Texas A&M AgriLife Extension – Gray County is proud to announce that Rodney Robertson, Gray County 4-H Volunteer, will be honored with the 4-H Salute to Excellence award for his outstanding service as a 4-H Volunteer by the Texas 4-H Youth Development Program.
Rodney has been a 4-H volunteer leader in Gray County for seven years. He serves as the lead coach for the Shooting Sports: Shotgun project. He is also a member of the Parent-Leaders’ Council. Rodney actively supports county-wide Geranium fundraisers as well as project-specific fundraising. In 2017, Rodney was recognized as an Outstanding Leader by our 4-H Council and a Distinguished Leader by our Parent-Leaders Council. As a Distinguished Leader, he was also recognized at the 2017 District 1 Gold Star Banquet.
As the lead shotgun coach, Rodney plans and provides regular project meetings, fun shoot fundraisers, gun safety courses, and accompanies youth to multiple shotgun competitions each year. The heart of this individual is what makes his leadership extraordinary. Rodney regularly uses his free time and personal funds to make calls to the surrounding states and drives to Oklahoma and Dallas to secure shotgun shells for Gray County and surrounding counties’ shooting programs. He easily devotes more than 250 hours a year to the 4-H Shooting Sports program. He has developed an outstanding working relationship between 4-H and the Pampa Gun Club and Pampa Reload. The Pampa Gun Club provides the range and equipment to the 4-H members for 4-H practices. They have also cut the price of membership for 4-H members. Pampa Reload is our local gun store that orders equipment and sponsors youth activities. Four years ago, seeing an opportunity, Rodney and the other coaches organized fun shoots for the youth in Gray County and throughout the Texas Panhandle. He secures the facility, donations, prizes, and event workers.
The 4-H Shotgun project has grown under Rodney’s leadership. When Rodney took the lead coach position seven years ago, Gray County averaged less than 10 youth shooting weekly during the Shotgun season. Through his passion and dedication to youth, that number has grown. Through his encouragement, we now have teams shooting at the District 1 competition, the State Games, San Antonio Stock Show, and multiple outside competitions. Each year our youth have placed at multiple competitions. Rodney accompanies the youth to each of these competitions.
During his time as a volunteer leader, Rodney has brought in over $17, 600 to the Gray County Shooting Sports: Shotgun program through donations from Phillips 66 and other donors. He has secured the NRA Grant monies and conducted the Fun Shoot fundraisers. The monies secured by Rodney have been used to purchase equipment, shells, targets, and pay the entry fees for the multiple competitions. Through his relationship with Pampa Reload, several team members’ entry fees have been sponsored. The money secured through Rodney has increased the participation of youth who otherwise would not have been able to participate.
Rodney is a servant leader. He works hard to provide opportunities for the youth in the 4-H program, regardless of which county they reside in. He generously gives his personal time, money, and equipment to provide a successful learning experience for the 4-H members. It is not uncommon for him to stay after practice or meet a family on Sunday afternoon for extra coaching time or give 4-H members personal guns and supplies purchased from his pocket. Rodney is gentle and soft-spoken with the 4-H members building their confidence, self-esteem, and shooting skills. He is their biggest cheerleader and fiercest advocate!
Rodney began his journey as a 4-H leader because his daughter, Emily, began to show an interest in the family’s favorite sport of shooting. Having a desire for her to learn and grow her skills, 4-H was a perfect fit. He also wanted to share that knowledge and build those skills in other youth. This has been exemplified many times over. One of the more significant moments of his servitude was in 2020 at the beginning of the COVID Pandemic. One of our 4-H members lost his father expectedly. Rodney stepped up and made sure that this young man was at practice, registered for competitions, and where he needed to be on time taking him in under his wing. He also made sure all fees were paid and not an additional financial burden for the family.
Although his daughter Emily has graduated from our 4-H program, Rodney continues to share his passion for shooting, by working with all 4-H members and providing hands-on activities to build their skills. For fun, he will also register for competitions, modeling sportsmanship for the shooters. He supports our youth by advocating recognition for their accomplishments through prizes and public recognition. Rodney’s passion, compassion, and encouraging attitude to help youth strive to accomplish their best, makes him a deserving recipient of the Salute to Excellence Award.
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