Y-club returns from successful KUNA conference


Avery Rondinelli

The Manual Y-Club delegation at KUNA. Photo courtesy of KUNA Media Corps.

On March 11, the Kentucky United Nations Assembly, or KUNA, ended its 2014 conference. Manual’s delegation earned a slew of awards and accolades this year.

KUNA is an annual conference in which schools from across the state meet to perform a mock United Nations summit. Manual’s delegation represented the countries of Bangladesh, South Korea and Uganda. Attendees participate in activities such as bill writing, lobbying for the passing of bills, and running for office to serve at next year’s conference.

Much like any YMCA conference that Manual attends, the delegation earned many awards. Two delegates, Ellie Baker (11, HSU) and Claire Gothard (11, HSU), won Outstanding Speaker awards for their speeches during pro/con debates. Louise Atherton (11, HSU), who was also elected governor of next year’s KYA conference, was awarded Outstanding Ambassador. Manual was also awarded Delegation of Excellency.

In addition to the individual accolades, a group of bill authors representing Uganda passed a bill through all meetings.

“I wrote a proposal with Ellie Baker (11, HSU), Allie Judge (11, MST), and Delayna Shulak (11, MST) about water purification and an application system that would partner different countries with charities in countries that would want to fund it,” said Gothard. “We got it passed in the Summit and endorsed by the Secretary General. It was a really great experience and we were able to debate about different things and we got a really good reception on our proposal.”

Aside from the usual proceedings at KUNA, the Manual delegation also did charity work. A candidate for Secretary General, Andi Dahmer (11, YPAS) collected over 200 pairs of shoes for Waterstep, an outreach program which collects shoes and purifies water for the underprivileged.

“I organized a shoe drive at my father’s office at Transamerica, and we ended up getting 50 pairs of shoes from there,” said Dahmer. “We also got over 150 shoes from other Manual students, totaling at 203 pairs of shoes, which was more than any other delegation at KUNA.”

Manual’s Y-club president Jenna Farineau (12,VA) was awarded the prestigious position of Secretary General at last year’s KUNA conference, allowing her to serve at this year’s conference.

“It was definitely a really strange experience for me,” said Farineau. “Just because I started out KUNA in sixth grade just as a delegate and I had no idea what was going on and I had no idea that it was going to be such an integral part of the shaping of who I am and then to see myself 7 years later standing up on the podium and delivering all of the speeches, addressing everyone as Secretary General was incredible.”

Since Farineau is a senior, this will be her final KUNA conference, and one of her last Y conferences in general.

“It was also really hard and I don’t think I realized that it was my last KUNA,” said Farineau. “Until I delivered my last speech and I walked off the stage and then I just looked at everyone and watched the video and realized that that was the last time that I was going to come back to the place that was so important in my life.”

It is KUNA procedure that a junior selected by the club runs for office to serve at the next year’s conference. This year, Dahmer was chosen to run. However, she did not win the election.

“I had a really good time meeting the other candidates and I guess it was a really fun conference overall, especially with Jenna leading,” said Dahmer. “It’s fine that I didn’t win because I’m going to use all that extra energy to put into our own Y club next year.”

New Y-Club members were able to get the KUNA experience for the first time.

“I thought it was a great experience because I got see all the other cultures and, during international stage, see people dance, and walk around Global Village and see all the different housing styles,” said Rose Chancy (9, MST).

Y-club has not only affected the students, but also the club sponsors.

“After every conference, I walk away (sometimes crawl away because I’m so tired), recommitted to give my life to the world,” said Ms. Christie Causey (English). “At this past conference, my Y-Club kids honored me with hugs, smiles, compliments, “thank yous,” and an Ambassador of Goodwill award. Giving so much of their hearts has inspired me to give more of mine. I will strive to see the value and potential in others, and endeavor to help them see these in themselves. This is what KUNA does. It changes lives.”

To keep up with Y-club news, follow Manual’s club and the KY YMCA Youth Association on Twitter, and attend the club’s meetings after-school on Thursdays in the freshman cafeteria.