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On the outside looking in

By: Anders Ljung

North Carolina YMCA Youth and Government is clearly a very exciting event for all delegates and advisors who attend. Although NC Y&G is very organized, there are times where the vast amounts of teenagers roaming around can be chaotic. For instance, many delegates must wait 15 minutes to get on an elevator or have to stand in a Jimmy John’s line streaming into the road. While this slows down delegates’ days, it drastically affects the professionals working in Downtown Raleigh.

Hotel workers at the Sheraton and the Marriot witness the NC Y&G Conference every year and the number of kids that come to conference completely shake up the system. “The amount of people in the hotel actually isn’t that bad. It might seem chaotic to you guys but it really isn’t that big of a deal for us. The worst part is the clean up after. I am so thankful for our cleaning staff because they go through so many rooms after the conference,” Sheraton Hotel Receptionist Tyler Chavis said.

Even though NC Y&G brings many difficulties, it does have its benefits. “With all of the kids here we sell a lot in our gift and food shops. When NC Y&G opens their gift shops here we are allowed to work for them too. Last night I worked at the gift shop for the convention selling t-shirts, and made $100 in cash in only 30 minutes,” Chavis said. 

When asked what she thought about the conference, Jazzmine McKnight, a hotel receptionist at the Marriott, said, ”I enjoy seeing all the kids here to learn, it’s really cute. Their presence doesn’t cause any chaos and is really pleasant. I look forward to seeing the kids roam the streets of Downtown Raleigh every year.”

Aside from hotels, many other establishments become insanely crowded as the conference takes over Downtown Raleigh. Since there are only a couple of restaurants to choose from, each place receives a flood of delegates at lunchtime. The busiest restaurant is the Starbucks in the Marriott because many delegates purchase coffee throughout the day. “[NC] Y&G is always something we have to be somewhat prepared for. We always check and make sure before big conventions, marches or parades that we have enough goods to sustain and provide to everyone. Even though there are a lot of people it’s still rewarding and we obviously make more money and tips,” Barista Maria Roberts said. 

NC Y&G clearly affects the locals and workers in the area just as much as delegates.  Even though the conference brings in a large crowd, it is evident that the workers and citizens of Downtown Raleigh are a vital part of the North Carolina YMCA Youth and Government Conference.