By: Ryan Brady

In June, I served as an HB representative for the HOBY youth leadership program, and I just wanted to write a quick note regarding my experience for anyone who may be interested in this amazing opportunity.

HOBY is principally a leadership training program. It offers programs for high school students worldwide ranging from seminars to week-long programs to programs for its 500,000 alumni. It was founded by Hugh O’Brian, who was born in Rochester, New York, in 1925. He was the youngest drill instructor in Marine Corps history and served during WWII. After the war, he pursued a successful career in acting on Broadway and television. He traveled to Africa to spend time with Dr. Albert Schweitzer, a famed humanitarian and the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Dr. Schweitzer taught Hugh O’Brian that “the most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves.” Inspired by Dr. Schweitzer, upon returning the the US, he began the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program (HOBY), a program designed to “inspire a global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service, and innovation.” His program reflected his belief that “every person is created as the steward of his or her own destiny with great power for a specific purpose: to share with others, through service, a reverence for life in a spirit of love.”

For more than 50 years, HOBY has motivated students to become leaders in their community. At HOBY, I participated in a group bonding activities like scavenger hunts, talent shows, volunteer work, and thought talks. HOBY does an amazing job of combining fun with learning, and I grew incredibly close to the people that I met there. As ambassadors, we were inspired by guest speakers and participated in programs that helped us best determine our own leadership style so that we could make a difference in our own communities. I felt that I had instantly found a new home of like-minded students and educators at HOBY.

HOBY was a wonderful experience and a chance to meet with other students that I am still in touch with. I would encourage any high school student to learn more about the HOBY program, especially if you are interested in learning about leadership and your own limitless potential!

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