Mapleton youth selected for Rural Change Makers pilot program

GUELPH – A Mapleton youth will be part of the Rural Ontario Institute’s (ROI) Rural Change Makers program.

Alexis Kuper, a 19-year-old University of Ottawa student, was among 18 participants between the ages of 18 and 29 announced by the institute on June 11.

Other participants have been drawn from rural communities across the province.

Participants in the pilot project “will have the opportunity to make an impact in their rural community,” institute officials state in a press release.

The release indicates participants will develop a “systems thinking approach and become catalysts for community led development.”

The program will aim to grow the capacity of young adults to serve as change makers and strengthen rural community development by providing leadership opportunities through sustainable, experiential learning.

“The focus on young adults in rural areas is vital for the resilience of rural communities,” says ROI leadership programs director Gabrielle Ferguson.

“Future-focused leaders keep actions relevant and rural living attractive.”

By the end of the program, participants will be given the opportunity to facilitate sessions that discover high-priority community issues and create plans to act.

This program will provide them with support systems and coaching to aid them in their success.

“The Change Makers were selected with the understanding that they have already obtained impressive innovative qualities and know-how,” says Norman Ragetlie, executive director of the non-profit institute, which aims to develop leaders and promote dialogue and action on issues and opportunities in rural Ontario.

“We want to help accelerate and support these qualities so that they can be impactful within their community.”

For the time being, Kuper is continuing her studies from her home on a local dairy farm and “is excited to be working with the ROI to make positive leaps and strides forward in her community.”