DSC_0040By Leah Schweibinz, NC
Staff Writer
Our presiding officers for the 2015 YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs have great expectations for this week.
Prior to coming to the conference, The Blue Ridge Journal asked each of the six presiding officers about those expectations. Throughout the week, BRJ will help you get to know your presiding officers.
PATRICK FLANIGAN
“I am very excited for my week on the Mountain. I am excited to see the delegates interact and enforce the rules laid out by our great Mountain Manual. I consider it a very high honor, and I hope to live up to the honor bestowed upon me.”
BEN JACKSON
“I am really looking forward to what will be an uniquely special week. CONA is more than a government conference, it is a celebration of debate, fellowship,understanding and lifelong memories. CONA is a time to reconnect with old friendships and forge new ones. I am so excited to have the opportunity to come back and serve a conference that has meant so much to me and helped influence who I am today.”
BEN LAZEBNIK
“Every presiding officer from my years as a delegate facilitated brilliant discussions on important issues. Moreover, they were able to set an inclusive, thoughtful and positive tone for our conference while still letting delegates take the lead. At the end of the day, it’s all about doing what I can to make sure that everyone has the best possible experience. Knowing my fellow presiding officers, and knowing the types of people who attend CONA every year, it honestly shouldn’t be too hard to help make great things happen at the Blue Ridge Assembly. I can’t wait.”
CAROLINE TERVO
“I’m so excited to be returning to the mountain for my fifth and final year. I hope I can help create a conference that will do justice to my own incredible experience, and I’m honored to have the chance to accomplish that with Ben, Ben, Patrick, Shantell and Nicole. They are all amazing people, and it is truly a privilege to serve with them.”
SHANTELL WILLIAMS
“I’m going back to the Mountain as a PO, so I’m not frantically researching all the proposal topics I know nothing about, as I’m sure many of you are. The excitement and anticipation I’ve felt every year is the same. However, my focus has shifted to the experience of the delegates. I’m so excited to see you all forming new relationships, broadening your views and questioning others and yourself. Of course, I’m looking forward to the CONA pride, seeing delegates race (speed walk) to the microphone and the placards of all those waiting to share raised high. There is also a healthy dose of nerves: I mean speaking in front of you all is not for the faint of heart!”
NICOLE ZATORSKI
“CONA has been a transformative experience for me. The sense of community and the Blue Ridge Spirit not only enhanced my ability to debate, but also taught me the value of remaining open minded. I am really looking forward to serving the conference this year, and in doing so, helping others benefit from the wonderful experience that is CONA.”
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