Each summer, state YMCA Youth and Government programs send delegations of students to serve as representatives of their programs at the YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs (CONA). The weeklong conference is held at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in North Carolina that serves as the nationwide culmination for each of the YMCA Youth and Government programs around the country. The conference brings together the top students from many state programs to debate proposals on issues facing our nation and world.
CONA was started in 1968 as a follow-up to the outstanding state programs in Youth and Government conducted by YMCAs throughout the United States. Youth from over 35 states participate in the Conference. This program offers an opportunity for a student to research in the area of national and international concerns, organize this information into a proposal proposal, engage in intensive discussion, and debate these proposals with outstanding young people from other states.
The specific objectives of the conference include:
- To gain an awareness of national concerns and issues.
- To increase understanding of Federal government and its relations to state, national, and international matters.
- To have and use a means for communicating concerns about national affairs to appropriate persons and groups at federal government levels.
- To develop an increased understanding of needs, responsibilities, and opportunities.
- To work creatively together with young adults and adults.
- To help youth and adults to better understand and strengthen their values for living through the Christian objectives of the YMCA.
Students desiring to participate in CONA must have participated in the most recent Kansas YMCA Youth and Government State Conference. Also, each youth delegate must prepare a proposal on a matter of national or international concern. This proposal must not exceed two pages, which equals approximately 60 lines of text or 1000 words. The proposal must express the views of the author. Proposals focus on solutions to problems and issues of importance to our nation.
The YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs (CONA) is held at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly located in Black Mountain, North Carolina. The YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly was established in 1906 as an interdenominational Christian conference and training center by Dr. Willis D. Weatherford. Nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains near Asheville, North Carolina, YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly is a full-service conference center situated on 1,200 acres of woodland beautified by mountain streams, wildflowers, ridges, valleys and spectacular views.