Residents of the Upper Valley Region of Vermont are encouraged to attend the first Youth Opportunity Regional Forum April 20 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Oxbow High School to join together with fellow community members, businesses, educators, and youth to share successes, challenges, and ideas for the future. Free pizza will be served and childcare will be provided by volunteer parents and students.

The “Vermont Youth Opportunity Initiative” emerged through The Vermont Proposition Initiative which was coordinated by the Vermont Council on Rural Development in 2021 through input from thousands of Vermonters. A Youth Opportunity Advisory Group of statewide leaders and youth members has developed a statewide engagement process to hear from thousands of Vermonters and then review findings to make action recommendations to the Future of Vermont Action Team (a diverse group of 20 leaders convened and facilitated by VCRD to implement the ten elements of the Vermont Proposition).

VCRD Community Engagement and Policy Director and initiative lead Jenna Koloski says, “We have the opportunity in Vermont to craft a narrative of hope, aspiration, equity, and potential for all youth around the state. This event will kick off a series of forums to seek input from Vermonters of all walks of life to identify concrete action that we can take today to help all youth realize their vision for the future – we are excited to see the bold, actionable, and practical ideas that emerge from this conversation in the Upper Valley.”

Additional forums will be taking place in regions throughout Vermont held both in community settings where people of all ages are invited to attend and at school settings to connect directly with youth. Forums will be co-facilitated by youth members of the Advisory Group in partnership with Up For Learning, an organization with deep expertise in youth-adult collaboration and facilitation.

Online input forms are available to gather additional statewide input from education experts, business leaders, youth, parents, and community leaders over the period in which convenings are ongoing. VCRD will also conduct interviews with key youth opportunity, education, and workforce development stakeholders.

To learn more and stay up to date on progress of the Youth Opportunity Initiative, additional forums, and the Vermont Proposition, join the VCRD Partnership for the Future of Vermont mailing list and/or visit