Youth possess a great amount of community and economic development potential.
Rural communities have been grappling with how to attract and retain youth and young families for years. Youth get lured away from rural areas by the bright lights of the city, higher education, good jobs, and entertainment; all things typically perceived to be lacking in rural areas. Haliburton County and Dysart et al, are no different in facing this scenario, but they are about to do something about it. Led by a small group of young entrepreneurs and committed community leaders, the community has seen the emergence of a number of opportunities and initiatives to support youth in the region.
Dysart et al will be hosting a Teeny Tiny Summit on June 7th to share their success stories on harnessing the economic development potential of youth and young families. The Summit promises to be a rewarding and fun day full of learning to help you come up with strategies to tackle this challenge head on.
The Haliburton Teeny Tiny Summit will feature a variety of sessions including an energizing panel of businesses who will be sharing their stories about why they chose to locate in Haliburton, what the advantages of operating a business in a rural community are, and how communities can support their own youth entrepreneurs. The Haliburton Community Development Corporation (HCDC) is one of the top lending Community Futures programs in the country. They have played a key role in helping to guide, finance, and launch several businesses in the Haliburton area that are owned and operated by youth and young adults.
“So, the big question is, how do we engage youth?”
Haliburton has a host of organizations that have mastered youth engagement, and are delivering various programs and opportunities that respond directly to the needs of youth. One of the most common challenges related to this is helping youth and young adults understand the career and training opportunities that exist in the region. Many times, youth tend to hold the belief that if they want a good job then they must move to a larger urban area. One way to circumvent this is to connect them with employment opportunities in the region while they are still in school.
The Haliburton School Board (Trillium Lakelands District School Board) does just that; outfitting community youth with a slew of outdoor tourism and trade related certifications and allowing students to take on meaningful employment when school is out or the workload is less demanding. This will be discussed by one of the panels, including insight on the development of a local skate park, a youth hub, and local food education. This panel will drive home how to engage and identify the needs of youth in the development of youth-focused rural community programming and infrastructure.
The Haliburton Teeny Tiny Summit will feature a second panel with stories from a summer camp, a local dance studio, a hockey legend, and a creative game designer. Talking about how focusing on youth and young family-based tourism and recreation opportunities, you can not only keep youth in the community, but capitalize on the economic development opportunities their presence lends itself to. While many rural economic developers focus on how to attract and retain youth, it is also important to recognize that activities focused around youth and young families can generate a significant economic impact.
Attracting and keeping young people in our rural communities remains a key challenge facing economic developers today. To learn more about the summit and explore youth and young family related economic development programming for your community click HERE to register.