Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

March 16, 1999

U of G spearheads new opportunity for rural youth

Some of Ontario's leading farm and rural organizations will pull up a new chair at their boardroom table as part of a University of Guelph certificate program for rural youth. Participants will become non-voting members of these corporate boards, while receiving leadership training at the University.

This unique internship program for young leaders has been developed in co-operation with the Junior Farmers' Association of Ontario and the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program. Development funds are provided by the Rural Secretariat, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in partnership with Human Resources Development Canada.

"The Internship for Young Leaders will turn corporate boardrooms into hands-on classrooms for leadership development," says OAC Dean Rob McLaughlin. "I wish there had been a program like this when I was a 4-H member and student. What a wonderful opportunity for young people to learn first-hand about the issues facing Canada's agri-food industry, to have their opinions listened to by decision makers and to develop a network of contacts in the industry where they may want to pursue a career."

Internships are open to all Ontario youth between the ages of 18 and 30 who wish to expand their leadership experience. During each 10-month program, participants will attend board meetings of the sponsoring organization, discuss issues with a member of the board who has agreed to serve as a mentor, and attend three leadership development workshop sessions at the University. Interns will make a presentation about the experience at the conclusion of the program and will receive a continuing education certificate from the University.

The inaugural Internship for Young Leaders program begins this summer. The deadline for enrolment is May 14; tuition is $500. Participants may request and/or arrange an internship with an organization of their choice.

Both interested youth and agri-food or rural organizations seeking more information about the internship program are encouraged to contact Kathy Biondi, Director of Agri-Food Continuing Education at 519-824-4120, Ext. 3414.

Contact: Kathy Biondi, U of G (519) 824-4120, Ext. 3414, Lisa Alderman, Jr. Farmers' of Ontario, (519)-457-8444, or P. Sivarj, Rural Secretariat, (519) 837-5855. For media questions, call Communications and Public Affairs, Ext. 3338.

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