(Click on photo to open larger format.)Felicia Allen of Chimacum has been chosen Jefferson County 4-H Leader of the Year for 2010. Felicia leads the Golden Clovers goat club and has been a 4-H leader for over eight years. She owns and manages a herd of about forty goats – all of the Lamanche breed. She has also raised Saanens, which are especially known for their rich milk. 4-H has been a positive focus in Felicia’s life from a young age and the community of 4-H has supported her through some remarkable adversity and challenges in her life.
At the age of two, Felicia was orphaned when her parents were killed in an auto accident. Her grandparents, who then raised her, were leaders in the 4-H horse project. Felicia enjoyed many happy years with them, riding horses and enjoying all that a rural lifestyle provides. However, at the age of thirteen, she suffered another great loss when her beloved grandparents also died in an auto accident. Throughout all this turmoil, one constant and positive activity that she would eventually return to was her participation in 4-H.
Felicia became involved in the 4-H sheep project when her first-born child, Jennifer, was young. She and her husband, Jerry, started with Pygmy goats and then when their son, Ben, was two years old it became clear that he could not drink cow’s milk because of an allergy. Patrice Larson, a mom in 4-H, gave Felicia’s family a dairy goat and so began the process that eventually resulted in Felicia’s strong and healthy goat herd. In 2005 the family bought five acres in Chimacum, where they home-schooled their six children and began raising goats. They also joined the Golden Clovers 4-H goat club of Jefferson County.
The five-acre Allen farm was chosen specifically for raising goats – it is located on a hill and although it has water, there are no sensitive wetlands. Felicia is an expert in raising and breeding healthy, happy animals. She is meticulous in her care of them. She ensures their optimum health and disease-free status by following veterinary specifications at all times during birth, milking, and raising. As a result, her goats have a reputation of quality that includes award-winning breeding stock appreciated and valued by other breeders.
Golden Clovers’ youth participants consistently score high at the Washington State 4-H Fair, often taking top prizes in their categories. Felicia gently supports her club members through the learning process so that they patiently build their animal husbandry skills over time. Of course, her own children are also members of the club, which gives the entire family a common focus for learning and fun.
In 2004 Felicia took the WSU Small Farms Class, which gave her a broader perspective about her herd. She then learned about soap making from Diana Dyer from Whiskey Hill Farm. She started successfully selling her goat soaps at farmer’s markets in Port Townsend, Port Angeles, Ballard and Queen Anne Hill in Seattle.
Through 4-H and other experiences Felicia has become a knowledgeable businesswoman, who understands the important traditions of animal husbandry to a high level. Asked why she continues to find time in her busy schedule to lead a 4-H goat club and also be superintendent of the small livestock barn at the Jefferson County Fair, Felicia will tell you, “4-H has helped me survive some pretty remarkable challenges in my life. The community of 4-H has supported my life-long learning in so many ways – now I love giving back to others as a 4-H club leader.”