Applications open for Rural Ontario Institute Rural Change Makers

The Rural Ontario Institute is now accepting applications for the second round of their Rural Change Makers program.

Leadership Projects Director, Gabrielle Ferguson, says they launched the pilot program last year and were very pleased with the response and the results and this year they have a sponsor in Libro Credit Union.

Ferguson says the goal of the program is to build the community-building skills of young people in rural Ontario and then to mobilize action on the issues that matter to those communities. Ferguson says the program is open to people between the ages of 18 and 29 and one of the issues they’re hoping to address is the idea common among young people, that young have to leave rural communities to start a career and get on with their lives, when in fact, there are opportunities in their rural community.

Ferguson says sometimes they don’t realize that because those that are in positions of leading volunteer organizations or in municipal councils have been there for quite a while and they’ve comfortable being there and they may not be that welcoming for youth in the community. She says that can often include business leaders in the community as well and they don’t mean to discourage young people, but that isn’t always apparent to the young people.

So the Rural Change Makers program develops both the competence in rural community building skills and also the confidence to engage the community around priority-setting, you know, identifying the issues that are important to a community and then what can they do about those issues and then mobilizing that action.

Ferguson says applications to the Rural Change Makers program can be found on the Rural Ontario Institute web site, under programs. The deadline for applications is the end of October and Ferguson says they’ll conduct interviews in November and the program will actually start in the first week of December.


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