By Ashley Hatch, CO Staff Writer

John Ball, one of the six CONA presiding officers, has an extensive resume that includes attending Harvard University. He grew up in central Ohio near Columbus. There, he was heavily involved in swimming programs. He heard about the Youth and Government program through his school, but had no idea that YAG and the YMCA were connected. He soon realized that both programs embrace the YMCA’s mission for education and healthy living.

Ball loves being able to engage in debate. Being a political minority at his school in 2008, he was excited to start debating with people at Youth and Government. For new delegates, Ball tells the story of how he combined proposals with someone he deemed a genius, former PO Chantel Williams (2015). He was super nervous, and he had no idea if he should even talk. He wants delegates to know that this experience helped him find his strengths and provided him with a friendship.

This week on the Mountain, Ball wants to feel the Blue Ridge Spirit by interacting with the delegates, learning about their passions and taking home some of their stories.

Ball is not completely sure what his future holds. He would like to spend a few years after college writing, hoping to someday become a professional writer. Law school may be in Ball’s future, but he would really like to work for a nonprofit in D.C. for a while (possibly the National Alliance on Mental Illness or the American Civil Liberties Union). He wants to work in something he is passionate about and encourages others to do the same.