YMCA Conference on National Affairs (CONA)


The YMCA’s Conference on National Affairs (CONA) is a national version of Youth & Government. YMCA CONA started in 1968 in Stone Mountain, GA.  This conference gives high school students from across the country the opportunity to research, present, and debate issues of national and international importance. For six days, students surround themselves with the breathtaking scenery and intellectual environment of Black Mountain, North Carolina. At the conference, delegates will present and debate proposals they have previously prepared with fellow delegates from across the nation. A proposal, similar to a bill, is a well thought out idea for national or international change. CONA is an opportunity to meet students from across the country who share your passion of making a difference in your community.

CONA takes place each summer during the first week of July at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, NC. Approximately 700 high school students from YMCA Youth & Government programs across the country participate in CONA each year.  The YMCA DC Youth & Government program takes approximately 10 students to CONA each year.

DC Delegation at CONA 2022, Black Mountain, NC

YMCA DC Youth & Government delegates to CONA are selected at the conclusion of the Legislative Weekend conference.  Recipients display exemplary skills in diplomacy and performance in debate, are generally well-rounded, courteous individuals willing to assist their fellow delegates while exhibiting strong debate, speaking, and research skills, and demonstrate a high-level of maturity of character, poise under pressure, courtesy to fellow delegates, advisors, and guests.

Students increase their odds of going to CONA by actively engaging and participating at the state conference. All students interested in attending CONA must apply to be considered. For more information, contact the Program Director Lindsey Pullum: [email protected].

To learn more about CONA please go to ymcacona.org