Ten students from the YMCA of Delaware Youth In Government program participated in the YMCA Conference on National Affairs (CONA) in Black Mountain, North Carolina earlier this month. CONA, which started in 1968, helps young adults gain awareness of national concerns and issues, increase their understanding of the Federal Government, and work creatively to find solutions together. At the conference, more than 550 students from 34 states prepared proposals addressing national issues to be presented and debated among peers across the country. YMCA of Delaware participants discussed issues ranging from regulating deepfakes, to establishing relations with Cuba, to preventing workplace discrimination for African-American hair. While Delaware students represent less than 2% of conference attendees, they make a big splash each year. During this year’s event Arianna Li, Nathan Cho and Tristan O’Leary’s proposals made it to third committee and earned opportunities to make intent speeches in the General Assembly. O’Leary received a Distinguished Delegate Award, Sophie Douglas received an Outstanding Statesman award, and Dylan Thomas was chosen as an alternate Presiding Officer for the 2024 conference. In addition to her award-winning performance at CONA, Sophie Douglas, the YMCA of Delaware’s 2024 Youth Governor received the first ever “Sarah McBride Award” named for the Delaware State Senator running for a seat in the U.S. Congress.