A graduate student from the University of Delaware recently chose Coudersport as the focus for an intense and high-profile investigation into outmigration of young people. Her case study is focused on one local community, but Denise Mayes believes her master’s degree thesis will apply to other small towns with the same set of problems. Mayes’ findings won’t be published until spring and she’ll return to share them. In the meantime, she has seen some rays of hope.
Young adults who have left the area for careers or other pursuits express a desire to return, if they can find ways to meet their employment and economic needs. A large proportion of those who moved away a decade ago concede that they did not appreciate the positive qualities of their hometown until they had experienced life in other areas.
Mayes, who is pursuing her master’s in human geography, also sees a disconnect between teenagers and community leaders. She hopes to present suggestions on how the gap can be bridged so that Coudersport’s and Potter County’s institutions become more responsive to issues involving young people. She has a Facebook page and welcomes input through that forum or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Title of her thesis is, “Coming of Age in Rural Pennsylvania: How Place Shapes Mobility and Aspirations of Young People in Coudersport, Pa.”
Potter County Today is a timely information site courtesy of the Potter County Commissioners. Reprinted with Permission.