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4-H leader retires after 44 years
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4-H leader retires after 44 years

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A leader of the 4-H program retired this year after more than 40 years.

Jane Esau retired last week from Gage County 4-H after 44 years of service to the program.

“I started as a secretary on the first day of the fair,” she said. “It was my easiest fair because I didn’t know anything. I just took direction, but also the hardest because I hadn’t been involved in any of the setup. I didn’t know what I didn’t know that year.

“I have a lot of wonderful memories from throughout the years. It’s been awesome.”

Esau recalled working with the elementary schools with the embryology learning and baking bread as some of her favorite activities.

“My passion has always been ag education and exposing kids to agriculture when many had no idea where their food came from was a highlight,” she said. “Partnering with the Gage County Ag Society in offering Day on the Farm with third graders was so much fun.

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“There were an average of 500 youth involved with 4-H activities every year. We offered a program that youth were able to learn, grow and excel. Ninety-one youth from Gage County earned the pinnacle award of the National 4-H Congress trip during those 44 years. Not a lot of 4-H Coordinators could say that. Fair time has always been a busy, crazy time of year, but so many good memories of the different themes, the projects and 4-H shows.”

Paul Hay, retired Extension Educator, said that he was more successful in Gage County because he worked with Jane.

“She never quit working for the youth,”added Kay McKenzie, retired Extension Educator.

A drive-thru retirement party was held at the Extension Office to recognize her.

“We want to honor Jane for her many years of service and her dedication to 4-H,” said Jacie Milius, Gage County Extension Assistant Educator.

Her husband, Don, continues to serve as a 4-H Club Leader and as a member of the Gage County Ag Society.

Jane plans to spend more time with her family, including her five grandchildren, in her retirement.

“I don’t want to become a harvest gopher for Don, but I’ll have more time to do the things that I’ve wanted to do at home, with church and in the community,” said Esau.

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