Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership ambassadors share experiences

Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership ambassadors, including Aidan Maronde of Murrieta Valley High School, Bryce Mey of Chaparral High School, Michelle Griffith of Great Oak High School, Leilani Jurena ofTemecula Valley High School, Kalyn Hill of Murrieta Mesa High School and Cameron Finch of Vista Murrieta High School take a photo with Anne Kooiker, Temecula Valley Woman’s Club HOBY chair, after sharing their experience with club members. Valley News/Courtesy photo

TEMECULA – Six students from six local high schools shared their experiences with the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program and what it meant to them with the Temecula Valley Woman’s Club recently. The Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership is a nonprofit youth leadership development program for high school sophomores.

The concept for Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership was inspired in 1958 by a nine-day visit O’Brian had with famed humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Africa. Schweitzer believed “the most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves.”

Two weeks after returning to Los Angeles, deeply inspired, O’Brian put together a prototype seminar for young leaders.

O’Brian’s message was explained in an essay on the topic, entitled “The Freedom To Choose.”

“I do believe every man and woman, if given the opportunity and encouragement to recognize their potential, regardless of background, has the freedom to choose in our world. Will an individual be a taker or a giver in life? Will that person be satisfied merely to exist, or seek a meaningful purpose? Will he or she dare to dream the impossible dream? I believe every person is created as the steward of his or her own destiny with great power for a specific purpose, to share with others, through service, a reverence for life in a spirit of love,” he said in his essay.

Every year, one high school sophomore “ambassador” from every high school in the United States is welcomed to attend a seminar. From each of those seminars, students are offered the opportunity to attend the World Leadership Congress. In 2008, over 500 ambassadors attended the World Leadership Congress from all 50 states and 20 countries, where Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership programs are sponsored.

Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership seminars are led by an all-volunteer staff. Ambassadors are asked to always keep an open mind, to learn how to tackle controversy with civility and to perform 100 hours of community service within the 12 months following their seminar, putting “leadership into action and implementing social change.” For more information, visit

“Temecula Valley Woman’s Club is proud to have sponsored these worthy enthusiastic students in the HOBY adventure,” Wendy Bolduc, president of Temecula Valley Woman’s Club, said.

Submitted by Temecula Valley Woman’s Club.