Half way but always room for more!
June 08, 2017
HOBY HOBY HOBY-
**** READ FIRST: First paragraph is my general summary of what HOBY and the seminar is and the rest (if you are skimming this, pay closer attention to this part) is what it has meant to me.
*** ALSO READ: If this looks super long, just read the "What it was" part and you'll get why this outstanding organization is so important. Also watch my video! Link above :)
- What a blessing and huge part of my life. For those who don't know (and haven't heard my speech about how much I love, love, love this organization), Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership, or HOBY for short, is a that facilitates 3-4 day conferences for sophomores in high school all over the world. My specific conference that I went to in 2014 is the Pennsylvania East seminar and it comprised of 250 incredible humans sent as ambassdaors from high schools all over eastern Pennsylvania. Individuals are usually sent because they've shown some promise as a leader with no other GPA, atheltic ability, or musical talent qualifications (although some individual would exceed those qualifications if need be)- which basically means that it's an beautifully comprehensive group of all different types of students with a range of skills and cultural/academic backgrounds. Then, through a weekend of silly, shamelles cheering, panels of HOBY alum and others knowledgable professionals, and important, on-topic discussions in small and large groups, HOBY empowers high schoolers to use their skills to serve their community and ultimately, the world.
- and if you just tuned in here, to summarize, HOBY PA East is basically an outstanding leadership seminar for sophomores in high school that encourages leadership through service- I would like to say a little bit about my experience with HOBY... It changed my life from the day that I went to my conference in May 2014.
I heard about HOBY through a friend I met at a program who went the year before (I actually found it because they were tagged on Facebook in a HOBY event... lol woops for stalking) and asked my guidance counselor if my high school, John W Hallahan CGHS, sent ambassdaors. When she said no, I replied with, "Well... Can I?" And thus began my two-month jouney of going form adminstrator to administrator, pleading to be sent to this "thing" even though I truly had zero clue what it even was. I just felt like I had to go. Then, in January, FINALLY, they caved and . That was that; I didn't think about it much after, until the facilitator of my small group (we are seperated into groups of 6-7) emailed me a few weeks before the conference. She was told us that the dance theme was USA and to bring instruments if I played any... Ok. Well, I still had no clue what HOBY was from that but I showed up in May anywho... For the most rewarding, outstanding experience of my life thus far.
I had no clue what HOBY was when I asked my school to send me. I really couldn't have known without having gone.... In fact, to this day, I can't really tell you a succinct answer. All I can say is that, it was one of the first times outside my home, that I was told Further, I was told that my dreams and goals were not limited by my age, nor silly because of their wide reaches; no, I was convinced that those goals were even more possible now, at 16, because I had 250 friends to help me along. These are the that HOBY gives to its ambassadors- hope that things can change, the skills to enact that change, and the people to help you achieve them. If I become who I want to be in this world- namely, the lowkey leader of an environmental revolution, encouraging more critical thinking about our interaction with Earth, (and in general, a teacher of sorts)- I can accredit a lot of my drive to get there from HOBY. Not to mention, I am beyond grateful for the wonderful people I've met through the program. I'm fortunate enough to call many of them friends; they have made this world a lot less lonely and on my corner of the Earth, a lot brighter.
You may wonder, "What, Grace, do you do after you leave the seminar which brought you all these blessings?" Short answer is that you don't! I've gone back every year to HOBY since then, as a member of the A-TEAM (Alumni Team), and as a Junior faciliatator for two groups (shoutout to my baes in Groups O and P!!!!) Each A-TEAM member is responsible for completeing 100 hours of service in the year leading up to the conference as well as rasing $500 to help cover the cost of the seminar. It's a big task, but entirely worth it. I'm starting this fundraiser on CrowdRise to raise that $500 and also to share my story about HOBY. It's worth every penny.
PS. If you have a child who is going into high school or is currently a rising sophomore, encourage them to ask their guidance counselors about HOBY. If the school currently doesn't send an ambassador, maybe your child should be the first :)