Megan Midcap, West Virginia University Extension youth development agent in Lewis County, recently received the Ethel and Gerry Heebink Award for Distinguished State Service, which recognizes faculty or staff who have provided distinguished service to West Virginia over a period of time.
“I do not feel worthy of this award, I am truly honored,” Midcap said. “I did not get here by myself, when I think of this award, I think of all the people who I have worked with, coached me and mentored me along the way.”
Midcap was honored for her work on the Department of Justice grant “Strengthening Families and Children of Incarcerated Parents through the 4-H Life Program." She served as the grant’s curriculum and outreach coordinator for the 4-H Youth Development program unit, providing weekly workshops for inmates at the Federal Correctional Institution in Hazelton, West Virginia. As part of the grant project, she coordinated with the prison education department, taught parenting classes, worked with the inmates’ family coordinator to schedule family visits and provided the inmates’ children the opportunity to go to a 4-H camp.
“The 4-H Life Program positively affected the children because they got the opportunity to come to our state and county camps,” Midcap said. “This program was beneficial for the inmates because they got to see their children that they had not seen in a long time, when they visited the correctional facility and the children got to be in a positive and fun environment. It was beneficial for all parties.”
She also is recognized for her efforts in acquiring and overseeing the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies’ “Capital Access to Maximizing Participation” grant. Through the grant, she was able to work with other faculty and staff to remove barriers to camping participation and ensured that 165 first-time camping youths from every county in West Virginia attended the statewide 4-H Older Members Conference. The funding from the grant covered camper registration, transportation to camp and a hygiene kit for the week of camp.
“I served as co-PI [principal investigator] on the grant and was the assistant programmatic director for the camp, where I was responsible for making the schedule, coordinating speakers, transportation and all the other aspects of making this camp happen,” Midcap said. “It is important for kids to go to camp for the first time because camp provides opportunities for kids to learn how to be independent, be a leader and grow as a person.”
As the recipient of the 2023 Heebink Award, Midcap was recognized for her service record characterized by significant impacts in a short amount of time and the promise of additional significant service contributions.
“It is such an honor to be recognized for my work with service, and I am so lucky I get to do the work I do because I do not think there is anything better than playing a small part in making someone else's life better or empowering kids to believe in themselves,” she said.
As a recipient of this award, Midcap will receive a $2,000 professional development honorarium. Midcap plans to use the funds for professional development to continue to learn how to best serve West Virginia youths and families to make sure she is providing positive youth development experiences through the 4-H program. Midcap wants the honorarium to benefit the people she serves.
“I am responsible for making these programs happen and working with 4-H volunteers to coordinate the events for our kids,” Midcap said. “We have almost 200 4-H'ers enrolled in our program, and we help them learn and grow. My favorite part about being an agent is when I get to see my 4-H members excel and achieve great things, like showing their animal or completing a project they are proud of. I also could not do my job if it was not for the volunteers and the people that give back to 4-H.”
Midcap has been involved in 4-H since she was 10 years old when she attended her first club meeting in Hancock County, where she grew up. Over the years, Midcap remained involved in the 4-H program by participating in clubs, camps, Collegiate 4-H, being an Extension camping instructor throughout college, working as the 4-H Life Program’s curriculum and outreach coordinator, and now serving as a 4-H agent.
The award was established by David Heebink in 1982 in memory of his parents, Ethel and Gerry Heebink, two former University employees.
Micap was recognized earlier this spring along with three other WVU faculty members – John Ruppert, Emily Murphy and Cerasela Zoica Dinu – for their teaching and service to the University. Read more about the recipients and awards.
To learn more about WVU Extension, visit extension.wvu.edu or follow @WVUExtension on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.
CONTACT: Sophia Darmelio