Summer Reunion

Alumni ReunionOn Sunday, July 17th, a group of approximately 20 HOBY alumni reunited at Principle Park in Des Moines, Iowa for the annual Iowa HOBY alumni (and friends) summer reunion. This event has traditionally been held as an after seminar reunion event and has taken place at Principle Park for the past few years. This year, everyone met up at 11:30 in the morning to share some chips, subs, and soda (or water). The Iowa Cubs’ game started around 1:00, and even though the Cubs fell to Las Vegas, it wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits of all the HOBY alumni present. Needless to say, everyone had an OUTSTANDING time! Great memories were had and many of those present were able to discuss not only past HOBY stories, but all the amazing goals and accomplishments the IA HOBY alumni have been busy pursuing.

The Iowa HOBY Alumni board would like to thank the Corporate Board (and specifically our advisor Rhonda for all her help), the alumni who attended, and all of the Alumni Board members who helped make this event such a success. Be sure to keep up-to-date with the Alumni Board this Fall as we hold challenges, volunteer hour contests, and plan the winter reunion! If you have past alumni photos, Iowa HOBY stories, testimonials, or want to get involved with the Alumni Board, be sure to email me for more information at

Stay Outstanding!


Sophie Kock

2015-2016 Iowa HOBY Alumni Board President


Letter from the President – June 2016

IHorsfieldowa Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership has seen many changes since our last seminar. We have moved to a new location, formed new partnerships, and most importantly, returned to our roots. HOBY was founded by Hugh O’Brian in 1958 on the basis of three key pillars: Empower, Lead, and Excel. He wanted to encourage young individuals to achieve their highest potential and recognize that while we are not all equal, each of us can become a leader.

As a not-for-profit and leadership seminar, Iowa HOBY strives to engage future leaders in current events, stay active on social media, and promote lifelong service and education. In my five years with HOBY, I have almost always heard the ambassadors say “You have to have been there to experience HOBY. It changed my life.” While Iowa HOBY cannot replicate the entire experience with others, we can help family, friends, and community members understand the experience. Through live streaming, media coverage, and a keynote speaker specifically for our parents and guests every Iowan will have an opportunity to engage in the fun. Through a new collaboration with the World Food Prize, a service activity with Meals from the Heartland, and an opportunity for our young ambassadors to engage with community leaders, the 2016 Iowa HOBY seminar will empower each young leader to find their passion.

Iowa HOBY is governed by a volunteer Corporate Board and the seminar is organized by an additional volunteer team. While the seminar only lasts three days, Iowa HOBY is a lifelong resource. I implore you to track your service hours using our free service and set goals. It is never too late to connect the dots and find your passion. Have an outstanding seminar!

Warmest Regards,

Aaron Signature

Aaron Horsfield

2016 Iowa HOBY Corporate Board President

2016 Mentor Mingle

The Iowa Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Organization (Iowa HOBY) would like to invite you to our 2016 Mentor Mingle! 

Iowa HOBY is a leadership organization for Iowa high school students that helps provide them the skills to become leaders that have a positive impact. This year we are hosting an event for our students to connect them to the admired, respected, and innovative leaders in Iowa. The theme for our conference this year is connectedness. We are hosting this networking event to demonstrate to our ambassadors how powerful networking can be and that people are willing to help them advance their goals if only they work towards growing relationships.

The goal of this event is for mentors to listen and engage with ambassadors (rising high school juniors) regarding their ideas and goals. There is no preparation required from the mentors, you have been asked to participate because we believe the skills and qualities you possess will have a positive impact on our ambassadors!

When: Friday, June 24th 2016 | 5:45-7:45pm

  • Mentor Arrival & Social (light appetizers will be provided) 5:45 -6:45pm
  • Mentor Mingle Event with students 6:45-7:45pm

Where: Drake University in the Olmsted Student Center at 2875 University Avenue – Des Moines, IA 50311

What: Each mentor will be assigned a small group of 4-6 ambassadors at the beginning of the event, all additional instructions will be given at the event.  If you are willing to engage with ambassadors after the mentor event feel free to distribute business cards and contact information to facilitate further communication!

Perk for Mentors: This mentor event is a companion event to a keynote presented earlier in the day by Adam Carroll “How to Be a Super-Connector.” Mentors are welcome to attend Adam Carroll’s keynote, but it is not required.  Two sessions of this keynote will be given at approximately 2:30pm and 3:45pm on Friday.

RSVP: If you are able to participate please complete the short survey below to RSVP by June 10th, 2016 to let us know you are coming and if you would like to attend one of Adam Carol’s keynotes for free! We will follow up and send you more detailed information about the event after you  RSVP.

Thank you for your time and interest in mentoring the future leaders of Iowa!

HOBY and Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity Announce New Partnership


LOS ANGELES (December 7, 2015) — Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership and Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity announce an exciting new partnership to advance both organizations’ missions to help individuals affect change in their communities.

Phi Sigma Pi, a gender inclusive National Honor Fraternity, selected HOBY as its new philanthropic partner in part due to HOBY’s work in leadership, education, and serving youth.

“We are very excited to partner with an organization with a shared vision of motivating and empowering youth to make a positive difference in their communities,” said Javier LaFianza, HOBY President and CEO. “I know that our Ambassadors and volunteers will benefit greatly from this relationship for years to come.”

The partnership connects Phi Sigma Pi Chapters around the country to their local HOBY counterparts through service contributions, volunteerism, student sponsorship, conducting Community Leadership Workshops (CLeWs), in-kind donations, and more.

“Phi Sigma Pi was established on a Tripod of three ideals: Scholarship, Leadership, and Fellowship,” said Suzanne Schaffer, Phi Sigma Pi Executive Director. “In selecting HOBY as our philanthropic partner, Phi Sigma Pi Members connected immediately to HOBY’s ideals which correlate perfectly to our own. Supporting HOBY scholars to be the community leaders that they’d like to be is very exciting for us.”

The 2016 Iowa HOBY seminar will be June 24-26 at Drake University in Des Moines, IA. Three Phi Sigma Pi chapters are active in Iowa: Zeta Phi chapter at Iowa State University, Epsilon Sigma chapter at the University of Iowa and Eta Alpha chapter at the University of Northern Iowa.

For more information about HOBY, visit and for more information about Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity.



About HOBY
Hugh O’Brian Youth (HOBY) is an international leadership organization dedicated to the recognition and development of leadership potential in young people. HOBY’s mission is to inspire and develop our global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service and innovation. Iowa HOBY is the local affiliate of HOBY International.

State leadership seminar moves to Drake University


—Iowa HOBY to bring nearly 200 high school leaders to Des Moines next summer—

Iowa Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) is excited to announce that its 2016 seminar will be held at Drake University. Every year, Iowa HOBY brings together nearly 200 of the best and brightest high school sophomores from across the state. The three-day program provides opportunities for students to explore the in-depth ethical and moral questions facing today’s leaders and focuses on developing leadership skills through service and volunteerism.

Every summer since 1978, the Iowa HOBY leadership seminar has inspired high school sophomores to become effective, ethical leaders in their schools, communities and the world. From 2009 to 2015, the annual Iowa HOBY leadership seminar was held at Central College in Pella. Before that, it was at Graceland University in Lamoni. In 2016, Iowa HOBY is continuing its tradition of partnering with an Iowa college; the seminar will be held at Drake University June 24-26.

An Iowa HOBY seminar features more than 20 keynote speakers and panelists, along with leadership programming and service opportunities for sophomore ambassadors in attendance. HOBY ambassadors are selected from each of Iowa’s public and private high schools. The seminar is run entirely by volunteers: there are no paid positions with Iowa HOBY.

For information about recommending a sophomore student to Iowa HOBY, or to learn how you could get involved with the program, please contact Allison Poss, leadership seminar chair, at


About HOBY
Hugh O’Brian Youth (HOBY) is an international leadership organization dedicated to the recognition and development of leadership potential in young people. HOBY’s mission is to inspire and develop our global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service and innovation. Iowa HOBY is the local affiliate of HOBY International.

The Volunteer with the Flower Crown

by: Katherine Jamtgaard

I went to Iowa HOBY in 2011, not sure what was going on or what HOBY was. I had not received much information prior to seminar regarding what the leadership seminar truly entailed. I ended up going with my cousin and another student from my high school.  It made an outstanding impact. Since that life-changing ambassador year, I felt the need to come back and pass on the experience to others. I wanted other ambassadors to feel the joy and camaraderie that I felt when I went; I wanted to help others feel like they could be comfortable in their own skin – comfortable being themselves.

HOBY has taught me how I am unique and have my own signature style of leadership that is always changing and evolving. Since my ambassador year, I’ve returned as a JUFA for the 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 seminars. Obviously HOBY has become a big part of my life, especially since- to be on junior staff- one has to commit to 100 hours of service each year. In achieving those 100 hours of service, I have come to understand how I prefer to serve and what my personal leadership style encompasses. I’ve helped with my home church’s vacation bible school program, volunteered through my high school’s chapter of the National Honor Society, as well as served as a team member for numerous retreats through the catholic student center on my college campus.

Being a JUFA has given me a different perspective of the seminar; showing me how vital everyone is to the program. As a staff member, I’ve had the opportunity to be that super-outgoing person that approaches an ambassador and challenges them to stretch their comfort zone and be kooky, from the moment they step out of their car. Actually, it’s my favorite part of seminar. I’m naturally an upbeat person, but I didn’t really show it until I went to HOBY.

Every year since, I have had the opportunity to be a super zany JUFA that wore a flower crown or graduation cap with a lei in it. But the really special thing, that I love to witness as a staff member, is the change that ambassadors go though. It may not seem like it, but the ambassadors go through a journey in those three days. Friday morning everyone is just like:

“Why are the crazy people in polo’s so loud?”

“Not going do that -that’s embarrassing.”

“Nope. Nope. Nope.”

But by Sunday afternoon, they don’t want to leave. They’ve established a family within that short time.

It is so cool to see that change. In a way, that’s why I keep coming back- because I know that I myself went through that change during my ambassador year. (#GroupSandbox)

My service with Iowa HOBY has not only been limited to volunteering as staff for the annual seminar. Once you’re in the Iowa HOBY family, they help you tap into your talents and utilize them. For the past few years I’ve been lending a hand with some graphic design work. I have helped with the Light Up the World design that was used for the 2013 seminar for t-shirts, programs, nametags, and door nametags as well as the Leader of the Pack design that was used for the 2015 seminar. Besides that, I have created button designs for my groups for the 2013 and 2014 seminars as well as for two WLC groups that my friend facilitated. Instead of giving me the tools and suggestions on how to change the world and leaving me on my own, Iowa HOBY has given me those things and has given me opportunities to actually do them.

Since I have completed my final JUFA year, and will (if they’ll have me) join the “blue polo club” AKA the SEFA staff, I hope to continue to return to Iowa HOBY, maybe go to other HOBY seminars, and even WLC to spread that HOBY cheer.

HOBY gives a person the tools, support, and connections to start their own movement to make a difference in the world. It arms its ambassadors, as well as staff, with the inspiration and willpower to achieve their dreams and aspirations. HOBY has given me so much. I hope to empower, lead, and excel and help others experience their own HOBY story.

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Filmmaking at Iowa HOBY


After a life-changing ambassador year in 2011, and four subsequent transformative years on staff as a JuFa, I was incredibly eager to mix my love for HOBY with my life’s passion: filmmaking. This year I filmed the Iowa HOBY seminar and will be working hard allsummer editing and working on promotional videos for Iowa HOBY’s marketing endeavors! This experience has been so important to my growth as an artist and as a person. Filming and editing with the fast paced nature of HOBY was very trying, but so rewarding. After putting in roughly 60 hours over three days between my partner, Thomas, and I we were so thankful for the opportunity. Next summer we will be headed to India to finish shooting a documentary I started in 2014. Not only did HOBY give us the practice of working together in high intensity conditions and under the documentary mode, but more importantly, the experience at HOBY inspired us to work harder; we are more passionate about our future projects than ever before.

-Taylor Edelle Stuart


To view the amazing video created by Taylor Stuart (IA HOBY 2011) and Thomas Eslinger (HOBY volunteer since 2015) visit:

(To see more work by the videographers, check out their websites: and

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2015 Seminar Video

Thank you to all our volunteers, sponsors, and ambassadors for making the 2015 seminar a “Leader of the Pack!”

Be sure to watch a recap of the 2015 IA HOBY Seminar filmed by HOBY Alumni Taylor Edelle Stuart and HOBY Volunteer Thomas Eslinger.