Celebrating 4-H Week with Jane Wolery, Montana 4-H Foundation Executive Director
Thank You Teton County 4-H!
During my 24th consecutive Teton County 4-H Fair in 2022, I had the pleasure of working with a new colleague and friend who was less than four months into her service as an MSU Extension Agent. She was visiting Teton County to gain experience. She is probably the youngest hire on record, having started at age 20. By contrast, when I arrived in Teton County, I was 30 years old, had taught and been a school counselor for five years and had been an Extension Educator in Sheridan, Wyoming for nearly three years. She is the age of my daughters.
While we were working on fair details and preparations, the younger Extension professional let us know that she needed to stop and get something to eat for supper. I decided to invite my husband to eat with us at a local restaurant. During our meal, she asked, “When does working for Extension get good?” I was grateful for the question because it meant (presumably by watching us) she realized that it did get good. Interestingly, while I was still thinking, it was my husband who answered. He said, “It gets good when you start changing people’s lives.” My husband has played an extremely supportive role in my Extension career. My daughters and mother contributed to my career as well.
After supper, while I was back working on the fair, I thought about the conversation, how my husband answered, and how I might have answered. I thought in many ways he was right – it does get good when you start changing people’s lives. As I reflected further, my mind shuffled through so many 4-H members, Extension and 4-H events, families, and people. I realized that while it is good when you start changing people’s lives, it gets even better when they start changing yours.
I want to express my sincere gratitude for the many ways serving as an Extension agent has enriched my life, for the cherished memories, and the wonderful friendships. Thank you for making my life better, and for the positive influences you’ve had on my entire family.
During National 4-H Week, October 2-8, it is with gratitude that I celebrate the amazing service, leadership, and learning that 4-H has offered in Teton County, and truly, all of Montana. It is because of the amazing Extension and 4-H impacts I have experienced in Teton County that I am now able to serve in my new position with the Montana 4-H Foundation sharing the value of 4-H and seeking those who want to invest in that value for Montana youth and communities. Anyone who wants to consider donations, sponsorships, planned giving, or legacy giving to Montana 4-H is welcome to contact me. I suspect there are many others in our county who have seen the tremendous value of 4-H.
Jane Wolery is now serving as the Executive Director for the Montana 4-H Foundation. She works from her home office in Choteau, from Taylor Hall on the MSU Bozeman campus, and throughout Montana. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.