The Background

From our country’s beginning, rural communities have been one of the most important driving forces of the American economy. They provided good-paying jobs and a comfortable lifestyle that allowed families to grow and thrive. Over the last few decades, populations of rural communities have faced economic pressures (rapid growth or loss of industry) that have threatened their cultural identity and way of life. These communities have been and continue to navigate this changing environment. It’s within this context that exists the opportunity for storytelling and to celebrate the journey, the challenges, and the progress that has been made in these rural towns.

Many of these communities have seen people leave for a variety of reasons, but those who leave still feel a strong connection to their hometown. They value and understand their rural hometown’s assets and unique qualities and hope for a brighter tomorrow for their family and friends at home. With so many holding these views, an opportunity exists to provide them a chance to reconnect. This is where Rural Homecoming comes in.

The Opportunity

Rural Homecoming is a time to reaffirm and strengthen connections for those living away from rural hometowns, and also to connect young people into the rural communities they call home, to ensure that they stay connected whether they choose to stay or leave to pursue other opportunities. By participating, your community will open its doors and host a gathering or event that celebrates what makes it special. As you highlight the innovation and opportunity happening at a local level, your community members will have a chance to amplify their voice and experience; and those reconnecting with home will have a chance to give back.

Organizing a Rural Homecoming event is an investment in your community. It is free to participate, and you can choose how you want to engage. The goal is to reconnect people who have left or connect young residents to what is happening in your community and get them involved with a local nonprofit, business, or other opportunities. It allows your community to tell your own story, rather than it being told for you. That story is valuable locally, and will also be amplified on a national level through Rural Homecoming’s organizing partners who want to share uplifting stories about rural America and rural innovation across the country.

Join in a National Celebration of Rural Communities

Download the toolkit, find communities resources & connect with other participants.