Mission and Values
To inspire and develop our global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service, and innovation.
For more than five decades, HOBY has inspired young people to make a difference and become catalysts for positive change in their home, school, workplace, and community. As America’s foremost youth leadership organization, HOBY has a long history of successfully motivating young people to develop into outstanding leaders.
CORE LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Much of the work at HOBY involves young people exploring and identifying their unique leadership skills. Every student is different, and there is no attempt to impart a predefined set of attributes onto HOBY participants. We stress self-knowledge, uniqueness, and authenticity, not conformity. Students learn to mobilize their own unique traits and are exposed to particular leadership principles that they can explore and incorporate in a fashion that is true to their own personality.
Some of these include:
Consciousness of self: values, emotions, and beliefs that motivate you to take action
Behaving with consistency, genuineness, and honesty toward others
Personal commitment as energy that drives the collective effort
Collaboration: empowering others and self through trust
Common purpose—working with shared aims and values
Collective analysis of issues at hand and tasks to be undertaken
Maintaining civility in light of differences in viewpoint
Conflict resolution: creating group consensus
Conscientious citizenship: thinking critically about societal issues
Service as a way to become an effective, active citizen in the community
HOBY was founded by Hugh O’Brian in 1958 as a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire a global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service, and innovation. From 1958 to 1967, leadership seminars only took place in Los Angeles for High School sophomores from California. The success of the program over the first 10 years resulted in the expansion of the scope of the HOBY program. In 1968, seminars included international as well as national participants, and the leadership seminars moved to major cities across the United States on an annual basis.
In 1972, in keeping with the changing times of the growing women’s movement, young women were invited to attend HOBY seminars. In 1977 Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island are the first to hold State Leadership seminars. In 1986 the HOBY Alumni Association initiated Community Leadership Workshops, one-day local leadership training workshops. By 1988 10,676 high school sophomores, representing 51 percent of U.S. high schools, participated in State Leadership Seminars; HOBY volunteers numbered 2,500.
In 1990, the International Leadership Seminar was renamed the World Leadership Congress, and 28 countries sent students representatives for an eight-day global leadership summit. By 1998, HOBY celebrated its 40th Anniversary and launched a new initiative, Leadership for Service, challenging all HOBY ambassadors to commit to 100 hours of community service. Twenty pilot sites were given the community service challenge resulting in 345 ambassadors accomplishing more than 24,000 volunteer hours in 850 community service projects. Hugh’s belief in the potential of every human being and his commitment to helping the youth of the world become major contributors to society is his legacy. Today more than 500,000 HOBY alumni around the world are making a difference in the lives of others, thanks to the vision and passion of Hugh O’Brian.