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ROI Announces Launch of New Rural Change Makers 2021-22 Cohort

GABRIELLE FERGUSON, Rural Ontario Institute

The Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) is pleased to announce the official launch of the Rural Change Makers program for 2021-22. With the generous support of sponsorship partner Libro Credit Union, this program will build on the pilot, supported in part by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. The program will welcome engaged young leaders eager to mobilize action around issues important to their communities.

“Rural Ontario is the perfect place for young adults to achieve their life goals and career aspirations,” said Natalie Close, Regional Manager, Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, Libro Credit Union. “Libro is committed to supporting our communities, now and well into the future. It is part of our DNA. We are excited to support ROI’s Rural Change Makers program because we know it will equip bold and passionate young leaders with tools and skills to contribute to creating thriving communities.”

Recruitment will begin in October 2021, with the selection process commencing in November 2021. Then, up to 30 motivated young adults will be selected by application to join the experience. These leaders will participate in a series of developmental training sessions, and together undertake experiential learning opportunities, to realize rural development outcomes identified by their communities.

“Today’s engaged youth represent the future leadership of rural Ontario,” stated Ellen Sinclair, Executive Director, Rural Ontario Institute. “Engaging young people in leadership roles [is] integral to [the] retention of youth in rural towns.”

“Our track record from the 2020 Rural Change Makers Pilot shows, youth engaged in this program are more hopeful about the future of their rural communities, have a greater sense of belonging, feel more equipped to lead and are more likely to stay in their communities to work and live,” shared Gabrielle Ferguson, Leadership Programs Director, Rural Ontario Institute. “These are important outcomes for the future of all rural Ontario communities.”

The Rural Ontario Institute is a non-profit organization, committed to developing leaders and facilitating collaboration for the issues and opportunities facing rural and northern Ontario communities.

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