Empowering tomorrow’s leaders: CHS students to attend HOBY leadership conference


Courtesy of Becca Winton

Becca Winton, who is currently a junior at CHS, participates in an activity at the 2017 HOBY conference. Applications are now being accepted from sophomores for the 2018 conference.

“Go make a difference!”

In an effort to encourage students to become strong leaders and empower others to improve society,  Carlisle High School has nominated two sophomore CHS students each year for the past 20 years to attend the Central Pennsylvania Leadership Seminar, hosted by the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program, or HOBY.

HOBY’s mission is to inspire youth leaders to make a difference and create positive changes in their community, and it fulfils this mission by providing a variety programs that teach leadership skills and increase motivation levels.

“It’s an opportunity for high school sophomores that are aspiring leaders or have some potential leadership qualities to really honed in those organizational and leadership skills so they can kind of further develop their abilities into the working world,” said Andrew Rice, overseer of HOBY and CHS Swartz counselor.

Every year, the two sophomores that are chosen from CHS participate in a four-day leadership seminar that helps develop leadership skills from three perspectives; personal leadership, group leadership, and societal leadership. The seminar takes place at Shippensburg University in the spring.

“HOBY is important because it unlocks so many opportunities and ideas from young people to make a difference in the world,” said Kevin Grace, Director of National Programs of Region B. “Students should participate so they can be around peers who want to make a difference in their communities.” 

HOBY was created by actor Hugh O’Brian in 1958 after he spent nine days with Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Albert Schweitzer discussing life lessons, during which Schweitzer expressed the urgency for a change in how the United States should take a leadership role in achieving peace. They also discussed how education should teach leadership skills. Two week after this meeting, O’Brian put together a prototype seminar for young leaders and HOBY began afterwards.

“The program reaches over 10,000 students every year and since 1957 (60 years ago) we have reached over 500,000 students,” Grace said.

Caleigh Michnowicz, a senior at CHS, was chosen in her sophomore year to attend that
year’s seminar.

“I absolutely loved my experience at HOBY. Although everyone was lacking in sleep, the energy of the event was incredibly high,” Michnowicz said.

Michnowicz said that when she went, the first day she experienced leadership tests and was given the opportunity to meet the other students that are also attending the seminar. On the second day of the trip, she and the other students travelled to the State Capitol and took part in activities there.The next day a societal leadership activity is chosen and time is spent volunteering. The final day all the students come together and spend time reviewing what was learned and what to bring back to their own community.

“What I took away from HOBY was that to be a leader you don’t need to always be the one with the best ideas or loudest voice, but you need to be the one who understands, considers, and respects the opinions of others in order to solve a situation or problem,” Michnowicz said.

This 2018 HOBY Leadership Seminar is taken place once again at Shippensburg University and runs from May 17 to 20. Applications for sophomores who want to participate in the seminar will be available within the next couple weeks. The application process require a brief essay, which can be no longer than 300 words.

From there, CHS will select its two candidates to participate in the HOBY seminar instead of just one student like most other schools. After attending HOBY, students become HOBY Alumni, who have the opportunity to numerous things like leadership and educational programs, scholarships and grants. All fees are paid by the high school.

“I believe that our students are incredibly important as the future leaders of our country and being able to start to hone in on that potential, that leadership potential, and develop those skills in high school, that can be carried out in not only in an academic setting but also in a professional setting,” Rice said, “As the future leaders of country, it’s critically important for our nation’s and society’s success.”