Rural Change Makers 2021-2022 Program Details

Are you interested in making a difference in your rural community?

  • Are you between 18 and 29 and live in rural Ontario?
  • Do you want to be part of a network of Rural Change Makers from across the province?

If you answered yes, we invite you to fill out an application to be a part of the 2021-2022 Rural Change Maker program

Application deadline extended to November 14th, 2021.


Nominate the Change Maker in your community to be a part of ROI's 2021 Rural Change Makers program by filling out our nomination form below.


If you have any questions reach out to Gabrielle Ferguson at

Program Background

The Rural Ontario Institute will select and prepare up to 30 motivated young adults, between the ages of 18-29, from across Ontario to mobilize action in their community, structured around an identified priority in their region. As a group, these leaders will participate in a series of developmental, online training webinars and come together for a face-to-face customized, experiential event, both of which will support them to take action on a challenge/opportunity that they have selected in their community. Additional personalized coaching will take place, as-needed, either in-person, phone or via email.

During the program the Change Makers will organize at least two events: 

  1. A “discovery session” with local stakeholders and community members focusing on an asset-based approach and linking them with allies in their mobilization efforts; 

  2. A “community action lab” or event oriented at producing an action plan towards a short-term concrete project that will be the focus of their initial steps in effecting the change they want to see in their community. 

This program will help young adults gain confidence and build their networks to mobilize action with their community. The aim of the new program is to: 

  • Provide professional development for young adults

  • Build rural youth leadership capacity

  • Catalyze impactful rural development outcomes for communities and regions

  • Broaden public engagement in rural development initiatives


Program Cost: $500.00 ($500 includes curriculum/program materials, ROI Connect engagement platform access, meals and accommodation while at in-person Welcome network event and the Ignite practice session.)

Date Activity Description
Week of Dec 3-4th 2021

Welcome Session – in person and/or virtual option

  • RCM cohort 2021 , what’s my story

  • ROI Connect, engaging with each other and our communities

Week of Dec 13th 2021

What is Rural Community Building? 

coming together to make good things happen

Week of Jan 3rd 2022

What information is necessary?

tools for Community Leadership 

Week of Jan 17th 2022

Who can help?

Mobilizing your community

Week of Jan 31st 2022

What is possible?

defining the issue and possible outcomes

Week of Feb 14th 2022

Are we making a difference?

measuring impact: evaluation techniques

Week of Feb 28th 2022

What is your plan?

Sharing your Community Development Approach
Week of Mar 14th 2022

Ignite Workshop (2-days) for Change Makers

putting theory into practice

Week of Mar 28th 2022 Discovery session/ community engagement
Week of Apr 4th 2022 Storytelling and Impact, capturing the action of communities
August 2021 Celebration event, stories and projects shared


By applying to this initiative you acknowledge that:

  • you agree to participate in a secure online networking platform with other Rural Change Makers;

  • you will attend the two-day getting started and network seminar (in-person/virtual options) with other Rural Change Makers;

  • you will complete pre-webinar reading and information collection to be able to actively participate in webinars;

  • you agree to attend and complete the 7 webinars in the Rural Change Makers program;

  • you will attend the two-day Ignite practice seminar (in-person/virtual options)with other Rural Change Makers, and

  • you will work within your community to identify a key priority and mobilize others to address this priority.


In return you will receive:

  • Access to all learning and development opportunities both online and in person;

  • Certification in Rural Community Building Essentials  upon successful completion of the project; 

  • a resource network of change makers and supporters, and

  • an extraordinary opportunity to become a leader within your own community!

Rural Change Makers Nomination

Do you know someone you feel should be part of the Rural Change Maker journey? 

Email their name and contact information to and we will reach out to share the program details and application form.