Kyle Smith selected 2017 National 4-H Hall of Fame laureate, inductee

Writer: Paul Schattenberg, 210-859-5752, paschattenberg@ag.tamu.edu

Contact: Toby Lepley, 979-845-1212, toby.lepley@ag.tamu.edu

Kyle Smith, teresacriswellsmith@yahoo.com

COLLEGE STATION – Kyle Smith, retired Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service executive associate director, has been selected a National 4-H Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Laureate and hall of fame inductee.

Kyle Smith has been selected a National 4-H Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Laureate. He will be inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in October. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Smith’s induction will take place during a special ceremony Oct. 6 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He is one of 16 Class of 2017 laureates being honored for “excellence in citizenship, leadership, character and career accomplishments,” and  “significant contribution to 4-H, the nation’s premier youth development organization,” according to the National 4-H Hall of Fame.

“These individuals have touched the lives of many people, from 4-H staff and colleagues to thousands of 4-H volunteers and members throughout the nation,” said Jeannette Rea-Keywood, chair of the National 4-H Hall of Fame.

Smith, who was nominated by Dr. Toby Lepley, statewide youth development specialist for Texas 4-H Youth Development, was described in the nomination as a “leader, advocate and role model” who for more than 45 years dedicated himself to the advancement of young people through the 4-H program.

Lepley’s nomination stated throughout his career with the AgriLife Extension agency of the Texas A&M University System, Smith never forgot his beginnings as a Menard County 4-H member and the personal impact 4-H had on him.

“As a 4-H member, Mr. Smith was active in raising and showing sheep, leadership and service to his county,” the nomination stated. “His service to 4-H never ended, and as an AgriLife  Extension administrator, he used his voice and position to promote 4-H and it its purpose in Texas and across the nation.”

Smith served in a variety of national roles, including chairman of the National 4-H Congress Board, the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy and other national leadership committees related to 4-H. In Texas, he was a Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation  administrative adviser and adviser to the Agrilife  Extension Volunteer Committee. He also served in leadership roles with county stock shows and as show superintendent for the two largest sheep shows in the nation — the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the San Antonio Livestock Exposition.

His 4-H advocacy was also seen in his leadership, which included guiding the development of a livestock mentoring program in which adult volunteers commit to giving back a determined number of hours to youth starting out in 4-H livestock programs.

“This passion grew into additional professional development programs such as Livestock 101 for new agents, the Livestock Ambassador Program, where youth are trained in livestock advocacy and then return their service through hours to the community, and 4-H and the Quality Counts program developed for youth livestock project participants,” Lepley explained.

According to the nomination, the Quality Counts program reaches over 20,000 youth annually and is now a required educational program for youth showing livestock at major livestock shows in Texas.

Some of Smith’s other awards and acknowledgements include a Texas A&M University System Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence; several AgriLife Extension Superior Service Awards for leadership, programming and teamwork; and recognition from organizations such as the Texas and National Association of County Agricultural Agents and the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers’ Association.

The National 4-H Hall of Fame was created in 2002 as a 4-H Centennial project to recognize and celebrate those who have made a significant impact on 4-H and its millions of members during the more than 100 years of that organization’s existence.

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