Philip Wright has been characterized as personable, confident, caring, charismatic, kind, funny, positive and joyful. Despite getting academic and basketball scholarships offers from Harvard University and Boston Architectural Center, he came to South Mississippi to be closer to his family. He holds a degree in Architectural Engineering from University of Southern Mississippi and has committed his life to building strong young people in the state of Mississippi through his affiliation with the Boy Scouts and his church. He achieves success through his devotion to daily and untiring contact with hundreds of youth.
Wright is the Urban Emphasis Director for the Pine Burr Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Four years ago, scouting was non-existent and parental involvement was a dream. Wright has been able to transform the community by providing opportunities for the children and gaining support from their families. Wright’s Scoutreach program has resulted in Hattiesburg growing from 300 youth in scouting to more than 1,200.
Wright’s work has yielded national recognition for the newest and fastest growing Urban Emphasis Division in the Southern Region of the United States and has achieved the honor of leading the fastest district to produce Eagle Scouts in the 92-year history of the Pine Burr Council. Wright’s innovative, Scoutreach was featured in the May 2003 Boy’s Life Magazine. He is a positive role model to all who know him and he produces a ripple effect that impacts thousands of lives.
Wright is a Godfather to nine children ages 10 to 15. All are from single parent homes, but they are bound together through scouting. Because of scouting and Wright, they will all go to college. Three of them have already attained Eagle Scout status and the rest are working toward that honor. He is also Youth minister and coach of the First Priority Venture Crew at Hattiesburg High School. This is a coed, student-led prayer group of 45 that meet weekly to pray for the campus, the community and the country. The HHS Venture Crew was featured in the Hattiesburg American and Time Magazine after the tragic events of September 11th.
He is also a role model to adults who want to improve Southern Mississippi. He and his scouts built the Family Education Center Outdoor Classroom as part of the Martin Luther King Day of Caring, Life of Service Event. They work as leader members with the local chapters of the Jane Goodall Institute Roots to Shoots, Lessons of Hope Program. They actively participate in the Phi Delta Kappa International Ethical Leadership League and engage in community, humanitarian and environmental service projects. Wright is also inspiration for the more than 3,500 urban youth as he helps them become leaders, nurturing hope and building futures through goal-setting and compassionate actions in the community.