The "Lone Eagles" Apprenticeship Program

An Agricultural Youth Mentorship Co-op


Rural communities, and their diverse cultures, are faced with the urgent challenge to adopt Internet use for economic survival. Youth are the key change agents and technology leaders in rural communities, and literally embody the future of our rural communities.

This project will demonstrate how youth can provide "fast-track awareness raising" through identification of replicable Ecommerce agricultural models for presentation to local citizens both on the web, and through face-to-face awareness workshops, along with basic Internet skills and benefits.

This project will demonstrate how youth mentoring skills can become an immediate community resource, and can evolve into a genuine vocational opportunity, allowing youth to work locally to build a future for their rural communities and/or cultural groups.

Over the past two years, the Kellogg "Managing Information for Rural America" initiative has created community teams of youth and adults from diverse geographical rural regions and cultural backgrounds. This project will engage select MIRA teams, and other select community teams, to take the next step demonstrating that the most effective social and economical means to impart the self-empowerment potential of the Internet to rural communities of diverse cultures is by youth teaching youth, across cultures, via Internet.

A "Lone Eagles" Youth Co-op will be created as a sustainable, youth-driven business to meet the need of American rural "digital divide" communities first, and foremost. The secondary mission of this project will be to create a replicable youth mentorship model to meet the global need of 15,000 cultures who will be connecting to the Internet in the coming decade, in a world where half the population has yet to make their first phone call. The International Thinkquest competition has already demonstrated the viability of youth creating high quality web-based instructional resources for worldwide access.

Emerging satellite and wireless technologies will bring affordable computers and Internet to billions over the next 10-15 years. With the current teacher shortage in the USA, the challenge will be how to create scaleable mentored and self-directed instructional opportunities appropriate for diverse cultures.

During a three year period ten teams of 4-10 youth, representing a minimum of six diverse cultures, will engage in a program of both face-to-face, and online mentored learning, to prove not only that youth-to-youth cross-cultural mentorship is viable, but is the most effective economic and social strategy available. Each team will have an adult team leader.

The teams will include:

Rural Hawaiian Youth

Rural Appalachian Youth

Rural Native Alaskan Youth

Rural Native American Youth

Rural Migrant/Hispanic Youth

Rural Montanan Youth

Frank Odasz, President of Lone Eagle Consulting, and founder of the Big Sky Telegraph Network, will leverage his long record of pioneering "online mentorship" projects to create the original online instructional units for this project to be used by youth, to train youth in other cultures, via Internet. Mr. Odasz will be creating for the ERIC clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools a "Cross-cultural Self-directed Internet Curriculum" based on the most empowering Internet skills. Mr. Odasz has worked extensively with Native Alaskans, Native Americans, Migrants and diverse rural populations in multiple capacities.

A Request for Proposals will be distributed to selected MIRA teams, and other youth groups, from which ten teams of 4-10 youth will be selected, each with at least one adult mentor, from different geographical regions and cultural backgrounds.

Each team member will earn a loaner laptop, by learning a self-empowerment curriculum of Internet collaborative tools and web-based storytelling skills, and then teaching these skills to other youth, via Internet. Each team will also receive a digital video camera, graphics tablet, and musical MIDI keyboard, and appropriate software for multimedia storytelling and Ecommerce applications.

Team members will then teach this same curriculum via Internet to youth in other cultures within a flexible evaluative structure that will thoroughly document successes in both affective and cognitive domains. Mentoring successes will be rewarded by youth exchange opportunities where participants will earn the opportunity to travel to meet their mentees to further revise their mentoring approaches and instructional materials.

Evaluative metrics will thoroughly document mentoring and instructional effectiveness to create an assessment model to support expansion of this training program and to create robust employment portfolios for each participating youth. A certification program based on Internet and mentoring skill development will be created.

The Key Objectives of this program are to:

Create a showcase website of agricultural Ecommerce successes, supported by self-directed instructional materials and a fee-based, youth-driven, mentorship service.

Create online curriculum to support dissemination of agricultural Ecommerce concepts, models and skills

Demonstrate the effectiveness of cross-cultural youth-to-youth teaching of Internet collaborative skills

Demonstrate how youth can help rural communities learn to benefit from the latest agricultural Ecommerce opportunities

Demonstrate how to retain youth as a community resource by identifying Ecommerce opportunities

Identify benefits and risks of Internet Ecommerce for Rural communities and cultures.

Provide a model of global citizenship within the context of preserving rural communities and cultural identity.

This project will span three years:

Year One: Mentoring and Storytelling

Year One will involve mastery of the basic skills and a first experience imparting basic skills to other students, via Internet. These skills will focus on use of Internet collaborative tools, mentorship skills, and web-based multimedia storytelling. Community and cultural identity and experience will be expressed to share with all project mentors and mentees.

Such resources would include documention of replicable, appropriate Ecommerce models which would become part of the training program. Risks and benefits of Internet and Ecommerce for rural communities, and cultures, will be assessed, and documented, as an online resource for all rural communities and cultures.

All participating youth will partner with at least one elder from their culture on a cultural community web-based story-telling project, in addition to each youth telling his/her own background via a web-based pictorial biographical story.

Year Two: Agricultural Entrepreneurship and Ecommerce

Year Two will involve both receiving and delivering a youth entrepreneurship curriculum with emphasis on agricultural and rural applications. Youth will create their own web-based resources to supplement their instruction of other youth, who will also be participating in creation of resources to assist the learning of all participants. Emphasis will be on the "brokerage" role of utilizing existing Internet resources presented in an appropriate "local" context.

Year Three: Instructional Entrepreneurship:
Global Marketing of Youth-Based Instructional

Year Three will leverage two years of online learning and teaching experience, and documentation, to produce youth portfolios of successes as to which skills were successfully taught across which specific cultural boundaries. These skills will be marketed to global training entities such as the World Bank, Academy for Educational Development and the U.S Agency for International Development as well as national governments worldwide.

Scope and Scale:

This project will create a highly replicable, economical and sustainable model for imparting essential Internet collaborative, web-expression and ecommerce skills, globally.

Global citizenship concepts, attitudes and behaviors will celebrate diversity while identifying how to protect one’s own culture from accelerating change and shifting economic patterns.

All instructional materials will be available for use by additional teams as they are able to secure local resources of computers and Internet access for direct participation. Where personal mentors are not affordable or available, all instruction will be accessible in a self-directed learning format, modeling optimal scaleability and potential for impacting large numbers of youth and cultures.


The Dillonet Community Technology Center (501c3) will serve as
fiscal agent for this project, with a budget of $825,000 for three years.

- $200,000 for initial equipment and connectivity

- $150,000/year for three years for site visits, workshops and
instructional materials/development, project management,
marketing, creating media awareness of the significance of
this project through ongoing storytelling.

- $175,000 for evaluation, mentoring metrics, misc. support
and travel.