Earlier this month, hundreds of young people came together at the Y Blue Ridge Leaders’ School in the mountains of North Carolina for the Conference On National Affairs (CONA), an annual gathering of Y Youth & Government participants from across the U.S.

CONA Selfie 2023

For those unfamiliar with Y Youth & Government (Y&G), it’s a program in each state providing high school students with hands-on opportunities to learn and experience the fundamentals of democracy. Each year, representatives from 40 state delegations attend CONA, where they write, debate and vote on proposals that address national concerns.

Recent Aberdeen High School graduate Carlo Adanar, an 18-year-old Y in Central Maryland Youth & Government leader, was just one of the many talented young people who attended the conference as part of the Maryland delegation. He joined Youth & Government in 2020 and hasn’t looked back since.

Carlo shares that “Youth & Government has given me more awareness of how politics and government work and has helped me learn and understand the process of how legislation is passed.” This year, Carlo wrote a proposal on regulating the use of artificial intelligence in the health insurance industry. It went all the way to the Y&G general assembly.

As well as learning about the ins and outs of government, the program opens eyes and expands perspectives. Carlos adds, “One of my favorite things is getting to interact with people from around the country and hear their different perspectives and different views on important issues. I made some really great friends.”

Congratulations to all the youth who participated and a big thanks to Zalanka Jones Anderson (Sr. Director, Y Teen Experience) and all of the Y volunteers and associates who made this year’s program such a success! Their collective enthusiasm, intelligence, thirst for knowledge, and sense of civic purpose is a true inspiration.

If you'd like to know more about Y Youth & Government, please click here.

MMU CONA Collage 2023

All the best,

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John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland