By Kyle Denman, Ohio

Staff Writer

The Blue Ridge Spirit: an indescribable attitude ascertained by delegates during their times at CONA. The Blue Ridge Spirit is different for everyone; whether you’re discovering as a first year delegate, a returning veteran, or a wizened advisor. Not only is the recognition of spirit different, but so are the expectations of various people as they arrive on the mountain for the forty fifth Conference on National Affairs.

When asked what she expected this week before coming, first year delegate Erin Frey of the Kentucky delegation stated, “I definitely did not expect the friendliness of people.  I expected it to be the typical mix of people who actually care about issues and want to make change versus those people who want to show off how good they are.”  However, after she arrived on the mountain, she said, “It seems like the competition is nonexistent.”

Kevin Hornbeck of Missouri is on the mountain for the fourth time.  Before arriving, he expected to, “catch the Blue Ridge Spirit again.”  For him, the exciting part is that CONA feels like home, which is something to which many people here can relate.  Furthermore, he stated, “It’s a blessing to be here in the first place.  I’m most looking forward to the mixture of making new friends and catching up with old friends.”

First year advisor Nathan Gumbiner of Ohio expects his delegates to take the fabled Spirit and things they’ve learned back with them.  “They can impact their communities.”

All in all, the atmosphere at the Blue Ridge Assembly is welcoming to new delegates and familiar to veterans.  Expectations are as high as the temperature, as people, delegates and advisors alike, look forward to discovering and reacquainting themselves with the Blue Ridge Spirit.