The Utah Federation for Drug Free Youth annual Life Skills Conference will be Thursday through Saturday in the Salt Palace.

Dozens of speakers will address various issues such as building self-esteem, establishing or regaining parent/child communication, becoming motivated, drug/peer pressure issues and learning ways to live drug free.Ty Detmer, Ben Vereen, WordPerfect executive Alan Ashton and Franklin Institute executive Hyrum Smith, among others, will conduct workshops.

George Obermeier, nationally recognized for his work in development and training with student assistance programs, will be one of the featured speakers. He considers himself an educational humorist.

This year the federation offers an elementary track on Thursday. Third- through sixth-graders will be entertained by puppeteers, and specialists who will show the most effective ways to say no to drugs. U.S. Army recruiters will also conduct a workshop on the importance of staying in school and will address the pressures of having loved ones or friends at war.

Grade-school children will also be treated to an autograph party where they can meet and greet Mickey Mouse, his Disney friends and local sports, television and entertainment personalities. Merlin Olsen, Kenny Loggins, Miss America and other surprise guests will also be there to sign a specially prepared autograph book.

The conference will also feature a national television broadcast sponsored jointly by the Federation and the Children's Miracle Network. The public is invited to attend the broadcast Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Salt Palace Accord Arena. Entertainer Steve James will be moderating the program of music and celebrity appearances.

Gov. Norman H. Bangerter has declared April Parent and Youth Alcohol and Drug Education Month and encourages parents to learn what they can do to help their children live drug-free lifestyles.

More than $9,000 in scholarship money has been donated to the federation by three organizations. The money given by the American Legion Auxiliary, Department of Utah and the American Legion will go be used for veterans and their families.

The Utah Medical Association money will be awarded to "at risk" students, said Yoshiko Uno, Federation president.

For registration information, call the Utah Federation for Drug Free Youth at 538-3949.