Two Nueces County youth attended the Texas Farm Bureau's 47th annual Youth Leadership Conference held at Angelo State University in June.

Tiffany Hetzel and Andrew Longoria, both sponsored by the Nueces County Farm Bureau, joined more than 275 high school juniors and senior from over 150 counties across the state at the event.

The purpose of the conference was to provide the students with a better understanding of their American heritage, the capitalistic free enterprise system and to inspire leadership development, Jim Massey, president of the Nueces County Farm Bureau, said.

During the weeklong event, students discussed topics such as the free enterprise system, constitutional government, Americanism, leadership and goal setting. Students were encouraged to meet with school and civic groups upon their return home to share what they had learned.

A representative from Angelo State University welcomed students to the campus and, afterwards, Kenneth Dierschke, president of Texas Farm Bureau, presented "Farm Bureau - Your Host."

Emilee Trlica, Texas Farm Bureau field representative; Kirby Kennedy, 2009 Free Enterprise Speech Contest winner; and Shelby Gonzalez, 2009 Miss Texas Farm Bureau, presented "Farm Bureau Scholarship Opportunities."

Jim Sartwelle, Texas Farm Bureau public policy director, 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 San Angelo Mayor Alvin New, former president of Town and Country Food Stores, discussed "Free Enterprise in America."

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 that $19,000 in scholarships, organizers said.