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By Aleja Newman, TX
Staff Writer
Thursday morning was the last CLC meeting for the Conference on National Affairs of 2013. The CLC members and presiding officers (POs) spoke of many concerns and compliments throughout the week, but this meeting was to seal the deal on any changes. The CLC was asked to submit any desired changes to the Mountain Manual for this morning’s meeting so they could be discussed and voted on. A proposal needed a four-fifths majority vote to pass. The first CLC to speak was Peter Dudziak from Minnesota. Dudziak suggested the word “only” be inserted before the word “Pro” that on Page 9; Section VI.  A.5.d.iii. Dudziak brought to light that there can be confusion between delegates and a clarification could prevent any future misperceptions. The author only had one minute to present and pro/com speakers only had thirty seconds. There wasn’t any opposition to this proposal, and Amber Stull from Indiana agreed that this proposal would clear up concerns. Another proposal that was passed recommended that when delegates have an audible vote they should stand as well; and if the chair decides that a division is needed he or she may do so. It was a shock when PO Ed Sharood spoke pro for the proposal. Sharood said that it would make voting more clear and accurate. This method could also save time. Other topics discussed, but not passed, were bringing back debatability and adding creativity to the rubric of how proposals are scored. Debatability was brought up by Erin Agnew of Pennslyvania.  Agnew asked that debatability be brought back because “that’s what this conference is about” and debate makes the conference fun. However, Rowan Reid of KY, stated that the delegate should be seen for their merit. Creativity was suggested to replace originality by Jen Mandelblatt, MUN, so that delegates are rated on their suggestions rather than the main idea of the proposal. In spite of this optimistic suggestion, Keagan Phares, OK, spoke con and stated that creativity is “vague” and that peoplehave many different interpretations. Even though these some proposals passed, they still need to be reviewed by the Planning Committee, so we will all have to wait in anticipation for the 2014 Mountain Manual.

Alanna Mustin, PA

Many students feel like they lose something near and dear to their hearts after high school in terms of  youth activism. In March of 2012, Pennsylvania YMCA State Director Lydia Mitchell, with the help of many dedicated others, created a program for these students: College YIG. Pennsylvania runs the program which had 77 members at their first inauguration. The seminar is a mock national government, just like YIG, and allows networking with likeminded people with a common goal of advancing the program.

Mitchell was one of those high school students who held youth activism close to their hearts after being a member of YIG.

“I believe that we should continue the mission of engaging the program’s alumni after high school because they’re a huge part of it,” Mitchell explained, “they help with internships and connections later in life for other members.”

The program was established after many college students told YIG program directors how badly they wanted to continue debating even after high school. One of those soon to be college students is Pennsylvania delegate Erik Rauterkus who is going to attend Swarthmore College for economics. Rauterkus was a member of Youth and Government for four years and was elected Youth Governor in hislast year.

“I loved the experiences YAG gave me in high school,” said Rauterkus. “I just hope College YIG will help me continue to grow into a well informed and better person.” One of the parts of College YIG Rauterkus is most excited for is getting to see all the friends he made at  CONA from all over the country again in just a few months.

If anyone is interested in more information on College YIG including: delegate registration, internships, chapters, and much more check out

Ali Renckens, Editor-in-Chief

Most of us dream of being like a fire: bright, impactful, and powerful. That is why we are here, right? To spark ideas so that we can change our country?

Last night, it was raining. It was cold. I was standing alone in the dark, trying to clear my spinning head. Out of nowhere, I saw a little flash. It was a firefly, its tiny light burning through the cold drizzle.

This has been an incredible week. But perhaps you feel a little disappointed in yourself, like you could have pushed yourself further or passed up an opportunity that may not present itself again.

These bleak drips can extinguish the joy of CONA. Instead of focusing on everything that went wrong or you could have done better, capture little, precious moments in a jar, like a smile, congratulations, or spirit fingers. And be sure to thank the people who created these small, significant moments.

After the debates are over, when we return to our respective states, these “little things” are what people remember the most. Naturally, we want to be blazing bonfires, but maybe if we bring home the smaller things, the little lightning bugs that happened here, we will glow bright enough to light up the world.

By Marianne Sayamath CT, Social Media Director

In a blink of an eye, the 2013 Conference on National Affairs is over and we are all boarding a bus or plane heading home. Let us not dwell on the fact that this conference may havebeen the last one for some of us, but look back at all the great things about this conference.

  • During breakfast, lunch, or dinner, no one will say, “No, you can’t sit with us.”
  • On Tuesday, CONA wears seersucker
  • Raising your placard if you have ever been personally moved by a delegate’s proposal

It can be a few days, weeks, months or even years when we think about the Conference on National Affairs again, but we always know how amazing and special this conference is. If Gretchen Weiners attended this conference and was asked about it, we all know she would certainly claim that CONA is “so fetch.”

Ali Renckens, Editor-in-Chief
Every day, CONA delegates climb mountains together. Not just the deadly slope between Lee Hall and the Blue Ridge Center, but mountains that most teenagers do not care or even know about.

From the foot of the mountain, it looks unconquerable. There are so many problems that are beyond our control, yet, with legislation and debate, we attempt to fix them. Why do we try to climb these mountains?

We climb the mountain to learn to help each other up. We climb the mountain because it has been placed in our path. We climb the mountain because, together, we can.

However, it is not until after we struggle to the top that we can realize what a beautiful place the mountain is. Side-by-side, we stare out at a distant world, blanketed in green growth and new life. It is not until later, as we walk down the mountain, that we can enjoy the wild, yet serene beauty of the place we dreaded just a few moments before.

We help each other up the mountain. And, together, we become like the mountain.




Paige Hughes

By: Eriech Tapia Oklahoma

Name and How many years at CONA

Paige Hughes and this is my 5th year at CONA

College, where and what for are you going for?

Manhattan College and I’m majoring in communications.

What is your favorite hobby?

Playing soccer.

What is your favorite trait in a person?

I really look for a person who is trustworthy and can laugh.

What is your least favorite food?


If you could take Bob McGaughey anywhere, would it be?

Chick-Fil-A, because we go there a lot and he knows I like it.

Who is your favorite person at CONA this year?

Trevor Person and all the delegates.