Group hopes to show opportunity of small towns

LUCAS, Kansas — There is a growing movement with young professionals in rural areas, to show young people that living in small towns is a good thing.

The grassroots movement, Rural by Choice, is hoping to show young people that they can make a name for themselves, actively participate in their communities and love rural living. Erika Nelson has done just that in the small town of Lucas.

“I moved to Lucas about ten years ago and I knew what rural communities were like and I didn’t know if I wanted to participate in this one or not,” said Nelson. “I think if I had known there were other people going through the same things that would’ve made the transition a lot easier.”

Nelson is a part of the organization because she says it’s important to show that people can do a lot living in rural areas.

“So this movement was also reminding you people that they can be involved in whatever way is important to them,” said Nelson.

As an artist, Rural by Choice gave Nelson the community support that she needed and that got her starting big projects like Restoring the Garden of Eden.

“Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s a bad idea. If it’s in your heart, it’s going to work and sometimes that simple little bit of encouragement is all you need,” said Nelson.

Nelson wants to get rid of the stigma that living in a rural community means you failed in a big city and technology has opened up door for people to be successful in a small town.

“It means that geography doesn’t mean anything. We have choices of where we want to live and that to me is really exciting,” said Nelson. “It’s like this perfect storm of there’s finally enough of those barriers out of the way that makes it difficult to live in small towns, that it’s a viable option. You can do anything, anywhere that you want, so again rural is a choice.”

By joining the movement, members can reach out to other Rural by Choice members for networking. To join or learn more follow this link to the groups home page.

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