By: Ashley Fisher, Indiana 


After all of the state flags had been posted, the U.S. flag was presented as "America the Beautiful" played during the opening ceremonies.

Today’s opening remarks began when a delegate from each state attending the conference brought out his respective flag, and the song “Stars and Stripes Forever” played in the background. After the state flags, the American flag was presented to the song, “America the Beautiful”. 

                The next thing that occurred at opening ceremonies were speeches by important leaders within the YMCA and CONA. In attendance was the assembly director, Kurt Ekle, who gave a wonderful presentation on how the Blue Ridge Center was founded. Also in attendance was the conference director, Bob McGaughey. He spoke about the conference and some of the rules of the center that keep delegates returning year after year. In his speech he said, “In this group of Delegates, I see possible future leaders,” inspiring many delegates to push themselves this week.

                Finally, the Presiding Officers for the 2011 Conference on National Affairs spoke to the delegates. All six of them delivered personal speeches which were meant to not only give us words of wisdom, but to inspire us to “look inward” as Timmy Clark from Texas said. The other Presiding Officers who spoke were Joe Gipson, Stephanie Pinkalla, Ryan Ray, Ikechukwu Umez-Eronini, and Kate Wagner.