Stephenville – Attending the Texas Farm Bureau’s 49th annual Youth Leadership Conference held at Tarleton State University, June 18-22, was Elijah Dickinson, a junior at Mason High School, and grandson of Larry and Sheila Kemp. The student was sponsored by the Mason County Farm Bureau. He joined more than 300 high school juniors and seniors from over 130 counties across the state.
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 Larry Lehmberg, president of the Mason County Farm Bureau.
During the weeklong event, three areas are emphasized: Patriotism, Responsibility and Leadership. Students 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.
Tarleton State University President Dominic Dottavio welcomed students to campus at Monday’s opening session. Afterwards, Kenneth Dierschke, president of Texas Farm Bureau, presented “Farm Bureau – Your Host.”
James Frank presented sessions on “Basics of Free Enterprise,” Ronald Trowbridge, former assistant dean at Hillsdale College in Michigan, presented two-part sessions on “The Constitution,” and Brian Starr, an investment advisor, offered advice on “Managing Your Money.”
Lou Kennedy, a professional development consultant, led a session on “Professionalism in Life,” and Sandra Grant, a communications instructor at Midwestern State University, presented sessions on “Public Speaking Skills.” Special presentations were given by Dr. Robert Ehlers on “Keeping America Safe and Prosperous. One Man’s Perspective” and Curtis Childers’ motivational message of “Overcoming Life’s Challenges.” In addition, the students participated in a program called “Congressional Insight,” which allowed them to simulate a Congressional office and election.
At Thursday evening’s banquet, Andrew McCrea, an inspirational speaker and Oscar-winning broadcaster, shared his personal message of “How to Wrestle Bears and Win!”
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 $19,000 in scholarships.