COLLEGE STATION — David Wright, 4-H and youth development specialist for the 4-H Military Program of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, has received a Superior Service Award in the agency’s program specialist category.
The award recognizes AgriLife Extension faculty and staff members who provide outstanding performance in education or to the agency. The award was presented Jan. 8 during the agency’s Centennial Conference in College Station.
According to his award nomination, Wright has “transformed his position, the 4-H military program and the youth of Texas in myriad ways.” It describes him as “an outstanding leader who understands how to motivate his staff and volunteers in order to have a successful program.”
“David Wright is a leader within our agency,” said AgriLife Extension district administrator Dr. Susan Ballabina in her letter of recommendation supporting Wright’s nomination. “His level of professionalism is unmatched … and his creativity and willingness to think outside the box has resulted in more volunteers and more youth being involved in the (Military 4-H) program. David is committed to provide a quality program, not only for military youth but youth across Texas.”
The Texas 4-H Military Program has established 4-H clubs on and off military installations statewide. Some of the programs and activities include the Sport Fishing Camp, Water Camp, Military 4-H Science Day, Health and Fitness Camp, Purple Up, Operation: Military Kids and Tech Wizards.
The nomination stated that Wright’s personal efforts and leadership helped Texas establish a total of 41 4-H clubs with more than 3,500 members on and off Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine and Coast Guard installations in 2012.
Among his most notable grant-funded projects is the Texas Military 4-H Tech Wizards program, which targets kids ages 8-18 interested in emerging technology as a way of involving underrepresented youth and their families in learning basic life and workforce skills, as well as developing science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, knowledge and skills.
Another project noted was The College and Career Camp held at the University of Texas in Austin, which provides youth guidance about college and career opportunities, career options and how specific degrees can assist an individual in the workforce.
Other educational activities of the Military 4-H Program that Wright has championed are the Texas Navy Adventure Camp and Military Science Camp.
The adventure camp is a five-day program which helps sustain the well-being of military youth through fun leadership development activities and learning about the tools and skills needed to pursue adventurous and new activities.
The Military Science Camp focuses military youth on the importance and relevance of math and science programs in education and career success. 4-H related science projects and activities related to environmentally sound cleaning methods, electricity and plant and physiology help youth promote responsible stewardship of resources and gain math and science skills needed for academic success.
Wright also has been involved in the Round Rock Express Baseball and Nutrition Camp. For this camp, Texas Operation: Military Kids, Texas Military 4-H, National Guard Family Programs, the Williamson County family and consumer science agent and the Round Rock Express Baseball Organization collaborated to create a day of hands-on learning, baseball activities and healthy lifestyle workshops for youth.
“Mr. Wright has applied purposeful leadership to the Texas Military 4-H program to one of the most, if not the most, recognized military 4-H programs in the country,” said Dr. Chris Boleman, state 4-H and youth development director. “He is a strong communicator with an unparalleled work ethic.”