The Edmond Sun

July 26, 2013

Local YMCA Youth in Government students return from conference

Special to The Sun

OKLA. CITY — Recently 25 Oklahoma high school students attended the Conference on National Affairs (CONA), in Black Mountain, N.C., at the YMCA Conference Center. The trip was an eight-day trip that included everything from meeting lifetime friends to experiencing how the government works. The conference lasted from June 29 to July 4.

“I was very ecstatic that I was able to debate my favorite topic, especially amongst people from all across the nation,” said Gage Robelen of Westmoore High School. “It was good to learn other sides to the problems that may lie within my own proposal.”

This was the first year that the Oklahoma delegation had a person voted as a presiding officer for the conference. Libby Wuller of Stillwater High School was selected to come back as a presiding officer next year, in which she will preside over committees and help plan CONA.

“I’m beyond excited to be chosen to be an officer,” Wuller said. “This position has given me the confidence to pursue my passion.” She is the outgoing youth governor.

Along with Wuller’s achievements as presiding officer, she and JD Baker of Edmond Santa Fe High School received an outstanding statesman award. Baker is the incoming lieutenant governor. Also, Kristine Johnson of Edmond Memorial High School received one of the outstanding written proposal awards.

The Y’s Youth in Government program is a national program that involves thousands of teens nationwide in state-organized, model-government programs. Students from across the state have the opportunity to immerse themselves in experiential civic engagement and to, quite literally, practice democracy. Teens meet in their local Youth in Government groups throughout the year to discuss and debate issues that affect citizens of their state and to propose legislation. The program culminates with teens serving as delegates at the state conference, debating bills on the floor of the Legislature.