Rural Youth Development Grant Program

Grantee Support

Chapters in Action

Rural Youth Development Gallery - Coming Soon

Service-Learning Summit Materials

Here are resources from the 2011 Rural Youth Development (RYD) Service-Learning Summit in Indianapolis. Please email with any questions.


Youth Build Strong Rural Communities!

The Rural Youth Development (RYD) program, funded by the USDA/NIFA, helps students develop leadership skills and apply them to the real world.

Youth work in partnership with adults to improve their own lives and the rural communities in which they live.

Funded chapters, from communities of 10,000 or smaller develop, implement and evaluate service-learning projects that have long-term community impact.

Rural Youth Development Program Goals

  • Provide constructive and encouraging relationships among youth and adults and youth and peers.
  • Provide an array of youth development opportunities for youth to build competencies in areas such as mastery, independence, generosity, and sense of belonging.
  • Provide access to multiple opportunities for youth to develop assets in the physical, intellectual, psychological, emotional, and/or social domains.
  • Connect the formal classroom to real-life experience and use the community as context for learning.
  • Have sufficient scope, breadth, duration, frequency and intensity of engagement of young people to reach long-term positive outcomes.

Successful Rural Youth Development Projects

Successful Rural Youth Development projects:

  • Occur over the course of a year and utilize the knowledge and skills of the youth;
  • Improve the human, social, civic and other capitals in their communities;
  • Reach diverse audiences;
  • Whenever possible, collaborate with FFA Alumni, booster clubs, etc.;
  • Collaborate with other organizations serving rural youth, and ;
  • Involve youth in the design and implementation of their civic engagement /service-learning activities with aims to:
    • enhance and/or create opportunities for youth involvement in community needs assessment and problem-solving,
    • understand cultural and socio-economic diversity,
    • create safe and inviting environments for youth civic involvement
    • develop and sustain youth potential within the local rural community,
    • encourage youth/adult partnerships, and
    • demonstrate sustainability of projects and partnerships.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is an agency of the USDA. Its mission is to advance knowledge for agriculture (and other areas) by supporting research, education and extension programs in the Land-Grant University system and other partner organizations including nonprofit associations.

USDA - National Institute of Food and Agriculture