The future of rural municipal governments depends on young people stepping up to join municipal politics. 

This, according to Ray Orb, President of Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), who said that there are currently a lot of experienced people on the rural municipal councils, and some are getting older.

For that reason and others, they are looking at replacing some of the experienced members with the younger generation going forward. 

"Being a little bit more diverse, I think, is the goal as well. You know, attracting younger people but also attracting younger women as well." 

Orb explained that as they look and plan ahead, they want to ensure they are maintaining the integrity of their councils with younger people that can get more involved, while at the same time, knowing that there are challenges with that too. 

"I think one of the good places to start, probably, is perhaps in a high school," Orb mentioned,  "where we can offer some sort of training or maybe a career fair or something like that where we can go to young people and talk to them about what municipal council actually does."

"One other idea is being able to invite younger people to our councils and just actually have them sit at a council meeting. Perhaps you know, talk to the councillors, talk to the administer."

Orb said some of the benefits of getting involved in rural municipal government include providing input into the rural council, helping to form policy and guiding the direction within each individual's own rural municipal council.

"Part of the issue, a lot of our farmers, particularly the younger farmers, are involved in agriculture or other rural businesses. They're really busy, and some of them are expanding their operations. So there is less time available for some people to be able to participate in council. That's a barrier that we're up against."

Orb noted that they can accommodate people that have businesses and work around that by holding meetings at different times of the day, conduct virtual meetings and/or develop a mentorship plan for new councillors.

Orb added that SARM will be holding an upcoming convention in Saskatoon, and on March 15th members will hear from current RM council members about bridging the aging demographic with SARM members, as well as attracting the next generation to rural government.