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The Beginning of the End

By: Parker Watson

Thursday night, all of the delegations of North Carolina YMCA Youth and Government assembled in the Raleigh Convention Center for the exciting Opening Ceremony of this year’s NC Y&G conference. The session marks the opening of the most anticipated night of any delegate’s year; excitement coursed through the crowd as they found their seats and focused their attention on the stage.

Governor Pearce Lewis welcomed all of the delegates to this year’s conference, formally beginning all activities. Lewis led the room in the pledge of allegiance to officially begin.

The Welcome Session marked the first NC Y&G event for many delegates who are new to the program, like Gwen Petty from West Forsyth High school. “Well this is my first year, so I’m just excited to have the experience for the first time,” said Petty during the ceremony. Opening Ceremony is many new delegates’ and freshmen’s first look at NC Y&G and sets the tone for the rest of the session, making it one of the most crucial parts of the whole weekend.

Lewis introduced the State Manager for the entire NC YMCA Youth and Government program: Leigh Dauchert. Dauchert outlined the rules and boundaries that must be observed every year in order to keep delegates safe. She also reminded attendees in a memorable phrase that “rest is best!”

The session featured an inspiring moment for any delegate that loves government: a video message from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. Cooper visited the conference during the 2019 session but still made an effort this year to encourage all of the delegates here at conference to make a difference.

Zayne Perkins, a senior from the Seagull/Seafarer delegation, was particularly inspired by the Governor’s message. “That’s the biggest thing about the future: educating the next generation. That way, when we are in that position, we know what to do and know how to act,” said Perkins.

North Carolina politicians like Roy Cooper have a history of encouraging and helping the delegates of NC Y&G. For example, this year delegates in the Legislative branch will have the opportunity to pass legislation in the North Carolina Legislative building itself.

Opening Ceremony was also everyone’s first look at the new governor candidates for the 2021 session: Connor Cabot and Amir Shaheen. Both candidates played their campaign videos and gave their first speech. Connor Cabot began and was followed by Amir Shaheen. Both candidates took a seat after their speech to rousing applause. For more information, check out the article, “Meet your 2021 Governor Candidates.”                                                         

Lewis’ greeting and the introduction of the new governor candidates marks the beginning of this year’s electoral process and the real beginning of conference.