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HOBY was founded by Hugh O’Brian in 1958 as a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire a global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service, and innovation. From 1958 to 1967, leadership seminars only took place in Los Angeles for High School sophomores from California. The success of the program over the first 10 years resulted in the expansion of the scope of the HOBY program. In 1968, seminars included international as well as national participants, and the leadership seminars moved to major cities across the United States on an annual basis. 


Hugh’s belief in the potential of every human being and his commitment to helping the youth of the world become major contributors to society is his legacy. Today more than 500,000 HOBY alumni around the world are making a difference in the lives of others, thanks to the vision and passion of Hugh O’Brian.



To inspire and develop our global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service, and innovation.

For more than 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 history of successfully motivating young people to develop into outstanding leaders.

Much of the work at HOBY involves young people exploring and identifying their unique leadership skills. Every student is different, and there is no attempt to impart a predefined set of attributes onto HOBY participants. We stress self-knowledge, uniqueness, and authenticity, not conformity. Students learn to mobilize their own unique traits and are exposed to particular leadership principles that they can explore and incorporate in a fashion that is true to their own personality.


Some of these include:

  • Consciousness of self: values, emotions, and beliefs that motivate you to take action

  • Behaving with consistency, genuineness, and honesty toward others

  • Personal commitment as energy that drives the collective effort

  • Collaboration: empowering others and self through trust

  • Common purpose—working with shared aims and values

  • Collective analysis of issues at hand and tasks to be undertaken

  • Maintaining civility in light of differences in viewpoint

  • Conflict resolution: creating group consensus

  • Conscientious citizenship: thinking critically about societal issues

  • Service as a way to become an effective, active citizen in the community


HOBY stresses volunteerism, integrity, excellence, diversity, and community partnership. Emphasizing these key organizational values, we execute our vision to motivate and empower young adults. Through understanding and action, based on effective, compassionate, and service-driven leadership, students learn to make a positive difference within our global society.






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