I don’t know about y’all, but the last few months flew by way too quickly! Can you believe it is already time for Districts to host their conferences? As soon as this Saturday, delegates will be gathering in one of our five Districts and show off the skills they have been working on. Houston will have their conference on November 9th, and Midland, Fort Worth, Austin, and Dallas will all have their conference on November 16th.

Are you nervous? Excited and ready to engage in thoughtful debate or publish your story? Maybe a little bit of both? Well lucky for you, the YG officers compiled a list of advice and tips for the delegates. We hope you find the information below helpful and useful. The State Office is cheering you on and we know everyone is going to do fantastic. Take a look at what your officers have to say, have fun at your District Conference, and we will see you in a couple of months!

“Hello delegates! I applaud you all for taking this first step to join the YG community at the District Conference. As a previous competitor in the judicial section during these conferences, I have been in your shoes. I remember gathering the courage to step forward into a world I almost knew nothing about, but would come to love, at my first conference. Here are a few tips that helped me in the past and I hope you find them just as useful. First, always be on time to your rooms, punctuality is critical during this hectic time. Don’t psych yourself out! Take deep breaths before you speak and be confident. Be sure to present yourself in a professional manner. Be sure to have fun, do not stress out about something so much it prevents you from enjoying the conference. Finally, and most importantly, appreciate this wonderful program for everything that it is and do not take anything for granted!” — Attorney General London Jones ’21

“Do your best and never give up because you never know what will happen. Also, only focus on what you are doing and do not worry about what everyone else is doing.” — Broadcast Producer Amy Ekechukwu ’20

“Talk to EVERYONE! District is the time to make friends and meet as many people as you can.” — State Affairs Form Chair Nikash Harapanahalli ’20

“The first tip that I have for first year delegates is to definitely study parliamentary procedure. It is important to be familiar with it in order for debate to run as smoothly as possible. Secondly, don’t be afraid to stand up and speak! You’re first conference is meant to be a learning experience, but it can also be an amazing experience if you take full advantage of it!” — Youth Governor Tadiwa Mujokoto ’20 

“Remember, the people in the room are not against you. Everyone at the conference is working to help each other become better debaters. Speak with your Chair before the room starts. Getting to know your Chair can make the room feel more welcoming and relaxed. Also, try to have fun! While the conference is meant to be a learning experience, remember to still enjoy the debate and make friends throughout the day.” — Lieutenant Governor Alexander Searles ’20

“Make mistakes! When I switched from Legislative to Judicial, it felt as if it were my first year in YG all over again. When I look back on that year, I learned how to become a more effective attorney from the times I messed up my presentation or forgot a procedure in court. We have to embrace our mistakes and be willing to have them corrected by an advisor and our peers. District Conference is the best opportunity to get your feet wet and learn how to become more successful in YG.

Engage with others! I always tell my peers that YG is 10% competing and 90% meeting new people. There’s nothing inherently wrong with going into the District Conference with a competitive fire, but the conference is much better when you make new friendships and build connections with your fellow delegates. YG is one of the few programs where you truly have the opportunity to meet and interact with a diverse community of athletes, musicians, debaters, artists, and engage with people who believe in the power of being an active citizen.

Also, keep in mind that the older and more experienced delegates are not scary! It can be really intimidating being in the same room as the senior who has been in the program all four years of high school or the attorney team that has consistently made it to NJC. However, these more experienced delegates will be your greatest sources of wisdom and can become some of your best friends if you are willing to approach them. We all know the nerves and sweaty palms that come when you go up tot speak for the first time, and we are all here to help and support you.” — Chief Justice Sebastiane Caballes ’20