Documenting the Days - IOWA HOBY

I attended Iowa HOBY in 2002 when I was a sophomore in high school and have been volunteering for the organization in various capacities since. This past weekend was the Iowa HOBY seminar held in Pella, IA at Central College. HOBY is an international youth leadership organization that inspires high school students to develop into passionate leaders and create change in their communities. Each student commits to completing 100 service hours in the year after HOBY! I also volunteer for the World Leadership Congress with brings together students from around the world who have attended HOBY for a large conference in July (I can't wait) Watch this video to see what HOBY is all about.

This year I served on the Corporate Board for Iowa HOBY as the Director of Fundraising for Iowa HOBY. That means I was in charge of the HOBY store - I designed shirts and various products to sell. I was pretty proud that my bro tanks sold immediately. I know what the people want. 


This year I also volunteered at the seminar to be a facilitator for a group of students from around Iowa - we call it a SEFA (Senior Facilitator). In each group there was also two JUFAS (Junior Facilitators) that are volunteers under the age of 21 who have attended HOBY and come back to help. Here are my two JUFAS, Hayley and Austin who rocked this weekend. Austin actually went to the school I used to work at and I talked to him about coming to HOBY  so that was extra special. 

Group Gold!

The HOBY program is based on the social change model of leadership and encourages leadership development with an emphasis in service learning.  There are a variety of keynote speakers, panel discussions, and engaging activities.

We completed two service projects while we were there. We made baby blankets for the organization Project Linus and made cards to comfort those in Iowa Hospice

I saw a TedTalk called the Marshmallow Challenge and decided to try it at Iowa HOBY four years ago and we have been doing since because it is so fun!. You start with 20 spagetti sticks, one yard of tape, and one yard of string. You have 18 minutes to build the tallest structure as possible using just those supplies and balance a marshmallow on the top of the structure. Watch the video and check out the challenge here. (There is a lesson to be learned) I highly recommend this team building activity for any group of people. 

One of my favorite activities at Iowa HOBY is the Newspaper Fashion Show. I brought this idea to Iowa HOBY from another HOBY a few years ago when I was really feeling Project Runway and we have continued it since. Each group is given a roll of tinfoil, plastic wrap, newspaper, and some pipe cleaners. Without the use of tape, each groups creates a few red carpet looks to present in a HOBY fashion show. Here are the looks that our group came up with. I always think this would be fun to do with friends at a dinner party - any takers?

I love attending these conferences because I always learn so much. Here are a few of my favorite quotes that stuck with me this year - 

  • "Pay attention to what you do when you are procrastinating - that is your passion" -  Erin Larsen
  • "If you find your passion it is your responsibility to make a job out of it" - Mickey Davis (former ambassador in my group - now panelist)
  • "When you hear criticism it is likely because that person feels like their voice is not heard" - Mickey Davis 
  • "Listen to understand, not to defend" - Joel Bennett 
  • "Get over your fear of change and take a risk" - Joel Bennett 
  • "Please - invest in your own development" - Col. Todd Jacobus 
  • "I missed a lot of opportunities because I would pass them up to do what I thought I was supposed to do" -Geoff Wood 
  • "When you find a Holy Discontent, that is your passion" - Tim Brand 

One of my favorite games to play at leadership conferences, is Photo Shoot. I basically shout out themes like Cheerleader, Cowboy, Ninja, etc. and the people in the photo make a position as fast as they can to represent that theme. Here is a slideshow of one of the photo shoots from my group this year. 

I come back every year not only for the students but for the amazing volunteers that have become my HOBY family. We always have fun!