Annual Event Builds Leadership and Debate Skills Among Teens

Middletown, NJ  – This January, 149 high school delegates and 85 middle school delegates from The Community YMCA Delegation attended the annual YMCA Model UN Conference in Hershey, PA along with 1,500 other students from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. This year marked the first time that the conference was spread across two weekends with high school students attending January 6 - 8, and middle school students January 13 - 15.

Photo Caption: Erin Doherty, Mackenzie Kerner, and Shyanne Bryan (all of Bayshore) with their character development awards.

The Community YMCA Delegation was comprised of eleven local schools: Red Bank Catholic, Red Bank Regional, Holmdel High School, Middletown High School North, Middletown High School South, Saint Jerome School, Wall Intermediate School, Shrewsbury Borough School, Bayshore Middle School, Thompson Middle School, and Thorne Middle School. The students spent the weekend simulating the duties of United Nations Ambassadors by writing, presenting, and debating resolutions to address issues of international importance, such as capital punishment, the stabilization of nations experiencing uprisings against their governments, and women’s rights.

The goal of the Model UN Program is to create informed students who feel empowered to engender change in their local communities and the world at large. Every year, the Y is consistently impressed and humbled by the intelligence, compassion, and dedication of our students. The program attracts students who are proactive and engaged, and affords them the opportunity to see how they can reach their potential and begin to improve the world around them regardless of their age.

The Community YMCA Delegation was recognized with a number of awards at each of the conferences. Each committee recognized one student as Premier Diplomat and one as Outstanding First Year Delegate, in addition to naming students who will act as officers at the 2013 conference. Aidan Byrnes (RBC) was elected to serve as the Vice Chair of General Assembly A; Aisling Howley (RBR) was elected to be the Vice Chair of General Assembly B. Meg Kelly (RBR) was voted in to become an officer at large. Josh Even (RBR) and Bryanna Reevey (RFH) were both recognized as the Outstanding First Year Delegate for their respective committees, The Organization of American States and Video Press. Additionally, Josh Even was offered an invitation to be an alternate for the highly selective Conference on National Affairs, which is an invitation only event held annually in North Carolina that allows students from all over the country to come together to debate and discuss issues that affect our nation.

At the conclusion of the middle school conference, local students took home six of the nine awards that were given out. Liam McCabe (Thorne) was honored with the Outstanding Country Statesman Award for his representation of Germany in Envoy Committee A. Patricia Lowney (Saint Jerome) earned the Premier Diplomat Award in Envoy Committee A. In Envoy Committee B, Christian Boujaoude (Saint Jerome) was given the Premier First Year Diplomat Award and Stephen Calandrino (Thompson) received the Premier Diplomat Award. In Envoy Committee C, Katharine Heinemann (Shrewsbury Borough School) earned the Premier First Year Diplomat Award and Anthony Cendagorta (Thompson) was recognized with the Premier Diplomat Award.

For more information on the YMCA Model UN program and participating schools, please call (732) 671-5505, ext. 23 or visit