Wednesday, May 31, 2023

11 Remote Workers, Families To Live, Work And Play In PA Wilds This Summer In Cameron, Warren Counties

This summer, individuals and their families will experience the
Pennsylvania Wilds region during the second year of an initiative designed to show off rural communities as ideal places to live and work. 

Emporium in Cameron County and Warren in Warren County will serve as host communities for eleven remote workers throughout July and August 2023. 

The Wilds Are Working: A Remote Lifestyle Experience, developed by the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, is a collaboration with several partners and funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission through Ben Franklin Technology Partners. 

Participating community partners are provided a toolkit and resources to help them position their communities as part of the PA Wilds and prime locations for 21st century workers. 

Dozens of applicants from around the globe applied for the opportunity, and eleven lucky individuals – and their families – have been selected.

Emporium, located at the intersection of the Elk Country and Dark Skies landscapes of the PA Wilds region, will host its remote workers in July 2023.

Tina Johns Solak, executive director of the Cameron County Chamber of Commerce, said that Emporium was so thrilled with Cameron County’s applicants that the community increased their funding to support one more family this year. 

Cameron County will now host six individuals and their families, partners and, in some cases, pets, for an experience that will allow them to learn about small-town living, what it’s like to have easy access to outdoor recreation opportunities, and more.  Read more here.

Aside from sharing details about themselves and why they would be a great fit for an outdoorsy community, a core part of the application process was developed to help applicants evaluate their own readiness to relocate.

“The committee focused on those ready to relocate and seeking the opportunity to leave big box stores and strip malls behind,” said Solak. 

She noted that this year’s attendees to Emporium are visiting from Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and the Carlisle areas.

Warren, in the Allegheny National Forest and Surrounds Landscape of the PA Wilds, will host five workers and their families in August 2023. 

“The Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry is honored to have been given this exciting opportunity to host five remote workers during the month of August,” said Savannah Zimmerman, a chamber team member. “We are most excited about meeting these new people, and their companions, and hearing their outsider perspective and feedback about our community.”

Zimmerman noted that the initiative gives the organization an opportunity to learn about the opinions and “honest reviews” of their town, and that the planning team hopes to be able to take feedback and make changes that can attract other workers to the community. 

“We hope these five people fall in love with Warren County as they are fully immersed in our picturesque landscape, active nightlife and diverse entertainment options, and taste the authenticity of what our small town with big charm has to offer. After all, Warren County is a great place to visit but an even better place to live.”

Steve Brawley, President/CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern PA, says that the Wilds Are Working: Remote Lifestyle Experience is a great opportunity for workers who are working from home in crowded, expensive areas.

“I would love to tell people in New York, and DC, and Boston that you can live here and have a lifestyle, costs, and opportunities that you can only dream of affording in the large metros,” he said before last year’s Wilds are Working experiences.

Both communities will see window wraps installed in downtown storefronts that show off nearby natural assets and outdoor recreation opportunities in the PA Wilds. 

This is part of the same initiative, designed to provide the remote workers with inspiration for activities and to help them truly picture what their everyday lives could be like as full-time residents

About the Wilds Are Working

The Wilds Are Working: Recreation and Technology in Rural PA campaign seeks to raise awareness about the PA Wilds being a great place for remote and non-remote workers to live, work, and play. 

An initiative of the PA Wilds Center, in collaboration with several partners and funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission through Ben Franklin Technology Partners, the initiative was piloted in two communities in 2022, with funding available for additional communities to participate in 2023 and 2024.

As part of the initiative, the PA Wilds Center developed a toolkit, incentivization package and application portal that will allow other regional communities to take advantage of the program in years to come.

With an eye toward tackling the challenges that come with outmigration and a dwindling tax base, the Wilds Are Working campaign seeks to empower workers to try out living, working, and giving in the PA Wilds communities for one month with a hope that some of those participants will decide to work in the region full-time. 

Modeled after case studies emerging from across Appalachia and the nation, this program is one of many that rural communities are implementing to incentivize and stimulate revitalization. 

Participants receive housing accommodations for the month, along with a living stipend that can be spent at local establishments via a digital gift card. More information about where the stipend can be spent can be found online

In 2022, the Wilds Are Working: Remote Lifestyle Experience campaign was piloted in the communities of Bellefonte (Centre County) and Kane (McKean County). 

Individuals and their partners and/or families lived in these communities in the months of July and September.  This year, Emporium and Warren will serve as host communities. 

The 2024 host communities will be announced in early 2024, with a formal application anticipated to open in fall 2023 at

Visit PA Wilds Remote Working Project webpage to learn more about this program.

The Pennsylvania Wilds is a 13-county region that includes the counties of Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lycoming, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Warren, and northern Centre. 

Click Here to plan your visit to the PA Wilds.


-- PA Wilds Center: Emporium, Warren To Host Remote Workers For 2023 Wilds Are Working Initiative

-- Philly Magazine: Why I left My City Life To Try Remote Work In The Wilds Of Pennsylvania

-- WPSU: Wilds Are Working Project Brought Remote Workers To Kane, Bellefonte In 2022 - How Did It Go?

-- BucksCoToday: City Dwellers Try Remote Work In Rural Pennsylvania

-- Think Remote: PA Wilds Community Launches Remote Work Initiative

-- PA Wilds Cooperative: Remote Work Initiative Jumpstarts Transformation Of Building Into Coworking Space

Related Articles:

-- PA Wilds Launches Initiative To Attract Remote Workers To Region For A Lifestyle Experience   [PaEN]

-- Apply Now From Anywhere In The World! PA Wilds Accepting Applications From Individuals For The Remote Lifestyle Experience Program   [PaEN]

-- Susquehanna Greenway Partnership: Small Communities Becoming More Desirable In COVID Pandemic  [PaEN]

Related Articles This Week:

-- Cameron County Chamber Of Commerce Announces Participants In PA Wilds Remote Working Project To Visit The County In July  [PaEN] 

-- PA Wilds Center Seeks Full Environmental Impact Statement For Proposed Very Low-Level [100 Feet] Maryland Air National Guard Training Flights; Take Action Now    [PaEN] 

-- PA U.S. Senators Casey, Fetterman Request Full Environmental Impact Statement On Maryland Air National Guard Very Low Level Military Training Flights [100 Feet] Over PA Wilds  [PaEN]

-- House Bill Introduced To Create Veterans Entering The Sustainability Sector Workforce Incentive Program  [PaEN]

[Posted: May 31, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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