Local students attend Farm Bureau Youth Leadership Conference
Houston County Courier
STEPHENVILLE - Six Houston County students recently attended the Texas Farm Bureau's 50th Annual Youth Leadership Conference (YLC) held at Tarleton State University. They were sponsored by the Houston County Farm Bureau. Kennedy Bishop, Elizabeth Conner, Samantha Noyola, Zackary Downs, Lacy Hammond and Katelin Stone were among more than 353 high school juniors and seniors from over 132 counties across the state at the June 17-21 event. The purpose of the conference is to provide the students with a better understanding of their American heritage, the capitalistic free enterprise system, and to inspire leadership development, according to Than Richburg, president of the Houston County Farm Bureau. During the week-long event, the students focus on patriotism, leadership and responsibility. They discuss topics such as the free enterprise system, constitutional government, Americanism, leadership and goal setting, and are encouraged to meet with school and civic groups upon their return home to share what they've learned. "We are extremely proud to celebrate the golden anniversary of this important program, which aims to encourage and develop the future leaders of Texas," Richburg said. Tarleton State University President Dr. Dominic Dottavio welcomed students to campus at Monday's opening session, along with special guest Chance Cerda, Tarleton's student body president and an YLC alumnus. Afterwards, Vernie R. Glasson, executive director of Texas Farm Bureau, presented "Farm Bureau - Your Host." Jim Sartwelle, TFB Director of Public Policy and Dr. Roger Hanagriff, Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications nications professor of Texas A&M University, each presented sessions on "Basics of Free Enterprise"; Ronald Trowbridge, former assistant dean at Hillsdale College in Michigan, presented two-part sessions on "The Constitution"; Lou Kennedy, a professional development consultant, led a session on "Professionalism in Life" and Gary Evans, a registered investment advisor, offered advice on "Managing Your Money." Gary Montgomery, a motivational communicator and storyteller from Louisville, KY presented sessions on "Public Speaking" and Sandra Grant, a communications instructor at Midwestern State University, assisted students with their group president speeches and hosted the entertaining Mr. YLC contest. Special evening events included a presentation on Tuesday by Trent McKnight on "My Life Story… So Far!" and on Wednesday a music/devotional performance by Mark Swayze. In addition, students participated in a program called "Congressional Insight," which allowed them to simulate a Congressional office and election. At Thursday evening's banquet, Gary Montgomery shared his personal message of "Living with an 'I Can Play' attitude!" Students who complete the Youth Leadership Conference and have given a speech on free enterprise to at least five groups will have taken the first step toward qualifying for the Free Enterprise Speech contest, which awards more than $27,500 in scholarships. After qualifying, students compete at the district level and the winners advance to finals at the TFB Annual Meeting in San Antonio in December. In addition, all 2013 district speech contest winners will have the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. with TFB representatives.