Rural communities across Ontario now have the opportunity to nominate youth engaged in rural communities and agriculture for recognition in the Youth Engagement Showcase, the most recent initiative of the Guelph-based Rural Ontario Institute.
The showcase will profile compelling stories of young leaders taking charge and tackling important issues, highlighting the impact youth can have in their communities and demonstrating how different types of rural communities can successfully involve youth in addressing local challenges.
As many as eight final nominees will be profiled through individual video documentaries, each being filmed in their respective hometowns in 2016. These documentaries will showcase their involvements and accomplishments as well as the community programs and organizations that are successfully engaging youth.
“Today’s engaged youth represent the future leadership of rural Ontario,” said Norman Ragetlie, Director of Policy and Stakeholder Engagement for the Rural Ontario Institute. “The exodus of youth from rural towns to urban centres is a common trend but evidence illustrates that engaging young people in leadership roles before they leave for post-secondary education is integral to improving return rates.”
Nominees must be 29 years of age or younger and reside in or be actively involved in a rural community in Ontario. The call for nominations opened on Nov. 2 and runs until Nov. 27. When all the nominations have been received, the selection committee will choose its finalists next month and, beginning in the New Year, a videographer will begin producing videos detailing the finalists’ accomplishments.
Besides a compelling story, nominees will also be evaluated based on the impact they have had on the community or communities where they have been working. Some examples of civic engagement that could be highlighted in nominations include, but are not limited to: local volunteering, youth advisory committees, fundraising, formal political involvement, recreational event planning, and advocacy on local issues.
Nomination information is available online at RuralOntarioInstitute.ca/youth_engagement_showcase.aspx.
The Youth Engagement Showcase is one of seven projects in the Rural Ontario Institute’s “Measuring Rural Community Vitality Initiative.” The Rural Ontario Institute is a non-profit organization committed to developing leaders, initiating dialogue, supporting collaboration and promoting action on issues and opportunities facing rural Ontario.