PlacardsBy Sonay Barazesh, NJ
BRJ Staff Writer
For almost five decades, hundreds of delegates have gathered at the Blue Ridge Assembly to partake in the Conference on National Affairs. Any delegate who has attended CONA can vouch for the unique experience of this week, which includes iconic Eureka Treats, seersucker suits and the “Blue Ridge Spirit.” This year marks the 48th conference. Up to 25 delegates from each of 40 states will gather. A record 772 delegates and adults from all over the country are expected to be in attendance this year. What makes CONA such a special experience is arguably the different delegates and world events each year. New Jersey Youth Governor Nick Pellitta will be attending his third conference this year and feels that every CONA he has attended was unique. “The Blue Ridge Spirit manifests itself in different ways almost every year,” he said. “Last year saw the World Cup going on during conference and being able to watch a USA game with a ton of other delegates and cheer together really brought us together.”
Last year’s conference was certainly memorable for Pellitta and many other delegates, but historically, there has been something different about every year. For example, in 1988, a French delegation attended the conference and, in 1989, a Soviet delegation attended as well. Throughout the years, CONA has expanded to include a consistent Model United Nations delegation and District of Columbia delegation.
While this year’s conference will make CONA history in its own unique way, some aspects of the mountain remain consistent year after year. As “Carolina in the Morning” plays at every crack of dawn and as delegates chat over Eureka treats, guests at the Blue Ridge Assembly know that the 48th year of conference will stay in the memory of delegates for years to come.