Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to johnc@cfra.org.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Center and GenerationEngage Host Rural Youth iChat

Center for Rural Affairs and GenerationEngage Co-Host Rural iChat

Former Senator Tom Daschle featured in Internet-based video conference

by Dan Owens, dano@cfra.org, Center for Rural Affairs

As many communities across rural America look for strategies to keep their youth from leaving their hometowns and heading for the big city, they have realized the significant role public policy can and should play. Yet the youth who would be most affected by those policies – the very ones we are trying to keep at home – are often not involved in these policy and political debates.

Stereotypes portray rural young adults as unconcerned with political or policy debates, with little to offer. Consequently, they are frequently not engaged on the issues most important to the survival of our rural communities.

But this stereotype is false. Many young adults in rural communities are concerned with remaining in their hometowns and have good, creative ideas on how they can do so. The current political system, though, ignores young adults in rural America.

If politics today focuses on young adults at all, it looks to college students at big schools in big cities or students at expensive private schools. The hardworking student at the local community college or small four-year state college is bypassed, not to mention young adults who are not in school and are already making vital contributions to the rural American economy.

To help fix this problem, the Center for Rural Affairs partnered with Generation Engage, http://www.generationengage.org/, to discuss rural issues with young adults on October 30 at Alexandria Technical College in Alexandria, Minnesota. Utilizing internet-based videoconferencing technology, young adults from around the country were poised to discuss their role in politics and the many issues that affect all of rural America.

At this writing, former Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota will answer questions during the event, and we expect an interesting and lively discussion. The Center hopes to create more opportunities to engage the young adult population of rural America. We think they will make a valuable contribution to policies that will shape the future of our communities.

Agree? Disagree? Post a comment here or contact John Crabtree, johnc@cfra.org

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.

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