An Open Thank You Letter To Hugh O'Brian

An Open Thank You Letter To Hugh O'Brian

Thank you, Hugh.

Dear Hugh O’Brian;

You changed my life, just like you changed the lives of thousands of individuals across the world; and thousands of hearts are heavy after receiving the news of your passing. Dr. Schweitzer told you, “The most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves.” You took those fifteen words and created the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Organization: an organization that has changed the world through enthusiasm, love and service.

I think I speak on behalf of thousands of people when I say we will make it our mission to continue carrying out your vision for the world, because we have adapted the same vision. You did not teach us what to think, but you taught us how to think, and because of that the chain reaction you started will never end. A passion like yours does not wither away, but is instead an eternal flame which will live in every heart you touched. You cultivated leaders like no other, and your organization will continue to mold and empower these young people, because your legacy will live on.

The organization you created is anything but an ordinary leadership organization. HOBY has become a safe place for thousands of people, and that alone is an irreplaceable privilege. The environment one is immersed in at a HOBY seminar cannot be found anywhere else on Earth – it is a place full of enthusiasm and passion, hate does not exist, love is given freely and service is valued above all else. This is the environment you created, and this is what we will share with the rest of the world.

You believed in the most “controversial” group of people in the world: young people. You believed in us so much, you dedicated 58 years of your life to cultivating us into the leaders you knew we could be. Thank you for believing in us, investing in us and giving us wings to fly.

The amount of thanks you deserve is an incomprehensible number which I will never do justice, but I, like many others, owe so much of the life I live to you. Without you, so many of the people in my life whom I love unconditionally would be strangers, I would not have found the place I belong, I would not see the world through the beautiful lens of which I now experience life – I simply would not be anything like the person I am today without you, Hugh. I thank you with all my heart for changing my life in the best ways possible. I hope to make you proud by changing the lives of others in the ways you changed mine.

“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,”-Hugh O’Brian. This is the legacy we will continue, these are the words we will live by and you will always be our hero. God bless you, and may you rest in peace.

All my love and HOBY Hugs,

A passionate HOBY volunteer

Cover Image Credit: Emalie Shaffer

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A Letter To My Sister For Her First Semester In College

Some Advice to My Sister For Her First Semester

To My Sister,

I'm going to start by saying how proud I am of you and your accomplishments thus far and making it to the first step of a long but important journey of your life, college.

It seems like only yesterday we were just two kids who wanted to both be pop stars when we grew up so we prepared by performing at places like nursing homes and festivals to prepare (even though we got over that phase by the time we hit 5th grade). I'm writing this letter to you in hopes of giving good advice and wisdom from my 5 years of struggling as a college student.

Never Give Up On ANYTHING

You need to believe that you can do anything that you set your mind to because YOU CAN. I know it seems like the impossible when you're trying to pull that first all-nighter to finish a paper that is due in the morning but you got this! Even if you don't believe in yourself just remember that I do.

Stay Focused On What You Want To Accomplish

College is an awesome, fun experience in your life and I know how distracting everything else can be but make sure to focus on your projects and assignments. I know I sound like our mom but trust me when I say do your assignments for your classes because good grades lead to the things that you want most to accomplish in the future. Stay focused on what you want to accomplish and the rest will follow suit.

Always Know I'm Here For You

I promise that I will always be a text or call away if you need any help with anything. Even if you are having a tough time with deciding what you want from Taco Bell, just give me a call. You also have a wonderful family that will make a great support system (You know because I'm part of that family). I will always be by your side no matter what happens; it is kind of my job as your big sister after all.

Go Out And Explore

Explore on your own and figure out what you are most passionate about. Go join some clubs or participate in an intramural sports team. Find your passion; who knows it might just lead to what you want to do for the rest of your life.

Have Fun

Go make some friends, go to social events organized by the campus, go party (just not too hard). Remember that there is always time to take a break from the work of college and have a little fun. You can't just sit in your room all day and study till your brain is fried. Working hard comes with the relief of having a break every once in a while as well. College is a once in a lifetime experience so don't miss out on it.

I love you with all of my heart. We have been through thick and thin together and can't wait to see what the future has for the two of us. I'm ready to see what you can accomplish and know that YOU CAN DO IT!

With Love,

Your Big Sis

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The Most Thoughtful Gifts I've Ever Received

Personal and Significant

During Winter Break, my family and I spend ten days in Scandinavia doing touristy activities like dogsledding and ice fishing. At the end of the day, as I was gazing up at the star-studded night sky, I felt extremely grateful for the gifts I have received throughout my life, including this trip.

Although gifts come in all shapes and sizes –– jewelry, books, trips, technology –– I truly treasure the ones that are personal and that hold a special meaning. Here are a just a few of the most thoughtful gifts I've received.

Gift: Placemat

From: Roommate

Significance: I've grown up with pretty much the same group of people, so it was hard making completely new connections when I moved to college. My roommate now was my suitemate last year, and our relationship has come a long way. The placemat composed of photos of our fondest memories together shows that she also appreciates our friendship and values all that we have been through.

Gift: Riding boots

From: Parents

Significance: This pair of boots is important to me because it represents the support that I have always wanted from my parents. Attending university has been a stressful transition for me, but even more so for my parents. That's why they initially didn't support my decision of joining the Equestrian Team on campus. Once I proved to them that I'm passionate about riding and I can handle academics, they began to loosen up the reins. But it was when they bought me this pair of riding boots that I really knew they wanted me to be a part of the team and that they supported me.

Gift: Decorative cards

From: Sister

Significance: This simple present made up of six pieces of paper is easily my favorite. Printed on the front of each card is a collage of art from a Studio Ghibli film, and on the back is written virtues of the main character that relates to my personality. Not only did she pick six of my favorite Ghibli films, she also wrote descriptions of me that encourages me to this day. Example: (for the film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind) "Like Nausicaa, You have a irrefutable love for life and an insatiable curiosity that will take you into places unknown..."

This list does not indicate that I don't appreciate other gifts that I've received. These are just the gifts that I think are unique to me and testifies to the relationship I have with the giver. Maybe these can help you think of creative presents to give to special people in your life.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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