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Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar

Homeschooling sophomores – now is your chance to be included in the list of over 14,000 tenth graders from across the nation who will graduate from a Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar (HOBY).

HOBY was founded by television actor Hugh O’Brian, who played Wyatt Earp in the 50’s. (Ask your parents who he is.) Mr. O’Brian greatly admired Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Albert Schweitzer and had a unique opportunity to visit him at his medical clinic in an African jungle. After nine unforgettable days, Dr. Schweitzer asked, “Hugh, what are you going to do with this?” Mr. O’Brian answered that question by developing a leadership seminar for young people.

If you check out HOBY’s website (, you will find out its mission is to “seek out, recognize and develop leadership potential commencing with high school sophomores, and to encourage and prepare the next generation of civic and corporate leadership for America’s future.” This mission is accomplished by providing activities that encourage critical thinking, by promoting democracy and America’s incentive system, and by encouraging social responsibility through volunteerism.

The West Virginia Seminar consists of a series of intense but informal discussions featuring panelists chosen from all over the state to represent business, industry, government, education and the service sector. The panel members give a brief overview of their particular area of expertise then field questions posed by the HOBY “ambassadors.” In the past, ambassadors have been treated to an entertaining cryogenics demonstration by James Files at Dow Chemical and have had the opportunity to do a group community service project. There are usually around 130 ambassadors at a seminar who are divided into groups of 10.

It may sound very stuffy, but it isn’t all work and no play. There are dances, a talent show in which all ambassadors are encouraged (but not required) to participate, a game room with pool tables and video games, and lots of good food.

According to Adam Heflin, WVHEA’s 2001 ambassador, the best thing about the whole experience was getting to see Hugh O’Brian in person. Mr. O’Brian is unable to attend every seminar nationwide, so it was quite an honor having him come to WV. He gave a very heartfelt talk about the time he spent with Dr. Schweitzer and shared how it gave him the inspiration to start a youth program. Another highlight for Adam was making new friends.

The four-day seminar usually takes place at the University of Charleston, in May or early June. There is no cost to you, thanks to generous donations from sponsors and the dedication of volunteers who work tirelessly to make this a wonderful experience.

Don’t miss out on your chance to participate in this “one-time-only” opportunity. HOBY participation opens other doors of opportunity and certainly won’t hurt your college admissions portfolio. One teen is selected from each high school so don’t worry about not knowing anyone. Nobody knows anybody at the start! Previous ambassadors who were “strongly encouraged” by their parents to attend hated to leave when Sunday rolled around.

Contact us for more information and how to participate!

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