Stay Together Appalachian Youth! STAY Summer Institute | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Stay Together Appalachian Youth! STAY Summer Institute

The STAY Project (Stay Together Appalachian Youth) is a diverse regional network of young people throughout Central Appalachia who are working together to advocate for and actively participate in their home mountain communities.


This project began in 2007 at an Appalachian Studies conference, when youth participants expressed that they didn’t know how to participate in movements for social change, that there were few access points for them as young people, and few opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge that would allow them to contribute to social change efforts. These young participants created the STAY Project.  

Now, almost five years later, its network of members and regional gatherings create avenues for young people to educate themselves, find voice, and nurture political power, in their own communities of West Virginia, southwest Virginia, eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, and western North Carolina.  The STAY Project is currently a consortium supported by Appalshop’s Appalachian Media Institute in Whitesburg, KY, High Rocks in Hillsboro, WV, and the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, TN.

This August 9-12, the STAY Project will host the STAY Summer Institute at the Pine Mountain Settlement School in Harlan County.  

Committed to having all voices and identities supported within Appalachia, and understanding that youth are often left out of spaces of decision-making, the STAY Summer Institute will bring together youth from throughout the region for a four-day workshop.  The gathering will serve to empower young people through a sense of place, promote leadership development, uphold Appalachian identity through cultural arts and storytelling, and build personal relationships to sustain each other through our efforts.  The leadership trainings will focus on organizing, popular education, grant writing, small-business skills, financial/budget management, anti oppression workshops, etc. The cost for this workshop is between $50-$150 (sliding scale) and includes room and board.



Again, the STAY Summer Institute will be from Tuesday, Aug. 9 to Friday, August 12 in Bledsoe, Harlan County, KY. Contact [email protected] if interested, or visit STAY at



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