For several years, Pocahontas County High School has sent a sophomore to participate in the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership [HOBY] summer camp held at Marshall University.
This year, there are four students who want to attend, if they can find funding. In previous years, the PCHS faculty senate has funded the trip, but now that there are four students, the cost is too high for the organization to cover.
“This year, sending four, is $1,200 and so that’s a bit much to ask faculty senate for, so we are coming up with other things,” guidance counselor Linda Beverage said.
Beverage and the students attending – Brady Jones, Courtney Cohenour, Tessa Jordan and Carly Irvine – are asking civic organizations in the county to donate funds. They are also planning for the future.
“We’re looking at establishing a permanent HOBY fund, an account, so that anytime in the future, we’ll have money there and not have to go through this hurry up and get the money situation,” Beverage said. “The Durbin Lions Club has already sent their check to send one student.”
The fund will be at PCHS and individuals and groups can make donations to the school for the HOBY program.
“I want to see all four kids go, and we’ve also got a plus here because [junior] Emily Boothe is going back as an ambassador counselor,” Beverage said. “HOBY pays for all that. She’s been very instrumental in raising the interest of the students in going to the seminar.”
HOBY was organized by and named for Hugh O’Brian, best known for his turn as Wyatt Earp in the TV series “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp,” which ran from 1955-1961.
“HOBY is a leadership seminar,” Beverage said. “It’s a three-to-four day seminar and they do a lot of hands-on leadership activities. They meet leaders in the state. They explore their own personal leadership skills and learn how to lead others. They’re supposed to come back to the community and do a positive impact on the community, and hopefully, stimulate involvement and volunteerism.”
The nationwide program involves more than 9,000 high school sophomores in leadership training and programs. The West Virginia HOBY is held at Marshall University each year.
HOBY left a lasting impression on several former PCHS students who attended. Boothe’s older sister, Bridget, who is a student at West Virginia University, returns to HOBY each year as a staff member.
“They make friends for life,” Beverage said. “Bridget’s mother will tell me about how she keeps in contact with some of the kids she met at HOBY.”
To make a donation to the HOBY fund, contact Beverage at 304-799-6565.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org