The HOBY Seminar


By Danielle Reidenbach, Director of Leadership Advancement


My group for the 2016 Central PA HOBY Seminar!

The last night as a Facilitator, at the Central Pennsylvania HOBY Seminar, I was asked to pick 6 words to describe the last 4 days. I thought to myself, how can I sum up this amazing, inspiring, life-changing experience in just six words? I did my best and came up with “Inspiring program that empowers students minds.” So true but if I had to really explain the whole experience in as many words as I wanted, I would’ve started by saying this: The HOBY Seminar was 5 life-changing days I will never forget.

First I want to explain… Who attends a HOBY Leadership Seminar?
A HOBY Leadership Seminar is for high school sophomores who were picked from their schools to attend the seminar. Some students are just chosen, some write essays to attend, but whatever they have to do, these students are the best of the best of their class. The students are referred to as Ambassadors during their time at the Seminar and at the end of the Seminar they become HOBY Alumni.

Next, What volunteer roles are there?
There are several volunteer roles for all ages:

  • Junior Staff or at CPA it’s called Team Alumni– This position is for High School Juniors & Seniors who attended the Seminar their Sophomore year. They also completed at least 100 hours of community service since their Seminar year.
  • Associate Facilitators– This position is for people in between the ages of 18-20. They assist the Facilitator with their group of Ambassadors. They help facilitate the conversations and keep the students energized throughout the program.
  • Facilitators– This position is for people who are 21+. This is the position I held at the Seminar. I was assigned to a group of 8 wonderful students. My job was to help the students think for themselves and find their voice as a leader.
  • Staff– These are the people in the background who planned and ran the whole program.

Every adult that volunteers may go through extensive background checks based on state laws.

So what exactly happens at a Seminar? A LOT! Although, every Seminar is different, I will be sharing with you the schedule from the Central PA HOBY Leadership Seminar or you can watch the highlights above!

Wednesday– Wednesday is all about training. Facilitators and Associate Facilitators go through extensive training about what to expect, how to facilitate conversations and to get to know one another.

Thursday– We met our groups, discussed the Imposter Syndrome, learned about personal and group leadership and went through Model Legislation Training to prepare for the Pennsylvania State Capitol day on Friday.

Friday– Ambassadors were broken into 9 different Committees (Agriculture, Children & Youth, Education, etc.) at the Pennsylvania State Capitol building and were handed two laws to amend and later pass into HOBY laws. After a full day at the State Capitol Building, we boarded the buses and headed back to talk about Societal Leadership & Business Ethics and Leadership in Music with Koji. A dance, games and activities finished the night.

Saturday– This day was all about Leadership through Service. Ambassadors visited businesses in the area to discuss community leadership and took part in a 3 hour service project. Next up, the Ambassadors wrote thank you notes to volunteers, donors and even Hugh O’Brian himself. The night ended talking about global issues with a speaker panel, a HOBY Alumni shared how she co-founded the non-profit The Starfish Foundation and there was a talent show.

Sunday– Before the students went home, they discussed Life with HOBY and volunteer opportunities. Then it was time for reflections, where Ambassadors shared how much they appreciated the opportunity.

Hear from some of the students about their experience on Twitter!

How can you get involved?

Take a look through the list of all volunteer descriptions and complete the volunteer application for the Seminar near you.

My Reflection….After a full day of sleep and some reflection on the entire seminar I posted this on Social Media about my experience as a Seminar Facilitator:

“Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on the past 6 days of my life… I can say that HOBY – Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership is one of the most inspirational organizations in the world.

Many high school students wake up every morning, feeling forced to go to school just to be bullied and under appreciated leading to low self confidence. They feel like their voice doesn’t matter. This past week I had the most rewarding opportunity to watch over 250 high school sophomores transform into confident, OUTSTANDING leaders!

HOBY gives these students a safe environment to learn and grow as a personal leader and in a group.I had the wonderful opportunity to lead a group of 8 wonderful leaders who will and ARE making a difference in this world! These students are the future leaders of the world and I can tell you one thing, I’m not worried one bit about our future with these students in charge.I am so proud of the organization I work for, Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, which supports such an amazing organization that really is a life changing opportunity for students across the WORLD!

If you don’t know what HOBY is, I ask you to head on over to and take a minute to read about the programs offered to all high school students (and even beyond)! I promise you it will change your child’s life… Or even yours if you decide to volunteer!

Anyone can make a difference in this world… All you have to do is start! I challenge you to start today. Individually, we are one drop, together, we are an ocean.


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