HOBY – Hugh O’Brian Youth is an organization that was started in 1958 by the Marine Veteran turned Celebrity Actor. O’Brian was 33 years old when he was challenged by a Noble Peace Prize winner to use his success to do something to make a difference in the world.
The Freedom to Choose - A Message from Hugh O’Brian
"Unfortunately, a very small number of our young people seem to attract most of the news. They are in the public eye because they have stolen cars, vandalized schools, created disturbances—in some way rebelled against society. These headline-makers represent only a small part of our teenage population. It is a fact that 98.7 percent of our young people are law-abiding, constructive citizens. There is too much focus on the negative. It is time we accent the positive—pat the good guys and gals on the back— let them know there are rewards for being responsible members of the community.
"I do NOT believe we are all born equal — CREATED equal in the eyes of God, YES — but physical and emotional differences, parental guidance, varying environments, being in the right place at the right time, all play a role in enhancing or limiting an individual’s development. But I DO believe every man and woman, if given the opportunity and encouragement to recognize his or her own potential, regardless of background, has the freedom to choose in our world. Will an individual be a taker or a giver in life? Will that person be satisfied merely to exist, or seek a meaningful purpose? Will he or she dare to dream the impossible dream?
"I believe every person is created as the steward of his or her own destiny with great power for a specific purpose: to share with others, through service, a reverence for life in a spirit of love."
Two weeks after being given the challenge O’Brian had designed plan for the first HOBY Leadership Seminar. He felt that youth were really beginning to make the choices that would direct their life when they were about 15 years old. He decided to seek out sophomore student leaders and give them an experience that would push them to become even more outstanding. With the help of his friends and contacts O’Brian conducted a weekend long event for about 30 young men in Los Angeles.
From 1958 to 1967, leadership seminars took place in Los Angeles for sophomores from around California. In 1968 the scope of the HOBY program grew to include national and international participants, and the seminar moved annually to different major cities across the United States. Thus, the International Leadership Seminars, now known as the World Leadership Congress (WLC), began. In an effort to include more students nationwide, three-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.
With the help of local civic organizations (Lion’s and Kiwanis Club) HOBY Georgia was founded in 1978. Under the direction of the organization the O’Brian had set up the leaders in Atlanta formed an affiliate organization. The all-volunteer organization has conducted a Leadership Seminar for the sophomores of Georgia every year since.
HOBY GA is a group of volunteers that manages all the programs of HOBY in the state. Still under the direction of HOBY International the committees plan, resource (funds, staffing, participants)and then conduct the annual 3 day Leadership Seminars, 1 day Community Leadership Workshops and Alumni Association Activities.
For over 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 and impressive history of successfully motivating youth and volunteers to outstanding leadership.