HOBY MD Annual Seminar


“Because of HOBY, I learned that I am not defined by my weaknesses, instead I thrive on them.”

Ivan2020 Alumn

“Because of HOBY, I will leave places better than when I found them!”

Ryan2020 Alumn

“When they said this program was going to change my life I didn’t really believe it until now. ”

Maya2020 Alumn

“I can’t get over how fun this experience is. I’m so happy to be here.”

Morgan2020 Alumn

“Wow. Mind blown. HOBY really is a life changer.”

Fiza2020 Alumn

“Wow, this is going to change me. Thank you.”

Mauricio2020 Alumn

2024 Seminar

The 2024 Maryland Leadership Seminar will take place June 6–9 at Towson University in Towson, Maryland.

During the seminar there will be panels and keynote speakers on topics including entrepreneurship, diversity, education, and volunteerism. After each session, ambassadors will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the subjects with their peers.

Ambassadors will practice leadership skills through Leadership Labs; a variety of hands-on and fun activities.

Each year we complete a service project to benefit the local community.

All of the hard work and learning is balanced with activities dedicated solely to fun, including an Ambassador Talent Showcase and a dance with a game room.

Watch a highlights slideshow from a past seminar.

View photos from past seminars on our SmugMug page.

A typical seminar weekend includes:

Welcome to HOBY

Multiple group times throughout seminar

Personal Leadership Introduction, Keynote, Activity and Reflection

Group Leadership Introduction, Keynote, Activity and Reflection

Social Responsibility Introduction, Keynote, Service Activity and Reflection

Gratitude Activity, such as thank you notes

Social Activities, including our Talent Show and Dance

Closing Ceremony

The Social Change Model of Leadership

HOBY teaches the social change model of leadership to its participants and volunteers.

Primary goals

1. To enhance student learning and development.

  • Self-knowledge: understanding of one’s talents, values, interests, especially as these relate to the student’s capacity to provide effective leadership; and
  • Leadership Competence: the capacity to mobilize oneself and others to serve and work collaboratively.

2. To facilitate positive social change.

High school sophomores are chosen because their age is critical in focusing on future goals and forming opinions for adulthood. They have the opportunity to create a “ripple effect” from their HOBY experience in their remaining high school years and beyond.

This model of leadership enhances the development of leadership qualities in all participants — those who hold formal leadership positions as well as those who do not — and promotes a process that actively engages all who wish to contribute.

Key Lessons

The social change model allows students to describe HOBY and what they learn in a tangible way, and provide tools they can use in future leadership situations. The basic premises of this model are:

  • Leadership is a process rather than a position.
  • To promote the values of equity, social justice, self-knowledge, personal empowerment, collaboration, citizenship, and service
  • That service provides a powerful vehicle for developing student leadership capabilities in a collaborative environment; learning happens by “making meaning” of life experiences

Three Perspectives

Since this approach is embedded in collaboration and concerned with fostering social change, the model examines leadership development from three different perspectives:

1) The Individual: To foster and develop personal leadership qualities in those who participate; consider the personal qualities that are most supportive of group functioning and positive social change.

2) The Group: To design a collaborative leadership development process not only to facilitate the development of the desired, individual qualities (above), but also to affect positive social change.

3) The Community/Society: To direct the leadership development activity towards a social end; to consider kinds of service activities that are the most effective in energizing the group and in developing desired personal qualities in the individual; to emphasize the responsibility of leaders to contribute to positive change.

UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs)

The United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (also known as the SDGs or Global Goals) is a set of independent, yet interconnected goals. They were developed and adopted by 195 Countries, including the United States of America, to set a vision for a world free of poverty, hunger, disease, and want. The SDG’s represent a universal agreement to raise the conditions of the world for everyone.

In 2019, the HOBY Board of Trustees made an organizational commitment to supporting the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs have been integrated into our leadership seminar curriculum in alignment with the Social Change Model of Leadership. HOBY Leadership Seminars will introduce and take action on the Sustainable Development Goals component of social responsibility and citizenship.

When student begin their experience with HOBY, most identify themselves as members of a community. Many have even been involved in volunteer service. Our goal is to push them into becoming conscientious world citizens, by thinking critically about society’s issues. One way we do that is by educating students about the SDGs, including how they can contribute to advancing these goals and live sustainably.

The skills they learn at the seminar will further push them beyond simply thinking about these goals and social issues, and into the status of an active citizen where they are continuing to be involved in the education and action process.


Each September, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership sends nomination materials to all public and private high schools in the United States. Each school selects an outstanding sophomore, based on their leadership potential, and nominates that student to represent their school at their state seminar.

It costs $450 per sophomore for the four days of activities at the state seminar. The school is asked to pay a registration fee of $250 by December 8th, 2023, or $300 if registered thereafter. Sometimes this fee is paid by the parent. The all-volunteer Maryland committee raises the state seminar expenses for room and board, copies and postage, and program supplies from generous sponsorships from the private sector, service organizations, and individuals. Women’s Clubs, Jaycees, Kiwanis, and Optimists financially sponsor individual schools to the seminar.

For more information on participating in HOBY programs, contact our recruitment team.

Our 2024 Donors

HOBY Maryland has been developing youth leaders since 1979, and we can’t do it without our dedicated and generous sponsors:

Silver Level Sponsors


Bronze Level Sponsors

Dundalk Optimist Foundation Inc.

Naval Systems Inc

The Belt Group


Ambassador Sponsors

Aging Well Eldercare

Archway Station Inc

Bayview Management

BCV Commercial Realty LLC

Bmore Attorney

BTS Software Solutions LLC

Canam Steel Corporation

Carol Applegate of the Greater Jacksonville Optimists

Charles County Fair Inc

Charles Martin of the Dundalk Optimists

City of Hagerstown

Delaney & Keffler LLC

Devlin Architecture

Dickinson Law

Disability Associates LLC

Downtown Sykesville Connection

Ernie Rafailides

Farm to School Frederick

Fort Smallwood Optimist Club

Frederick Women’s Civic Club

GFWC Joppatowne Woman’s Club

Halle Family Foundation Inc.

Harry H. Witzke’s Family Funeral Home

Inhouse Patent Counsel LLC

Insuraty Inc

Jezic & Moyse LLC

Joseph Wyrwas

Kilby’s Inc.

Kollman & Saucier PA

Kowitz Law Group

KSQUARED Technology Consulting

Law Office of Lilian Rodriguez LLC

Law Offices of Sally B Gold LLC

LCJ Styles

Local Management Board of Allegany County, Inc.

Lombardo Ayers & Company LLC

M Lynn Williams LLC

Marathon Santa

Maryland Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association

Ocean City / Berlin Optimist Club

Old Dominion Electric Cooperative

Optimist Club of Mechanicsville

Optimist Club of Solomons

Optimist Club of the 7th District

Preston Automotive Group

Quincy CFO LLC

Randy’s Crew

Reid & Reid Inc

Seaside Plumbing

Shawe Rosenthal LLP

Somerset Trust Company

Stanley Bus Co., INC

Tailored Access

The Davenport Law Firm LLC

The Law Office of Stephanie Darling

The Optimist Club of Salisbury MD Inc

The Optimist Club of St. Maries

Trails End Pet Sitting

TransTechSol LLC

Wepco Federal Credit Union

Winbak Farm

Women’s Club of Laurel

Additional Donors

Anne & William Yakaitis

Cecil County Board of Realtors

Clark Construction Group LLC

Colbert Law Firm LLC


GFWC Women’s Club of Westminster Inc

Herr’s Chips

Hollywood-Leonardtown Optimist Club

Jo Benson Fogel PA

Junior Women’s Civic Club of Cumberland

Laytonsville Women’s Club

Linthicum Women’s Club

Maryland Stone Masonry & Repair

Optimist Club of Calvert

Phi Sigma Pi, Gamma Pi (Towson University)

Pocomoke Junior Women’s Club

SkipJack Crossfit

Titan Hospitality Group

Towson American Legion Auxiliary

Western District Juniors

Wicomico Women’s Club Inc

Woman’s Club of Dundalk

WOW – Women Optimizing Women, LLC

Additional Donors – Individuals

Kalynn Stoner

Emily Prechtl

Elaina Elrick

Jayla Bryant

David Derochers

Kelly Kaczka Brantner

Aaron Bernstein

Chris Frye

Jamie Alvarado-Taylor

Benjamin Niu Estes

Nia Ragin

Christopher Mathews

Rebecca Riddervold

Morgan Pringle

Robby May

Luke Dragonette

Shawn Kelly

Beth Lucas

Olaoluwadeji Jones

Andrew Desrochers

Maddie Tulkop

Elva Joya

Kitty Moon Dorsey

Bentley Corbett-Wilson

Caitlyn Rund

Jim Wass