ROI is excited to announce successful recruitment to the 2023 Rural Change Maker Program packed full of specialized leadership skills training, enriching experiential learning activities, impactful new community development frameworks, tools and youth exchange opportunities!


Did you miss this year’s program? Are you interested in making a difference in your rural community?

Are you between 18 and 35 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 apply to the 2024 Rural Change Maker Program.
Applications open Spring 2024.

Up to 36 motivated young adults, between the ages of 18-35, have been selected from across Ontario to address community identified priorities in their region. Regional partnerships have been established with the Timmins Youth Welleness Hub, Opiikapawiin Services LP (OSLP) – representing a collective of 24 northern Ontario Indigenous communities, and Community Futures Huron. Regional partners set the stage for local youth recruitment to the RCM program, mentorship and coaching, leadership skills training and hyper-local community economic development projects.

Rural Change Makers and emerging leaders have been engaged with evaluation and co-design of the 2023 Rural Change Maker leadership program. As a group, successful applicants will undertake a learning journey together, participate in a series of developmental learning labs and come together for a face-to-face experiential gatherings supporting them to take action on a challenge/opportunity  in their community. Change makers will be supported by coaches, mentors, partners and each other.

#RuralOn #RuralChangeMakers #LeadYourFuture

The 2023 Rural Change Makers, using the skills developed, will engage with their communities to address an important priority, challenge or issue. Some Change Makers will choose their community development pathway. Some will identify unique projects with community and others may wish to work toward existing project goals shared with community organizations and partners.

Applications for the Rural Change Makers Program are now closed but will reopen again in the Spring of 2024.

 Thank you to our regional community partners Timmins Youth Wellness Hub serving Timmins youth, Community Futures Huron serving Huron County, and Opiikapawiin Services LP (OSLP) representing a collective of 24 northern Ontario Indigenous communities.

Opiikapawiin Services Logo       Timmins Youth Wellness Hub

Community Futures Huron

Change Makers do incredible things and bring their own lived experiences and unique perspectives to build meaningful outcomes with their communities.

The 2023 change makers represent over 31 rural communities from throughout Ontario, a network reaching more than 2000 connections with each other, partners, organizations and community members.

Regional Map showing locations of over 30 rural communities to be impacted by Rural Change Makers.

In case you missed it! Catch our latest project updates about the Young Rural Resilient Movement, a project of the Rural Change Maker Program.

2023 Rural Change Maker Program Partners including: Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, RBC Foundation, Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership, Community Futures Huron, Opiikapawiin Services LP, Timmins Youth Wellness Hub, Libro Credit Union and Each One Teach One, Centre for First Nations Governance, City of Peterborough, Good Roots Consulting, Sera Community Ventures, Perth-Huron United Way and Tanya Rumble.

Melanie Bidiuk

Who's Listening

Melanie Bidiuk

ROI Program Coordinator

Program Impact

  • Skill Development 93% 93%
  • Increased Rural Retention 72% 72%
  • Making a Difference 78% 78%
  • Increased Community Connectedness 91% 91%

RCM Program Timeline

Aug. 31-23

The adventure begins

The 2023 RCM journey begins Aug. 31 at a welcome session with special guests Ma-Nee Chacaby and Ilona Dougherty.


Learning Journey

Learning labs commence Sept. 14 and are delivered every other week (8 total)  until Dec. 14.

Jan. 2024

Ignite action lab

An inter-regional gathering putting learned skills to action where changemakers begin to envision the necessary steps to lead community & economic development projects.

Feb. 2024

Community Discovery Session

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

Mar. 2024

Community Action/Development Labs

Change Makers will start their action plan towards a short-term concrete project that will be the focus of their initial steps in effecting change in their community. 

Aug. 2024


Change Makers will celebrate then end of their community development journey with family and friends.