Sharon "Sherri" K.B. Wright of Rehoboth Beach will be inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame Oct. 11 for her lifetime achievements and contributions to 4-H. Honored by 4-H National Headquarters of the Institute of Food and Agriculture - U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wright will be one of 16 people inducted during the ceremony to be held at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md.
Wright retired after 29 years working as a national program leader at 4-H National Headquarters, USDA, and as a professor at the University of Minnesota.
At USDA, Wright directed the Children, Youth, and Families at Risk program providing grants to Land Grant Universities for community programs for 27,000 at-risk, low-income youth and families. More than 10,000 CYFAR youth were in 4-H clubs, and 65 percent of CYFAR programs were sustained five and six years after federal funding expired.
In addition to administering five-year grants to 40-45 universities each year, Wright established a network of support for these CYFAR programs through agreements with six university faculty to serve as liaisons to the CYFAR grantees; an annual CYFAR professional development conference that reached 900 participants; and CYFERnet, one of the first internet-based, peer-reviewed, information networks of 8,000 resources for children, youth and family education and research programs. Wright managed an average of $7 million in CYFAR funding annually.
Wright directed a support network through 4-H National Headquarters and land grants in all states for 4-H Military Partnerships. She administered interagency agreements between USDA and Army, Air Force, and Navy, placing 30 university youth development professionals on assignments to military offices to provide technical assistance and training. She recruited state 4-H military liaisons in all 50 states to link their county 4-H staff with military installations. 4-H programs now operate on all Army, Air Force, and Navy bases.
More than 20,000 military youth are enrolled 4-H members worldwide. Wright also worked with Army personnel to design and implement Operation: Military Kids for children of National Guard and Reserve soldiers when their parents are deployed. OMK operates in 50 states, reaching 30,000 youth. Wright managed a total of $108 million in military funding at National 4-H Headquarters since 1995.
Wright’s significant honors include the White Plume Award (the Army’s highest medal for achievement) in support of Army MWR in 2008; the Department of the Air Force - Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 2008; the Air Force District of Washington Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award in 2007; the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary’s Honor Award to the 4-H Army Youth Development Project in 2006; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary’s Honor Award to the Children, Youth, and Families Education and Research Network Team in 2003. She also was Junior Princess in the 4-H Dress Review at the Wadena County Fair in 1953.
National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees are nominated by their home states, National 4-H Council, the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents or 4-H National Headquarters based upon their exceptional leadership at the local, state, national and international levels.
Wright and other honorees will be presented with a National 4-H Hall of Fame medallion, plaque and memory book during the ceremony. The National 4-H Hall of Fame was established in 2002 as part of the Centennial Project of the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents in partnership with National 4-H Council and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA. For more information about the National 4-H Hall of Fame event and past recipients, go to www.nae4ha.com/hof.