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Applications are now open for Rogers Scholars, Rogers Explorers

By Allison Cross

Applications for The Center for Rural Development's summer leadership programs, Rogers Scholars and Rogers Explorers, are now open and available online at These programs are provided at no cost to students. The Rogers Explorers application is now open through February 28, 2022.

The Center has graduated nearly 4,000 middle and high school students since its first youth program began in 1998. Students of all different personalities and different backgrounds have joined together in a common purpose - figuring out who they are and what they want to do in life.

For Clayton Dalton, of Somerset, that's working in politics. Clayton is a long-standing alumni of The Center's youth programs. He started in 2014 with the Rogers Explorers Program, in 2015 he completed the Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI), and in 2016 he was selected for the Rogers Scholars Program.

All of that experience came full circle this past summer, when he served as a Resident Assistant (RA) for The Center's youth programs. His time in each of the programs and serving as an RA taught him about how different personalities can come together.

"I think the biggest thing I learned from the kids and their many different personalities was that friendships can be forged between the most unlikely people," Clayton said. "We had students with artistic gifts, incredible athletic ability, brilliant minds, fantastic public speaking skills, wit, humor, kindness, and the list goes on and on. And yet, their differences never seemed to divide them - better yet, I think it united them in some ways. I think we can all learn a lesson from this."

Another lesson he learned while in the programs is that the best things in life are sometimes difficult to obtain. Clayton will graduate from the University of Kentucky in May.

"As I near college graduation, I realize that just a few short years ago I was the Scholar, not the RA," Clayton said. "It is hard to imagine what my life - my college experience, my community involvement, my friendships - would look like had I not been given the opportunity to participate in The Center's youth programs. Working with these kids reminded me of how lucky I was to be an Explorer, an ELI participant, and a Scholar."

Clayton is set to graduate with a degree in English and Political Science in May. He hopes to work in government and politics, specifically in legislation and public policy and hopefully someday purse law school.

"Higher education is important to me because it has opened so many doors for me that would have otherwise remained closed," Clayton said. "My college journey has been incredible, primarily for the knowledge and skills I have gained, but also because of the experiences I have been afforded."

One of those experiences stems back from his time in The Center's youth programs.

"My time in Scholars taught me many things - it taught me how to engage with people from different backgrounds, how to be a leader in my community, and how to identify problems and create solutions," Clayton said. "Most importantly, Scholars taught me to dream big and pursue my aspirations."

Rogers Scholars
Rogers Scholars, The Center's flagship youth program, was established through the vision of U.S. Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) so that "no young person should have to leave home to find his or her future." Current high school sophomores are eligible to apply.

The intensive one-week summer program provides valuable leadership skills and exclusive college scholarship opportunities for students to build their skills as the region's next generation of business and entrepreneurial leaders.

The Rogers Scholars Program will take place next summer at Morehead State University on June 5-10 and at Lindsey Wilson College on July 24-29. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2022

Rogers Explorers
Rogers Explorers is open to middle school students who have a strong interest in developing their skills in leadership, team building, community service, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields of study. Current 8th graders are eligible to apply.

Rogers Explorers is a three-day and two-night program on a leading Kentucky college campus where experts will guide them through hands-on assignments. The program is presented by The Center for Rural Development in partnership with Lindsey Wilson College, Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, Asbury University, and Union College.

The Rogers Explorers application is now open through February 28, 2022.

In order to be eligible, students must live in the following counties in order to apply: Adair, Bath, Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Elliott, Estill, Floyd, Garrard, Green, Harlan, Jackson, Jessamine, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lincoln, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Taylor, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe.

For more information about The Center's youth programs, contact Allison Cross, community liaison and youth programs coordinator at The Center, at or call 606-677-6019.

This story was posted on 2021-12-09 17:06:25
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