“The Small Town Project is dedicated to revitalizing our community. We are also focused on developing a sustainable strategy to keep Rocky Ford growing and thriving, and know that this will only be possible by involving our youth and working with the future leaders of our community.”
Community development involves a community’s assets and using them to provide the greatest benefit to the community. Our community's key asset is our youth. Research shows that youth are reportedly less satisfied with their communities than urban students. Youth may also be more susceptible to boredom, which could lead to an increased risk of delinquent behaviors. In addition, rural youth face more stereotypes than urban youth and may have lower aspirations for education and careers. Unfortunately, many rural youths leave our town and do not return. This is an economic process called "Brain Drain", and it is a factor that is troubling for long-term community development. These challenges can be conquered by effectively mobilizing and focusing on building leadership among youth and working within the community to provide more opportunities for our youth.
We believe developing ways to involve youth and including them in decision-making roles and projects is necessary for Rocky Ford to remain relevant and revitalize, and by developing these future leaders our community will continue to grow and thrive.
We provide opportunities to engage our youth through involving youth in community leadership, planning, and decision making, providing community support for our youth, providing safe spaces for our youth, and providing entrepreneurship education and career development services for youth in our community.