I’ll be presenting at this conference in March. My seminar will be on creating the space for rural youth to explore the possibilities for their futures within their rural contexts. This includes helping youth understand where their value arises and providing ways to dream and build a future for their communities and themselves.
Many rural youth are fed two to three primary sets of beliefs. The first set of beliefs is that the best way to live is in an (sub)urban space with a middle class job living a middle class life, which means they should abandon their rural life and go to a college far away.
The second set of beliefs is that rural life is backward, dying, and a hindrance to true American ways of life (consumerism and global capitalism). Finally, the third set of beliefs is often that the rural way of life is the only way of life that is of any merit, but this rural way of life is the way of life from the “golden” days of rural life, where people took care of each other and everyone knew each other. Of course, these “golden” days never really existed, and are littered with sexism, racism, and xenophobia.
The sources of these beliefs vary, but they usually involve the public school system, the media, and often our churches. We can have some impact on all of these, and my seminar will provide some of the possibilities for how we can do this.
I’ll be providing some more snippets as we go along as well as beginning to create a resource page on my blog. Register for the conference here: http://progressiveyouthministry.org/