Youth Programs

Where are you going? 

The future of rural America depends on whether its young people want to stay—or come back—and help it grow. Engaging rural youth early is key to giving them this opportunity. The Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) provides scholarships, a Youth Tour, and a number of other programs to help invest in the next generation of rural leaders and citizens.


We have dozens of scholarships available for high-achieving, self-motivated rural students.

Youth Tour

We welcome over 100 rural students to D.C. to learn about policymaking & rural telecom.

Rural Youth Survey

Every other year, we survey hundreds of rural youth on their telecom usage.

Rural Youth App Challenge

Deadline for submissions: April 20, 2018

Challenge Overview

Students will develop a concept for a mobile app that will address a problem or improve a process in their rural community or in rural America at-large. The challenge will be concept-based only and the judgement will be based on how well-researched and well-presented the app is. The concept must be possible, well-researched and not already be an app in existence (but may be similar).

Who is eligible?

  • Students enrolled in grades 7 through 12
  • At least one student teammate must live in an area served by an NTCA­—The Rural Broadband Association (NTCA) member company*


Must be made up of 1 to 5 students, all within eligible grade range, and with at least one member served by an NTCA member company.

First 10 Applicants with Complete, Qualifying Application:

Will receive a year-long subscription to Codecademy-PRO (worth $84, approx.) and be eligible to win a $50 Amazon gift card.


The winning team will receive $1,000 in gift cards and Codecademy Scholarships.

Ownership: FRS has the nonexclusive right to publish photos and videos provided by students on their progress and use them for publicity.


Question: How do I participate in the FRS Rural Youth App Challenge?

For Students:

Step 1: Check and see if you are served by an NTCA member company.

  • An NTCA member is a rural broadband provider. If you are served by an NTCA member, this is likely your local rural telephone or internet provider. This would not be big companies like Verizon, AT&T, Windstream, etc.  Call your local Internet provider or contact FRS to find out for sure. The application will require that you include the name and contact information of an employee of the NTCA Member company.

Step 2: Make sure you are in eligible grade range.

  • Grades 7 through 12.

Step 3: Form your team.

  • All participants must be within eligible grade range
  • At least one team member must be served by an NTCA member.
  • You may have up to 5 team participants.
  • Designate a team contact person (Parent or Teacher)
  • (Optional: come up with a team name.)

Step 4: Come up with your idea for an app.

  • Make sure it fits the “Challenge Overview” (featured above).

Step 5: Fill out the Rural Youth App Challenge application (all of it).

This will include:

  • Your Team Information
  • A description of:
    • Your community
    • The challenge or process your app will address
    • The audience for your app
    • The app itself and how it will appear in online app stores.
  • NTCA member company contact information
  • Visuals:
    • What your app will look like in an online store
    • What it will look like opened on a device
    • Video

Step 6: Submit your application by no later than April 20, 2018.


For Teachers:

This can be a school-administered program. Please refer to the items above to ensure qualification of school teams in the app challenge. Teachers may be the contact person for more than one team.


If you have any questions, contact FRS at or 703-351-2026.


*Please contact your local telecommunications provider to determine if it is an NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association member.


For more information or to promote the program in your area, check out this flyer


View the application


Watch an archived version of the webcast that provides additional insight into this new program!

Jessica Golden and Carissa Swenson launched the first-ever FRS Rural Youth App Challenge in this webcast. The webcast launched the challenge, walked viewers through the application process and answered questions.