Each month we highlight an Ohio 4-H alumnus. They have amazing stories to share, from their personal experience in 4-H to how they have given back to the program. This month we feature Heather Wilson, Fairfield County alumna, and owner of High Gear Consulting.
Like many 4-H alumni, Wilson’s journey started in Fairfield County. During her 10 years in the program, she took a variety of projects, including dogs, rabbits, leadership, and miscellaneous 4-H projects. She was also involved in 4-H at the county and state levels. “I was a member of the Junior Fair Board, a camp counselor, and a youth representative on the Advisory Committee. At the state level, I served as a State 4-H Ambassador and on the Teen Advisory Council. In 2019, I was crowned Fairfield County Junior Fair Queen and went on to win the title of 2010 Ohio Fairs’ Queen.”
Wilson shared what she learned during her time in 4-H. “4-H taught me how to be a compassionate and dedicated leader. The skills I learned through my 4-H projects and serving on leadership committees translated into career skills. I learned how to lead productive meetings, solve complex problems, be innovative, and support others. A lot can be accomplished through kindness and servant leadership.”
Not only did Wilson learn life skills from 4-H, the experience also helped her discover her eventual career in public relations. “My year as the Ohio Fairs’ Queen led me to pursue a degree in journalism from Ohio University. After working in the corporate world for nearly eight years, I left to chase my dream of establishing a business that makes an impact. I am now the owner of High Gear Consulting, a communications and marketing firm. Relationships and my previous work helped me to become an entrepreneur who can give back to the community.”
It was hard for Wilson to select her favorite 4-H memory. “It’s tough to pick just one, but it would be serving as a 4-H camp counselor or winning the role of Ohio Fairs’ Queen and traveling to 88 fairs throughout the state. My mom and I drove 20,000 miles, just in Ohio, from June to October! I still treasure the relationships I built throughout the time as a representative for 4-H and fairs.”
Wilson maintained her 4-H ties after her 10 years as a member when she went on to become a 4-H volunteer. “I served as a hill supervisor at Tar Hollow 4-H Camp, dog show judge, and provided feedback on county achievement forms at workshops for several years. I now serve as the secretary on the Fairfield County 4-H Endowment Committee, judge county and state fair queen competitions, and judge 4-H projects. I want to give back, as so many adults did when I was in the program.”
She shared this advice to 4-H youth: “Build relationships, be involved, and keep a record of everything you do. So much of what you do in 4-H will translate to an internship or job. The friendships you make through 4-H, both youth and adult, will continue to be valuable to you for decades to come.”