I have been fortunate enough over the last few weeks to attend two HOBY seminars. For those of you not familiar with HOBY, it stands for Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership, and there are 3-4 day seminars in every state in the U.S. that bring together amazing sophomores in high school for a life-changing leadership seminar.
I am a HOBY alum from 2001 in Colorado. Last year, for the first time since my ambassador year, I wasn’t able to attend any HOBY seminars because I was traveling in the Middle East. Last weekend, though, I was able to attend the WA state seminar, and I just left the SD seminar and am on my way to my home seminar in CO. In attending these seminars, I have to say that there are few things that give me more hope about the future of our world than my HOBY experiences.
My main role in HOBYs these days is to present my Wall presentation as a guest speaker. Now I have done The Wall a number of times in a diversity of settings, and facilitating The Wall at HOBY does something for me that I can’t find many places. It fills me with an insatiable, infectious feeling of hope.
I’m a news addict, and while I love being informed about our world, it can sometimes leave me pretty depressed and hopeless about the state of our world. HOBY always has the exact opposite effect! Working with HOBY ambassadors means working with hundreds of the most hopeful, passionate young people in the world, and every single one of them is committed to making our world a better place.
I am not honestly sure how I made it through the last year having taken a year off from HOBY, but as I think about it, it is no wonder that I struggled to find hope in my often-emotionally-draining job as a teacher in North Lawndale on Chicago’s west wide.
Enough rambling. Here’s the rub. Thank you to all of the incredible HOBY volunteers and ambassadors who continue to inspire me. Working for social justice in our world of turmoil and injustice can sometimes feel hopeless. You are always to help me find Hope.