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YMCA of Austin

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Area High School Students Participate in Prestigious YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs

Austin, TX, July 02, 2014 --( Four Austin-area high school students traveled to Black Mountain, North Carolina this weekend to participate in the YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs (CONA.) The conference began on June 28, 2014 at the YMCA Blue Ridge Conference Center and will end on July 3, 2014.

Addison Denslow, 17, who is home-schooled, Noah Genovesi, 17, a recent Austin High School graduate, Mary Floreani, 16, a junior at Wimberly High School, and MaKayla Goertz, 16, a junior at Bastrop High School were chosen to be Texas delegates at this prestigious, week-long event. Students from 30 states are selected to participate in this conference based on their performance in local and state YMCA Youth & Government programs.

Participants prepare proposals which are then presented, debated, and scored, according to their national or international importance, evidence of research, feasibility, presentation, and originality. CONA started in 1968 as a follow-up to the outstanding Youth & Government programs conducted by YMCAs throughout the United States.

“This year at the conference, I am really looking forward to gaining more insight on today's current events and debates, while meeting new people,” said CONA veteran MaKayla Goertz. “I would also love to talk to all the governors and leaders to hear some words of wisdom, because CONA has inspired me to run for governor of Texas's Youth and Government.”

The purpose of CONA is to offer rare hands-on opportunities for young people to conduct research in the area of national and international concerns, to organize this information into a document proposal, to engage in intensive discussion, and to debate these proposals with outstanding young people from other states.

Addison Denslow is also a veteran of CONA, and will be returning for his third and final year. “Over the past years that I have attended CONA I have noticed that even though you are able to make fantastic memories, gain speech, debate and research experience, the connections you make there are what really sticks with you,” said Denslow. “I have met young men and women from all over the country and I have had the opportunities to forge life-long relationships with them.”

Advisers and past participants in the conference are unanimous in their belief that this experience makes a vital contribution to helping citizens learn more about the democratic form of government. CONA is an extraordinary conference that offers students the opportunity to conduct research, organize information into a document proposal, engage in debates, and enables students to discuss proposals with outstanding young people from other states.

The YMCA Youth and Government Program also offers another event to help develop teenagers into responsible citizens. The National Judicial Competition (NJC) will be held from July 30, 2014 to August 2, 2014. This event brings together Youth and Government participants from around the country to face off in mock trial and appellate competitions. There will be participants representing the Austin area from Ann Richards School and Del Valley High School at the competition.

The YMCA Youth and Government program works with middle and high school students interested in state government. The Y partners with 15 high schools in the Austin area to provide an afterschool club where members can choose to participate in legislative, media or state affairs forums.

To learn more about YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs (CONA) and the National Judicial Competition (NJC) or YMCA Youth and Government, contact Missy Quintela at 512-236-9622 or

About the YMCA of Austin:

The YMCA of Austin is a nonprofit organization that has served the Austin community since 1953, providing health and wellness, aquatics, youth sports, day camp, childcare, youth leadership and family enrichment opportunities for more than 64,000 members and 60,000 program participants. More information on the YMCA of Austin is available at
Contact Information
YMCA of Austin
Leilani Perry
512-322-9622 ext. 137

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