Supporting, engaging, attracting and retaining youth in rural communities is increasingly the “talk of the town” amongst governments, communities, and concerned citizens across Ontario.
Rural communities across Ontario have been seeing a net outmigration of youth (between the ages of 15-29) for years. Much of the outmigration of youth from these communities can be attributed to a number of factors, from opportunities for post-secondary education, to finding employment, to the variety of amenities offered in larger urban centres. Many of these same rural communities face challenges in providing comparable opportunities for their youth to grow and develop relative to more prosperous urban communities. Continue reading The Importance of Supporting and Attracting Youth in Rural Ontario→
Conflict is a normal and healthy part of our lives, when properly managed. We all need conflict in our lives, as it is an opportunity for us to test limits and set new boundaries. But when differences of opinion are not constructively managed, they can escalate into big problems around boardroom tables. Conflict can cause heightened emotions and board members to take sides, and a disagreement can grow into something much more difficult to resolve. Successful conflict resolution can build trust and strengthen interpersonal relationships.
LaunchPad, a new Youth Activity and Technology Centre in Hanover, is a place where young people between the ages of 12 and 18 can explore the world through a wide range of activities – art, digital media, software, music, entrepreneurship, computer hardware, hands-on and just plain fun. Staff at the centre encourage the young people to see how their talents and innovative ideas can help them and their communities grow.
At LaunchPad, young people learn important skills that can improve their employability, and make new connections with employers and local leaders in their communities. The hope is that they’ll stay and work in the area after they graduate high school.
Succession planning is the process of passing important leadership roles to the next generation of members in an organization. Proper succession planning allows for the smooth transfer of responsibilities and tasks from existing members to the succeeding group. A succession plan is put in place to avoid scrambling before an annual meeting, trying to get a warm body in a seat at the board table. Different approaches as to how an organization can best transfer the required skills and knowledge to its upcoming members can be used; no single approach works for everyone.
Succession planning focuses on the jobs that are most crucial to the operations of the organization, and outlines how roles and responsibilities are to be handed down to the most qualified individuals. Often times, the individuals who take over lead roles do not have the same experience and knowledge that the current person in the position does, so succession planning helps to identify these gaps, and aid in the development of these successors. Continue reading Succession Planning Tips for Not-for-Profits→
Downtowns are often the historical heart of communities across rural Ontario. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA) Downtown Revitalization program offers a framework for improving the physical, economic, and social well-being of those traditional town centres and their historic places and spaces.
The Town of Gravenhurst launched their Downtown Revitalization initiative with the support of OMAFRA in 2011. The vision for this initiative was to create a Town that offers economic sustainability, diversity, and cultural or geographic uniqueness. Through investment and support from the Town and OMAFRA, Gravenhurst’s Downtown Revitalization initiative has generated a number of positive impacts for the Town over the last several years of implementing its action plan.
Attracting and retaining youth is one of the many challenges faced by rural communities.
The Newcomer and Youth Community Indicators is a tool that was designed to assist rural communities looking to better understand their attractiveness to both newcomers and youth. It is a free Excel-based tool that includes information for every municipality in Ontario. The tool was developed in partnership with the Rural Ontario Institute and the Conference Board of Canada, and includes the most recent Statistics Canada data available.
The tool provides communities with comparative data that can help them make informed decisions and strategies for retaining and attracting youth. Few communities have an accurate picture of how they differ from their neighbours or other similar communities across the province. The tool allows communities to make decisions based on a sound understanding of their strengths and weaknesses compared to other communities. Continue reading Attracting and Retaining Youth in Rural Communities→
Successful regional economic development planning achieved thanks to the “Train the Trainer” program developed by the Regional Economic Development Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
Gone are the days of planning in silos for the municipalities in Huron County. In 2014, the County began the challenging process of re-structuring their entire Economic Development department and also created an Economic Development Board comprised of leaders from across the business community. The first order of business was to develop a comprehensive strategic plan. Working together, all ten municipal partners and community representatives achieved economic development plans that are integrated county-wide.
Time is always in short supply when you run a business. It is something Brent Davies always seems to run out of. He is vice president and co-owner of Wellington Brewery, so finding the time to look into funding opportunities just never seems to rise to the top of his priority pile.
A First Impressions Community Exchange (FICE) is a structured and cost-effective process that reveals the first impression a community conveys to potential visitors, investors and new residents. The results can serve as the basis for action plans to enhance or build on community strengths and address challenges. Continue reading Overview of the First Impression Community Exchange Program→
Regional Economic Development Branch blog focusing on agriculture and rural economic development for Ontario