The Center for Rural Development, in Somerset, KY, hosts three separate youth programs for students throughout Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

ROGERS SCHOLARS— (Current 10th graders) The Center for Rural Development’s flagship youth program—provides leadership and college scholarship opportunities to help upcoming high school juniors in Southern and Eastern Kentucky develop the skills they need to seize their potential as the region’s next generation of business and entrepreneurial leaders.

During this intensive week-long program, Rogers Scholars work on building their leadership skills, participate in a series of team-building exercises; receive hands-on instructional training from professional experts in engineering, healthcare, and civic engagement; and interact with nationally recognized business leaders and entrepreneurs. The program focuses on developing skills in leadership, technology, entrepreneurship, and community service.

High school students apply during their sophomore year and, if selected, will attend one of two Rogers Scholars summer sessions just before they enter the 11th grade.

Since the program’s inception in 1998, there have been 1,583 high school students who have graduated from Rogers Scholars, and potential scholarships valued at more than $8 million have been offered to graduates by 19 participating colleges and universities.

ROGERS EXPLORERS—(Current 8th graders) The Rogers Explorers program is an intensive three-day, two-night program focused on cultivating skills in leadership, technology, math, science, and community service.  It is developed, coordinated, and supervised by The Center for Rural Development in partnership with University of the Cumberlands, Lindsey Wilson College, Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, and Union College.

Activities throughout the program are both educational and fun. Classroom projects are very hands-on, so do not expect to be bored!  Explorers are able to actively participate in practical college courses, fine-tune leadership skills, and develop a network of friends and resources throughout our Southern and Eastern Kentucky region. Students from The Center’s 45-county service area may apply during their eighth-grade year.  If selected, they will attend the program in Williamsburg, Columbia, Richmond, Morehead, Wilmore, Pikeville, or Barbourville during the summer before their ninth-grade year.

ENTREPRENEURIAL LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE— (Current 9, 10, 11th graders) The Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute’s purpose is to develop future business leaders and entrepreneurs in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.  High school freshmen, sophomores and juniors from throughout The Center’s 45-county service area are encouraged to apply.  The program is an intensive, weeklong program focused on developing creativity, teamwork, business and leadership skills.  The Institute is developed, coordinated and supervised by The Center for Rural Development and is held at The Center’s facility in Somerset, Kentucky.

Activities during the week are both educational and fun.  Participants will be divided into teams.  The weeklong institute includes classroom instruction, guest speakers, competitions and tours of local businesses.  The concluding event will be a team business concept competition and the chance to compete for college scholarships.

All lodging, meals, and program expenses (with the exception of transportation to and from the program) are free to the student in all three programs.