The Rural Caucus team poses in front of the Washington Monument. Photo by Shawn Poynter/Daily Yonder

This weekend 25 rural young people from across the country will meet in Washington, D.C., for a community-building workshop sponsored by YouthBuild USA’s Rural and Native Initiative. The Daily Yonder will be there to document the event.

This will by my fifth year at the YouthBuild Rural Youth Caucus. I love going. I always leave full of hope, an odd feeling for me. It’s three days of watching young folks leave their comfort zones, travel to a big city (for many their first time out of their state), then bond with absolute strangers over what they have in common and what they hope for in their hometowns. It’s inspiring.

YouthBuild USA is a national organization that gives youth from low-income families an opportunity to learn construction and life management skills as they build houses for others in need.

Participants spend their days talking about the issues that affect their towns, learning leadership and public speaking skills, and sightseeing around the city. At the end of the week, and after the rural youth have each moved on to become part of YouthBuild’s larger Conference of Young Leaders, the young people will team up with others state by state to visit representatives on Capitol Hill.

Last year we tried something a little different in our coverage. Instead of just a story sprinkled with photos, we produced short audio/visual vignettes of the caucus. We picked two participants from different regions and let them interview each other about their lives and experiences. We would like to share three of those exchanges with you below. We’ll be doing something similar this year. Please check in next week to see what these exceptional youth are up to.

You can also follow along on Twitter with #CoYL2016.

Sharell and Corey from Center for Rural Strategies on Vimeo.


Janard and Benjamin from Center for Rural Strategies on Vimeo.


Christopher and Shakari from Center for Rural Strategies on Vimeo.

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