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Coastal Community | July 20, 2018

Leading the Way with Lane County 4-H

Coastal Community Blue Collar Country Mindset Farmer Homesteader

Volunteerism is a wonderful thing. People who give their time to others deserve all the kudos in the world. But for those who help out with 4-H, the act of volunteering takes on a life of its own. Autumn Baker-Caulkins has happily experienced that first hand. She’s a full-time Coastal employee, mom, and 4-H community leader who gives up much of her free time to help energetic kids prepare for fair while learning country-minded values that will last a lifetime.

Meet Autumn

Back in fourth grade, Autumn remembers showing swine as part of her 4-H group in Florida.

“4-H is a family thing,” she recalled. “We moved to Oregon a few years later, but still did 4-H. That’s when I discovered pygmy goats. That started our family career in showing goats.”

Today, Autumn’s nieces show dairy goats, market goats, and pygmies.

“Small animals are pretty competitive. We like that. They’ve done great, earning champion or reserve at fair every year. They’ve even gotten best in show.”

Earning Top Honors

Every year, 4-H families nominate their favorite community leader. 2017 was Autumn’s year. At a special recognition banquet, she was awarded the Lane County 4-H 2017 Leader of the Year award. It’s a big deal that comes with some nice perks, including an invitation to the Oregon 4-H Leaders’ Forum, as well as a certificate commemorating the award.

“The certificate was nice,” she added. “But what I cherish most are the nomination letters that 4-H gave to me. I even had one of them framed. It states, ‘She believes in us.’ It is pretty cool.”

Equally cool is the fact that Autumn has been working full time at Coastal’s Eugene store for 12 years.

“I started as a cashier and then moved into animal health,” Autumn said. “When Lane County voted to eliminate programs like 4-H, Coastal brought the program back. Since then, we’ve been doing outreach programs, like taking small animals to memory care facilities so the residents can pet the animals and connect with nature.”

As leader of the Springfield Community 4-H Club, she’s proud of their work around the community, including welcome bags for foster kids, which are entirely managed by those in 4-H.

Her own child is in Clover Buds, the 4-H group for those younger than 4th grade.

“He doesn’t get to show at fair, but he will have three little goats in the open side,” Autumn proudly said. “4-H is like having a family. I don’t think I could ever leave 4-H. It would be like leaving a family.”

Your Fair and Animal Health Headquarters

Your Northwest owned and operated Coastal has everything you and your 4-H group need for fair and beyond. It’s all here, from clothing and fencing, to feed and medication. Stop by today, check out the selection, ask as many questions as you like, and find just what the country needs.

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