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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)


Q. What is HOBY?

A. HOBY is a leadership seminar for high school sophomores to identify their own, unique leadership styles through self-knowledge and exploring personal values. 


Q. What is HOBY’s mission?

A. HOBY’s mission is to inspire youth to become better leaders by providing an opportunity to develop a life dedicated to positive leadership and community service.


Q. How did HOBY come to be?

A. HOBY was founded in 1958 by Hugh O’Brian, an actor, with the goal of inspiring high school sophomores to live a life of service and leadership. After spending time with humanitarian Albert Schweitzer in Africa, Hugh discovered it was young people who had the potential to change the world. Initially, seminars were only held in California, but its success quickly allowed it to spread to other states. 


Q. What are HOBY Illinois-Central South's long-term goals to help create change in our state?

A. HOBY Illinois Central-South (ILCS) is committed to empowering ambassadors to create effective, positive change in their communities. 


Q. What can you expect from the HOBY experience?

A. Students joining us for our seminar will be provided with the tools they need to understand what kind of leader they are, and how to take those skills home with them to accomplish their goals. 


Q. What kind of student benefits the most from HOBY?

A. Sometimes the students who will flourish at HOBY aren't the most obvious. They are the students who don't see themselves as leaders, but have the potential to be. They are open-minded and willing to put in the effort to apply the values HOBY teaches to their everyday lives and bring back a spirit of service to the community. Oftentimes, the student who needs HOBY the most isn't necessarily the valedictorian who is already excelling, but the student who typically doesn't have easy access to these types of opportunities.

Q. What happens after HOBY?

A. You will join a network of over 500,000 HOBY alumni across the globe. They will have opportunities for further leadership development--such as the World Leadership Congress (WLC), chances to volunteer for a local leadership seminar like the one they attended, and opportunities to get involved with the HOBY Illinois Alumni Board to plan events for fellow alumni in the area. There are also colleges and universities that offer special scholarships for HOBY alumni.


Q. How will a student who attended HOBY benefit their school or community?

A. Students who attend HOBY will return to school the following year with the knowledge that they can make a difference. Counselors and teachers have shared with us that HOBY alumni return to their schools empowered to create positive change, inspire their peers, and volunteer their time at the school or broader community.


Q. What is the expectation for HOBY ambassadors once they become alumni?

A. HOBY ambassadors are expected to take what they learn during seminar and find ways to incorporate their passions into broader service of others. They are leaders, and we know they will do great things. Additionally, all HOBY ambassadors are tasked with a 100 hour community service challenge to complete within a year of leaving their seminar site. Ambassadors are encouraged to find a cause they feel passionate about, or create their own, and take part in positive acts of community service within their own towns and school districts.

Q. When does the HOBY ILCS Seminar take place?

A. The 2024 HOBY ILCS Seminar will begin with registration from 9:15-11:00 AM on Thursday June 13, 2023, and will end with Closing Ceremonies at 12:50 PM on Sunday June 16, 2023. 


Q. What are the housing accommodations like at HOBY?

A. HOBY ambassadors will be staying in several of the dorm buildings on Illinois Wesleyan’s campus. Each ambassador will have a roommate of the same sex from a different school. Bathrooms are communal on each floor. If you feel you need a separate bathroom accommodation, please let us know ASAP. 


Q. What should I pack for HOBY?

A. A separate suggested packing list will be provided. But, plan to pack warm weather clothes and shoes (two t-shirts will be provided), twin sized bedding, toiletries, towels, and anything else you need to be comfortable for a weekend. 


Q. Will I be with the same group of other ambassadors during the entire seminar?

A. Yes and no. You will be assigned to a specific group with whom you will complete most of the activities and spend the most time with. Each group has 8-10 ambassadors, and one Senior and Junior Facilitator to guide you through the weekend. But, there will be some activities where you will be encouraged to break away from your group and get the chance to meet other ambassadors attending HOBY. 


Q. Will I be in a group with the other students from my school?

A. No. But don’t be nervous about that! You will be intentionally grouped with ambassadors from different schools across the state of Illinois so you get the opportunity to meet all kinds of different people. 


Q. I’m a parent/guardian. Who can I contact if I need to reach my child while they are at HOBY?

A. We encourage ambassadors to put their devices away and only check them during free times in order to stay engaged. If an emergency occurs and you need to reach your child, but they are not answering their phone, please reach out to the Director of Ambassador Relations, Kassidy Maierhofer at


Q. Is there anything I need to do before I arrive at HOBY?

A. Yes! There is a set of pre-seminar forms you will need to submit before you arrive so we have all the necessary information. Make sure a parent/guardian is present when submitting the forms, as their signature will be needed as well. A link to these forms will be sent to you via email. Closer to the seminar dates, your Senior Facilitator will reach out to you to introduce themselves and confirm you are attending HOBY. Please respond to their message/phone call when they reach out. Additional forms may also be provided via email before arriving at the seminar if necessary. 


Q. What if I need to take medication while I am at the seminar? 

A. Please provide information about your medication in the Emergency Medical Information and bring the Physician Medication Verification Form with you to the seminar (documents are included in the Emergency Medical Information, which you must complete in addition to this form set). Make sure to read and comply with the Policy for Use of Medication During a HOBY Event. Ambassadors are allowed to bring over-the-counter medications for personal use only. 


Q. What should I wear to the seminar? 

A. Dress in a way that makes you feel most comfortable! You will be provided with two HOBY t-shirts during the weekend. Sunday is a "dress-up" day, and we ask you to dress your best!  


Q. What about religious services? 

A. Each ambassador will participate in a Sunday morning option. There will be a non-denominational service, a religious discussion, and a Catholic Mass.  


Q. What transportation arrangements have been made? 

A. You are responsible for your transportation to and from the seminar. 


Q. What if I am unable to attend the seminar? 

A. If circumstances arise that prevent you from attending the entire seminar, including overnight, we would like to give another student the opportunity to attend. Please notify the HOBY contact at your school, and follow up with an email to Kassidy Maierhofer,

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