UU Hosts 2012 Southwest Ohio HOBY Leadership Seminar

URBANA, Ohio (June 15, 2012) - Urbana University is host to the 2012 Hugh O'Brian Youth (HOBY) Leadership Seminar for Southwest Ohio from Thursday, June 14 thru Sunday, June 17. One hundred and ninety high school sophomores and sixty-five staff and facilitators will spend these four days striving to follow the HOBY motto, “how to think, not what to think.” These student ambassadors from regional counties have the opportunity to receive leadership training and mentorship through high levels of social interaction and sessions designed to build values.

This annual youth leadership seminar, held nationwide, was developed by visionary, legendary humanitarian, and actor, Hugh O’Brian, in 1958 following a visit to French Equatorial Africa on the invitation of German doctor-missionary-theologian-musician, Dr. Albert Schweitzer. His O'Brian’s goal is to encourage students to unleash their potential as achievers and, in turn, inspire them to motivate their classmates to become active participants in "America's incentive system," the theme of all HOBY seminars.

The Ohio HOBY was organized in 1978 with 150 Ohio students. In 1981, a second seminar was held in northern Ohio and a third for the western Ohio region in 1988. The Southwest Ohio Leadership Seminar was created in 1995 with 126 student ambassadors. Today, Ohio holds four regional seminars each summer. The Southwest Ohio seminar has been recognized as one of the top HOBY programs in the nation for the past 13 years.

Students are selected by their high school principals and/or teachers to represent their schools and to return in the fall with a better understand of what is a leader. Sandy Hunt, 2012 Southwest Ohio Leadership Seminar Chair states in the HOBY Program that, “You (the ambassadors) were selected because others see something wonderful in you. Starting now, you are a leader.” Locally, there are ambassadors from Bellefontaine, Kenton Ridge, Mechanicsburg, Northeastern, Northwestern, Springfield, Urbana, and West Liberty-Salem High Schools.

“This organization is all about cultivating and empowering youth of our world,” said Loren Snyder, a full-time financial advisor from Indiana who serves as a senior facilitator for the group. “We try to teach them not what to think, but how to think. We are developing future leaders of the world today.”

In a City of Urbana Proclamation, Urbana Mayor Bill Bean (UU ’71) proclaimed these four days as “Southwest Ohio Hugh O’Brian Youth Days” and welcomed the student leaders to campus. “I looked at the vision of HOBY: to motivate, empower, to make a difference within our global society through understanding and action based on effective and compassionate leadership. I cannot think of a better place to learn these skills than in Urbana, Ohio and at Urbana University,” said Bean.

“We chose Urbana University because of its friendliness, flexibility, and quaintness. It is very welcoming,” shared Courtney Decker, a nurse and 1999 HOBY alumna from Lewisburg, Ohio.

Student Services staff member John Gore (UU ’07 M.Ed.) overviews camp requests, conferences, and campus facility rentals. “We offer a very safe campus environment,” said Gore. “Our size allows us to be very accommodating with housing, dining, and we have a lot of activities available to visitors.”

“These are the future leaders we want to see at Urbana University,” said President Stephen Jones. “If I could do summersaults that you’re here, I would.”


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