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The Conference on National Affairs

The Conference on National Affairs, CONA, is a nationwide conference that, currently, forty-two states participate in and look forward to experiencing. The conference is held at the Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, North Carolina Youth and Government brought twenty-three out of the allowed twenty-five delegates to the mountain this year. The delegates construct a proposal and then present in committees, debate ideas, and make connections with new people. CONA is the highlight of everyone’s summer, not only because the amount of knowledge learn, but also, the lifelong friendships that are made. There is also a media program that delegates can apply to be in. This year, North Carolina has two delegates partaking in the challenge. The media team’s job is to connect everyone at the conference with each other and their families back home through social media, broadcast, photography, and print.

Every year on the mountain includes life changing events and incredible friendships that you cannot find anywhere else.

Cooper Edmunds, a delegate returning to CONA for his fourth and final year on the mountain, says, “I wanted to come back to give the first years the experience that the veterans gave me when I was a freshman.” Cooper comes back to the mountain to be involved in the incredible conference and to make sure the new first year delegates get the same exposure to the world of CONA that he did three years ago.

Corinne Miller, a first year delegate, says because Youth and Government was her first exposure to how government functioned. She began considering going into the government for her future after her Youth and Government experiences. CONA was her segway to getting to participate in even more government styled conferences. She also stated that she had a lot of bill ideas that she wanted to write but she needed more time, and with CONA she could write more of what she wanted.

Whether they are a first year delegate or a returning senior, CONA is a life altering chance to see how the minds of teenagers in the United States think about nationwide and international issues.