Military Child HOBY Partnership
Founded in 1958, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation’s (HOBY) mission is to inspire and develop our global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service and innovation. HOBY programs are conducted annually throughout the United States, serving local and international high school students.
HOBY provides students, for whom most are selected by their schools, to participate in a unique leadership training, service-learning and motivation-building experiences beginning a lifelong dedication to improving the lives of others.
Today, over 450,000 proud alumni make HOBY stronger than ever. HOBY alumni are leaders in their schools and communities, throughout the United States and the world, making a difference for others through service.
Hope For The Warriors partners with HOBY to spread the word to military children about the amazing leadership opportunities they offer.
The World Leadership Congress (WLC), one of the HOBY programs, is offered internationally to high school students between the ages of 15 and 17. The curriculum of WLC is based on the Social Change Model of Leadership and develops leadership from four perspectives: Personal Leadership, Group Leadership, Leadership for Society and Global Leadership. Students emerge from the WLC as more mature individuals, cognizant of the world around them and ready to make meaningful contributions to society.
Military child, Max Pastel, shares his experience at the WLC over the summer.
Going into WLC, I didn’t really know what to expect because I had never been to a HOBY event before. I was pleased to find that the WLC lectures were interactive and engaging and even had some comedic speakers.
All of the staff were very welcoming and the ambassadors were eager to meet as many new people as they could. At the end of the week when everyone said their goodbyes, I realized that I made genuine friendships with dozens of people that could last a lifetime.
I am an introvert but HOBY gave me the self-confidence to just be myself. The week went by very quickly and before I knew it I was on my plane home wishing I could do it all over again.
Here’s what I learned about leadership:
I realized that if I always act as my authentic self, then I would always be around people who enjoy me for who I am. I was different from a lot of the other ambassadors because I am a military child.
I didn’t meet a single person at HOBY who shared this unique culture.
Growing up I have always seen my father in leadership roles while serving as an active-duty Marine. He is fascinated by the art of leading others and has instilled some of his knowledge into me.
I believe that there is not just one best way to be a leader. There are many forms of leadership. This includes but is not limited to leading by example. There is also the vocal leader who is always motivating people and directing them in the path of success.
All leaders have one thing in common though, they hold themselves accountable. That is the thing my family values most in a leader, never ask something of someone else that you aren’t willing to do yourself.
To explain what I mean, here is an example, a football team is running sprints at the end of practice. The backup quarterback is busting his butt and sees the star receiver is just cruising. Even though the receiver is beating the backup without trying, the backup quarterback holds his teammates accountable to the same effort he gives. In speaking up to the receiver in front of the whole team, he sets a great example, is vocally motivating, and holding others accountable.
This is an example of great leadership.
Leadership as a Global Citizens:
A global citizen is aware of the wider world and has a sense of their own role in it and is willing to act to make the world a more equitable and sustainable place. At WLC there was a large focus on this idea of global citizenship and throughout the week I gained a stronger understanding of what it looks like to be a global citizen.
The speaker from Social Promise empowered us to believe that even though we are few in number, we can make a huge change. This could be all the way in Africa too, it doesn’t matter what others say, you can achieve anything.
All of the speakers had unique and interesting stories, but they also all shared a deep passion for helping others. They said that your passion is what will make you happy, so follow it and put it before all other things.
I think this is a very important part of being a global citizen. If you don’t have a passion for the work you are doing then it will never be anything more than work. If you have a passion for the work you do you won’t work a day in your life.
My favorite speaker was Carla Hall. I enjoyed her lecture because she was energetic and lively throughout the talk, but most of all I could feel that she truly enjoyed helping us and being at the WLC. In her life she majored in accounting but quit that job, then became a cook, then an actress, then host of a tv show, then a speaker.
She said, “Don’t settle for mediocrity, say yes, adventure follows, then growth. Even if you fail you will learn and grow as a person. If you never take the shot, you will never have a chance at being better than you are today.” She took many risks in her life in order to follow her passions. In the end these risks made her the person she is today.
Carla Hall is a global citizen because she helps others by following her passion. Global citizenship is an important trait for an effective leader for a couple reasons. First, it allows someone to connect with other people’s struggles on a more personal level. This gains trust and will quickly turn into a loyal relationship.
Without the passion to help others a leader will be limited in the quality of relationships he or she can make with a diverse group of people. Second, global citizenship exposes you to a variety of leaders and leadership strategies. An effective leader will be able to analyze these and determine which ones will be most effective for them.
This exposure also encourages growth. No matter how strong a leader is, they can always become better. With working with a diverse group of people a global citizen will learn strategies to be effective with certain types of people.
For example, the best way for a leader to gain my respect and loyalty is through leading by example. Others may value trust more or being vocal more. A global citizen will have a bigger toolbox when it comes to gaining respect from others and leading them in an efficient way.
Taking Local Actions:
The concept of changing the world can be overwhelming, but it is done through a local platform that is manageable and efficient. One of our keynote speakers at WLC opened her doors to kids in her community twenty-four hours a day.
She was a true role model of what selflessness looks like. Her intent was to get a couple kids off the streets and out of gangs, but she had a global effect on awareness of violence and death in areas like hers. I thought it was interesting how her local project expanded to have a global impact even though that was not her intent.
In my community there are a few examples of local service that impact the global community. First, there are food drives almost every month to help support the homeless of DC. These are sometimes done through schools, but more often are organized by a student with a passion. This helps the global community by lowering world hunger.
Second, clothing donations are apparent in my community. These donation bins are run by large organizations, but students are the ones increasing awareness of this option. It has become the norm in my area to donate all old clothes instead of throwing them away. This is a result of the many kids that came before me preaching the benefits of donating. Those kids help thousands of others by simply speaking up for what they believe in.
Finally, I started the Military Ambassadors Club that helps to welcome new military kids to our school. The counselors send new military kids to us and we walk them to their classes, eat lunch with them, and introduce them to people. It is a great way to make someone feel at home in a new area. We also do service projects together. We participated in Wreaths Across America over the winter, which was a great experience. Our club joined forces with a neighboring schools’ Military Ambassadors Club.
This was fun to meet new people and share stories of how the military has shaped our values and character. Seeing hundreds of people gather for one goal despite their differences was inspiring. As a follow up we painted rocks to lay on the gravestones at the Arlington Cemetery. Although this was an emotional task, it was an influential bonding experience for our group.
This past year we gained a few new members from the Congo, Italy, and Germany. Although I am not striving for world peace or ending world hunger, I am successfully decreasing the amount of kids that are outcasted for things they can’t control, like a parent’s job.
I believe this will have a lasting impression on these kids’ lives, and if I can achieve that, then I am a global citizen. Our club is always losing kids because their parents get stationed in a new place. I see this as an amazing opportunity instead of a burden because our members can take what they have learned in Virginia and apply it wherever they live.
I had a fellow student named Heather who moved away to Hawaii this summer. Before she left, she told me that she was determined to start something similar to the military ambassadors club in her new school. Examples like this will expand our reach across the globe having a positive impact on many lives.
HOBY was an outstanding experience with many positive effects. Throughout the week I met people from around the world, I grew as a person to be more confident, and I expanded my leadership knowledge on a local and global perspective. If I could do it again I wouldn’t change a thing, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a life changing week surrounded by amazing people.
Military Children grow up around great leaders and inherit these strong skills but we at Hope want to continue to give Military Children opportunities to work on building their skills and sharing what they know with others. That is why we partner with great organizations like HOBY so that we can connect Military Children with these amazing opportunities.
You can become a leader within your community when you become a Face of HOPE to support service member, veterans and military families-www.hopeforthewarriors.org.