This past summer, upcoming juniors attended leadership seminars all over the world. These eye-opening seminars are put together by an organization called HOBY. HOBY, which stands for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership, was created in 1958 by Hugh O’Brian, a famous actor in the 50s and 60s. In 1958, Hugh was asked by Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, to visit him in Africa where he was helping patients, particularly those dealing with leprosy. As Hugh was leaving, after spending nine days in Lambarene, Africa, Schweitzer took his hand and asked him a question that would change Hugh’s life. Schweitzer asked Hugh, “Hugh, what are you going to do with this?” Two weeks after returning home, O’Brian started a seminar for young sophomore leaders, starting in California, and now has seminars all around the globe (Hoby.org).
HOBY has been changing students’ lives for decades and giving them the motivation and encouragement to lead by making a difference on the world in what they are passionate about. I am one of these students, along with Tamara Biddle, Kaleb Manley, Logan Lower, and Carrie Lyle. Asking Kaleb Manley why others should go to Hoby, he replied that students should attend “because it allows them to be around selfless individuals who want to have a great time.” He continued with saying, “You’ll have chances to make numerous connections. I’m still able to see other ambassadors after Hoby at student council retreats, conferences, Boy State, Governor’s School, and other camps.” Tamara Biddle said, “Hoby was a great experience. I enjoyed meeting new people that have become lifelong friends.”
I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t expecting much when I first learned of HOBY. I thought I would learn a little and then go home. However, my expectations were far succeeded. HOBY was very insightful for me, and I learned many new things: how to reach my goals, make plans to accomplish my dreams, make a difference on something that is important to me, when to lead, but also when to follow.
The speakers, activities, and discussions we had were all a wonderful experience, but what shocked me the most were the friendships and relationships I built. There were so many people who had a similar outlook and motivation about their future as I did, and that was very reassuring. It was fun to see everyone’s opinions and outlooks on different matters happening in the world. Everyone was so respectful of people’s different views, and throughout the weekend, I didn’t hear one word of judgement on what someone else said, which is a rare thing today.
One other good thing I took out of meeting new people at HOBY, is that I have already been able to build on relationships with people I will probably meet again, whether it being as a HOBY alumni, another leadership event, or perhaps college. In fact, one girl I met has become a really close friend, and we have already visited each other multiple times.
HOBY is a great opportunity for all students, and because I had such a wonderful time, I want to encourage Freshmen and Sophomores to start thinking about attending HOBY at the end of their Sophomore year. It will not disappoint.