Show