What is HOBY?
Each year, high school students are selected to participate in unique leadership training, service-learning and motivation-building experiences beginning a lifelong dedication to improving the lives of others. Due to the selfless efforts of volunteers and the contributions of generous donors, more than 10,000 students participate in HOBY programs annually. Over 450,000 proud HOBY alumni are leaders in their schools and communities, throughout the United States and the world, making a difference for others through service.
In the summer of 1958, Hugh O’Brian received the invitation that would change his life forever. At the time, O’Brian had already made a name for himself as an actor portraying the legendary lawman Wyatt Earp on television and appearing in numerous films. When he received a cable from Dr. Albert Schweitzer welcoming him to French Equatorial Africa for a visit, he did not hesitate to accept. O’Brian had long admired the German doctor-missionary-theologian-musician, and within two weeks, he arrived at Dr. Schweitzer’s remote hospital complex in Africa. During his visit, O’Brian spent his days assisting the volunteers in the hospital and his nights with Dr. Schweitzer discussing global peace and world politics. During their discussions, Dr. Schweitzer told O’Brian that he felt “The most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves,” which O’Brian would never forget.
After an inspiring nine days, O’Brian prepared to return to America. However, before saying goodbye, Dr. Schweitzer took O’Brian’s hand and asked, “Hugh, what are you going to do with this?” These words and his unforgettable visit compelled Hugh O’Brian to form Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY). Two weeks after returning from his 1958 visit to Africa, O’Brian put together a prototype seminar for young leaders.
From 1958 to 1967, leadership seminars took place in Los Angeles for sophomores from California. In 1968 the scope of the HOBY program grew to include national and international participants, which led to the annual expanded eight-day global leadership seminar called the World Leadership Congress (WLC). In an effort to include more students nationwide, three-day and four-day HOBY Leadership Seminars were instituted in 1977 in which high schools throughout the country may nominate a sophomore to attend a HOBY seminar in their state.
All of our director team are made of volunteers and past HOBY Alumni. Each director is in charge of their own area that help to make North Texas one of the most successful seminar sites.