Hey HOBY! Hey What?!?

HOBY is an organization founded in 1958 by actor Hugh O’Brian. His volunteer service in Africa inspired him to develop a community of youth volunteers dedicated to leadership, service, and innovation. Little did he know that his leadership seminars would spread across the entire nation and world.

From June 12 to June 14, I had the opportunity to attend the 2015 HOBY NorCal Leadership Seminar at Sacramento State University along with 120 high school ambassadors from all over Northern California.

The overall experience was incredible and so inspirational! The program consisted of three different phases: Personal Leadership, Group Leadership, and Leadership for Society. On the first day, we discovered our own styles of leadership by taking a spirit animal quiz. Then, we were divided into four groups based on our spirit animal, and a contest was held to see which group could build the tallest tower using the given materials within ten minutes. The activity taught us that the most successful tower would consist of a group with mixed leadership styles. The second phase was Group Leadership. Small teams representing different companies negotiated with each other to buy and trade plots of land. This required us to cooperate and be flexible with one another. We also had two keynote speakers, including Facebook's Chief of Learning and Development Mike Rognlien.

On the second day, we focused on Leadership for Society. We went to a park to help pick up trash, trim bushes and weeds, paint benches— what would normally take the park ranger six months to do took us three hours to do! After dinner that night, about 20 HOBY ambassadors performed in the talent show. This was one of my favorite parts of the weekend— I even performed my Chinese yo-yo!

On the third and final day, we applied our skills learned from the first two phases into setting goals and planning projects for our communities. It was sad leaving the friends we just bonded with, but HOBY left us with a burning mission to lead and set an example for those around us. What I learned from HOBY will definitely carry with me into my club I started at my high school. This past year, I started Club H.E.R.O., which stands for Helping Everyone Reach Out, and like HOBY, my mission is to promote self-awareness and empowerment through discussions addressing teen-related social issues with a superhero theme.

Altogether, my favorite part of the weekend was meeting other high school ambassadors that were so motivated, talented, and optimistic about making change in their communities. I also loved the positive environment HOBY embraced us with through the cheers and activities. My experience at HOBY was unforgettable, and I wish for all future rising juniors to experience this too.