A key component of the YMCA is its promotion of youth development, especially as a member of a community. By acquainting delegates with the legislative process and affording them the opportunity to interact with students from across America, programs like the Conference on National Affairs embody this goal.
“Seeing everyone’s different ideas and how much they really respect each other has helped me to respect other people for what they believe in,” commented Texan Michael Kmetz. The civic experience offered by CONA provides a unique opportunity for teenagers to learn about government involvement. Roughly 600 CONA delegates and thousands of YAG/YIG delegates nationwide explore their counterparts’ diverse views while discovering their own stances.
“It’s helped me understand people,” said Mohammed Jagana from Washington. “Being able to see other people’s perspective means I’m not judging. Actually approaching an understanding helps me be more open minded.”
Serving as an officer at CONA presents a unique opportunity to grow. On the mountain,delegates who serve as chairs,Conference Life Committee representatives, or media officers work with their peers while learning to improve their own characters. “Being an officer at CONA has given me confidence,” reflected New Mexico delegate Nathan Cowan “This really put me into my element and I really appreciate it.”