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

2023 Seminar

The 2023 Maryland Leadership Seminar will take place June 8–11 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 for primary and $295 per additional student(s). 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.