By Marianne Sayamath CT, Social Media Director

How many of us can say that we have found a fellow delegate that has similar taste in politics, music or even food? Probably most of us. CONA brings together delegates who would never meet had it not been for this conference.

One of the YMCA core values is caring. “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Galatians 5:14. Delegates experience this value through friendships formed throughout the conference. During the week, delegates have the opportunity to bond with many other delegates from across the country as well as their own delegations.

Jenna Milliner-Waddell of Model United Nations says that she has mostly bonded with other members of her own delegation. “I knew of them, but being here on the mountain and having round table with them allowed me to really get to know them. We’re just a big family.” Milliner-Waddell further commented on how she feels about bonding with her fellow delegates: “It makes me feel really good. I feel the community and love in the air.” She is not alone in feeling a sense of ubiquitous camaraderie.

Not only do delegates bond with others from their own delegation, but some also bond with others from differing states. Erin Engelmann of New York met a delegate from Texas in Third Committee and sat next to her new acquaintance during the General Assembly. Engelmann reports that they shared great ideas on proposals and that it was awesome help to each other; she thinks it is great that people from different regions can hold similar views and share them in a manner that both effectively conveys meaning behind them and facilitates debate.

Having viewpoints on topics that differ from those of other delegates should not act as deterrence to the potential to bond with them. It’s about “respecting each other’s ideas,” and if you can do that, you can create lasting bonds with a collection of people who hold drastically different values.