An outstanding experience for an outstanding cause

An outstanding experience for an outstanding cause

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]“O-U-T-S-T-A-N-D-I-N-G OUT-OUT OUTSTANDING!” The ‘outstanding’ cheer will forever be ingrained in my head. However, at the beginning of this particular weekend I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. I signed up, and was chosen, for the Hugh O’ Brian Youth Leadership Conference (HOBY) in October of my sophomore year. As I walked into a mass of complete strangers, I wanted to turn back and hide. But if I had done that, I wouldn’t be able to say now that HOBY was a life changing experience and for that, I am so grateful for the impact it had on my life.

HOBY was founded in 1958 by Hugh O’ Brian; O’Brian was an actor that wanted to make a difference on a younger generation. He was invited to visit Albert Schweitzer in Africa for 9 days for humanitarian work. Afterward Schweitzer asked the question that remained with O’Brian, and now the alumni: what are you going to do with this? Two weeks later, O’Brian configured HOBY.

The core values that bind this international organization are volunteerism, integrity, excellence, diversity and community partnership. Since its founding, HOBY has been motivating students and adults to volunteer and be better leaders in their community.

Each fall, counselors at schools all across North Texas survey applications and essays to pick one or two ambassadors to represent their school at the North Texas Leadership Seminar. I was that ambassador for last year. Heading into it, I was excited for a new opportunity and another thing for my college résumé. If only I had known the real impact it would have on me.

Upon arrival, each ambassador is assigned a dorm room with two roommates and assigned a group with eight other individuals. Strangers one day became best friends four days later. It sounds cliché, but if you had the same experience, you would understand.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_animation image_url=”6027″ animation=”Fade In” img_link_target=”_self”][vc_column_text]The 2014 HOBY TXN ambassadors

photo povided by HOBY

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]During the seminar, we engaged in team building activities, anti-bullying discussions, and a poverty simulation. Throughout the entire four days, the positivity overflowed in catchy songs and coinciding dances. In addition, we were split up into three groups and sent to volunteer at various places around the city. We did all of this to better our outlook on life, which would help us when we returned back to school in the fall. Not only were we equipped with better leadership skills, but we walked away with skills that will help us in our uncertain future.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_animation image_url=”6029″ animation=”Fade In” img_link_target=”_self”][vc_column_text]My HOBY group

photo by Will Harris[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]For me, HOBY was a chance to be myself. It was not like other leadership programs that show you how someone else leads and says ‘you must be exactly like this person, and if you aren’t then you aren’t a real leader.’ HOBY facilitators tell us that whoever we are, whatever our strengths are – that’s what makes us good leaders. We don’t have to mimic anyone else. As a group, we discussed our goals. What we wanted to do with our lives. How we wanted to change the lives of others. Not once during this discussion was an idea ever shut down. That concept – of every idea being accepted – is extremely rare amongst our age group. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen. But our generation focuses so much on negativity that it’s something to be said when not one person has anything bad to say about your dream. My whole group walked away from that discussion filled with so much hope and pure excitement to do good in the world.

Current sophomores will be able to apply for HOBY by October 20 and the deadline to have the application turned into the counselor’s office by October 31. For more questions, contact our HOBY coordinator, counselor Marlene Hood.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][/vc_column][/vc_row]