Hey, Connecticut HOBY! This past July, we had the privilege to witness four Connecticut HOBY 2017 alumni take on the HOBY World Leadership Congress (#HOBYWLC2017): #theGOLDstandard, at Loyola University in the City by the Lake, Chicago, Illinois! But, instead of just recapping what happened that life-changing week, why not hear from the alumni themselves? We on the Communications team asked our four new subscribers to the “Stay Gold” ideology to reflect on their experience. Let’s begin with Libby from Enfield:
“When I first arrived at Loyola University, I instantly felt at home and any worry or fear immediately escaped me, as I was welcomed by many cheering staff members, really reminding me of Arrival Day at the University of Bridgeport, giving me a sense of comfort. This year’s theme was “The Gold Standard,” and we focused on the values of CommUNITY, Integrity, Diversity, Altruism, and Presence. Learning about these values, engaging in activities, and listening to speeches pertaining to them really helped me to learn more about the responsibilities of a global citizen, how to be the best version of myself, and how to help others to do the same, which is something I strive to do every day! Since returning home, I am hoping to make an impact in my community through service, by teaching people that volunteering should not be something you dislike, but rather something you look forward to! I promise you, attending the WLC is something you will never regret, and it will have a profound impact on your life.”
Next, we have Michaela from Killingworth, who took the values Libby talked about, and brought them all together into one intangible, yet impactful idea:
“On July 22, I flew alone for the first time to Chicago, bracing myself for the experience of a lifetime. I cannot help but wonder how to possibly make sense of the great emotions I associate with the WLC. However, I can best sum them up with a simple, yet complex word: love. “Love” is a word that is constantly thrown around at the WLC, but I don’t think that it has ever held more meaning. While in Chicago, I met some of the most incredible people of my entire life. My group, G3, shares a bond so special that nothing, not even distance, will break. At the WLC, it is normal to go up to a complete stranger, introduce yourself, and after a three minute conversation, be exchanging numbers. Everyone makes an effort to learn each other’s names, and not a single unkind word was once uttered (both ambassadors and staff included). This bubble of empathy comes from a place of love, a feeling I will carry in my heart for the rest of my life. On the first day, WLC Chair Marcus Edwards spoke to us about this theme of “The Gold Standard.” I vividly remember him saying how there was no concrete definition for The Gold Standard; this was something that differed from person to person, and that hopefully by the end of the week, each and every one of us would discover our individual definition. The immersive and enlightening program of the WLC allowed me to explore my own values, and adopt some of my peers’ as well. I am now proud to say that I now know what my Gold Standard is: living with integrity.”
It is so great to see Michaela leaving the WLC having been able to identify her core values, understanding how The Gold Standard of leadership defines her role in society, through love and integrity! Now, let’s meet Lizzie, who had this experience:
“I can immediately quantify my regional CT HOBY experience into four words: “People cheering, bonds made.” The WLC, too, falls into the same parameters. As many ambassadors and volunteers alike comment, the WLC is “HOBY on steroids”. Yes, I can indeed confirm. Over the course of the WLC, I lost my voice not once but twice. On the topic of bonds forged, I will be upfront when I admit that my parents sent me to WLC not for “leadership training” but rather cultural exposure. At the WLC, one meets peers from all over the world. As cliche as this sounds, an entire world (populated with real people) does exist beyond my small sliver of the Northeast. I met and spoke with students from across Asia, Europe, and the Americas. In my small group, three were from outside the continental U.S. and three quarters of the boys were from the American South. And yes, I did indeed find myself adopting a southern accent by the end of the week! The phrase: “All stereotypes break down in the face of individuality” rang in my head throughout the week, echoing louder and louder as the WLC went on. In my experience, the phrase holds true. Any which way we (may or may not) chose to be perceived remains but a liminal portion of our identity. Being allowed more than two days to get to know my small group members, I was able to bypass previously held preconceptions to foster meaningful relationships that I will continue to cherish. At the WLC, especially, I was given the opportunity to practice and refine what I preach. From discussing global/domestic politics or religion, I took care in how I conducted myself, how I considered my peer’s points, how I articulated my beliefs/cases, and took note of how what I said affected my peers (for better or worse).”
And now, we get to know Carter, who has a few remarks for those thinking about taking on the leadership journey that the WLC is, in the future!
“To anyone thinking about attending the WLC, I would say absolutely do it. If you enjoyed the local seminar, you will definitely enjoy the WLC even more. One of my favorite aspects of the World Leadership Congress was meeting new people and listening to their stories from around the world. Everywhere you look, there is an opportunity to meet someone new, and to make a new friend. Maybe you want to extend your experience further; the WLC is the place to do just that. In my case, I didn’t meet nearly as many people as I wanted to, and I certainly didn’t open up as much as I would’ve liked to at CT HOBY. Because of this, I took the opportunity to do these things at the WLC, and it really paid off. I have a completely different perspective of myself, and of the world in general because of the WLC.”
WOW! Each of the different alumni, while they went through the same “rendition,” per sé, of the WLC, came away with different experiences, and different definitions of how The Gold Stan
dard has impacted their life. If you’re interested in learning even more about the World Leadership Congress, visit the HOBY website! Have an OUTSTANDING rest of your summer, and remember: Stay Gold!
Article Written By: Nicholas Fech