While more than 600 delegates from 39 states have the opportunity to be selected and attend the YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs, it is a rare privilege to be one of the six invited after your YIG high school career to help govern the next year’s conference.  They are chosen by their fellow delegates and the P.O. Selection Committee based on their distinguished passion, leadership and performance. Grace Miller, who will serve as Wednesday’s Presiding Officer of the day, provided us with a more in-depth view on being a P.O. at CONA.

“I’m really here to make sure that each individual delegate has the best experience possible, finds what they’re looking for and finds the best version of themselves here on this mountain,” Grace said. “It’s such an honor for me, because this mountain was a life-changing experience for me, and it’s amazing to be a part of that experience for other people.”

During her time in YIG, Grace served as Florida’s Senate President and Lieutenant Governor. Attending CONA for the fourth time as a presiding officer, she is able to share advice and her own personal input about the experience to current and future delegates.

“Look around, take a deep breath, and realize how lucky we are to be here. We are quite literally the young people our parents talk about who will correct their mistakes and make this world a better place…you are so much more than worthy of being here, in this moment, right now.”

Grace Miller, Opening Ceremony

“I think the hike is one of the best parts of CONA,” Grace said, “There’s a lot of symbolism in getting to the top of the mountain and being able to look out over everything and find yourself.”

Grace is currently attending the University of Richmond in Virginia. While she is not yet set on one career for the future, she has taken advantage of many opportunities at college and welcomes any ideas.

Grace is majoring in political science, business management consulting and journalism. “I either want to go into news media or maybe local consulting, I’m not really sure. I’m just really exploring as much as I can in college,” she explained.

Copy of Grace Miler_by Caroline Bell

Grace Miller addresses delegates at opening ceremony. PHOTO by Caroline Bell, NC

To Grace, being a presiding officer is not only a duty to facilitate but something she loves doing.

“What brings me back is that it’s so refreshing,” Grace said. “It’s so amazing to be in a room where you know that everyone around you cares as much about this country and its people as you do. Being able to have these open, constructive conversations with people without being worried about your opinions being different from someone else’s allows you to have genuine conversations. Especially with the political climate now, coming here is so refreshing.”

By Gloria Ogunlade, TX

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