Frequently Asked Questions

When and where will the programs be held?

The 2019 Central Pennsylvania HOBY Leadership Seminar will take place at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania from May 16 – 19, 2019. The seminar begins on Thursday morning and concludes on Sunday afternoon. Participants must be present for the entire event, including overnight.

Directions, a parking map, and information on check in procedures will be provided when you register for the seminar.

What is the cost to attend?

The seminar registration fee is paid prior to the seminar by the school, by a community organization or other sponsor, or by the student’s parents. Each high school handles this a little differently, so check with your guidance counselor to determine how your school manages registration.

The registration fee is paid to HOBY International; a percentage of this payment is then forwarded to the local seminar site to help pay for lodging, meals, transportation, and other seminar expenses. A large part of the costs for the Central Pennsylvania Leadership Seminar are subsidized by the generous donations and in-kind support that we receive from area civic clubs, community foundations, businesses and individuals.

The first student registered from each high school pays a $225 registration fee. The fee for additional students from that high school, or for students who register directly, is $395.

Your out-of-pocket costs may include travel expenses to and from the seminar, and purchases that you may choose to make at the HOBY Store. There is also a small cost for family members who register for the Family Brunch on Sunday morning.

How do I register?

High school guidance counselors may register students online, or may contact our Recruitment Team at ambassadors@centralpahoby.org with any questions or requests for assistance.

What happens after I am registered?

Once you have been registered for the Leadership Seminar, you will receive the Ambassador Pre-Seminar Materials containing everything you need to know. The planning committee will send this information to you approximately 6 weeks before the event.

Make sure to mark the program dates on your calendar now, and get ready for a memorable experience!

Is transportation provided?

Participants must arrange their own transportation to and from Shippensburg University.

We strongly discourage students from driving themselves to and from the seminar. If it is necessary for a student to drive, our staff will collect and secure their car keys until the program ends on Sunday.

During the seminar, students will be transported on chartered school buses to the State Capitol in Harrisburg on Friday, and to an offsite volunteer opportunity on Saturday. Ambassadors will not be transported in private vehicles.

Who are the chaperones?

Facilitators are adult (age 21+) volunteer staff members assigned to a group of 8 or 9 students throughout the seminar. They encourage discussions, lead activities, and provide supervision for all activities.

Facilitators-in-Training are college students or young professionals (ages 18-20) who are teamed with an adult facilitator to assist with each group.

Our Staff is comprised of youth and adult volunteers who serve in various roles throughout the weekend. Many of our staff members are HOBY Alumni who were participants in the Leadership Seminar and other HOBY programs as high school sophomores, and who return each year to dedicate their time and energy to providing a similar experience for this year’s Ambassadors.

Any person who is responsible for the health and safety of HOBY program participants must be at least 21 years of age. Facilitators and Staff remain on campus or with the participants at offsite locations during the entire event and are available 24 hours a day.

What safety measures are in place?

During the seminar, participants under age 18 are required to practice the “buddy system” and take along a companion of the same age group and gender whenever they leave the larger group (restroom, water break, etc.).

We maintain an adult to student ratio of no more than 12:1 at all times. All volunteers over age 18 are required to successfully complete a background check, including the Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History report, the Pennsylvania State Child Abuse Clearance for Volunteers Having Contact with Children, and a Federal Background Check, including fingerprinting. These are the same level of requirement for all PA public school teachers.

Should an emergency situation arise while we are on campus, we will follow emergency procedures prescribed by the University. When we are off campus, we follow the emergency procedures of the facility that we are visiting.

Use or possession of alcohol, unauthorized or illegal drugs, tobacco products, and/or weapons of any kind is strictly prohibited for all participants and may result in expulsion from the program.

HOBY mandates the reporting of any reasonable, good faith suspicion of child abuse of any nature and threats of danger to self or others, including terroristic threats, to the appropriate authorities.

What should I expect when I get there?

At the Central Pennsylvania Leadership Seminar, you can expect:

  • To be exposed to important ideas, including opinions that may differ from your own
  • To interact one-on-one with decision makers in education, government, business and other professions
  • To jump in and discover more about issues impacting you and your community
  • To be challenged to make a difference in your community
  • To commit to devoting 100 hours to volunteer service in the next year to help make your community stronger, in any way you believe you can
  • To make new friends who are also committed to making a positive difference in this world
  • And to have more fun than you ever expected!

From the moment you arrive at a HOBY program, you will be treated like a leader and encouraged to think critically about a wide range of issues that impact your life and the world. We expect all Ambassadors to participate in all activities and discussions, and to respect their peers and our volunteer staff.

The program will not promote any specific political party, religion, or way of thinking, but is designed to develop critical thinking skills by actively involving participants in discussions and informal debate.

Being selected to attend the Leadership Seminar is an honor bestowed upon those who have demonstrated leadership potential through their actions and comportment at their schools and in their home communities. We expect the students who attend the Seminar to conduct themselves maturely and respectfully at all times, and to abide by the rules we have established for the weekend.

What happens at the Seminar?

On Thursday, you’ll check in to the residence hall and start getting to know your fellow Ambassadors and the HOBY staff. We will be on campus all day, and our schedule will include speakers and activities focusing on developing personal and group leadership skills. We will also prepare for our visit to the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg on Friday.

Bright and early Friday morning, we journey to the State Capitol for a day full of activities. We will hear from a state representative, then break into committees to consider and draft legislation. We’ll proceed through caucus meetings and take our bills to the House floor, where we’ll have the opportunity to discuss and debate the legislation we have proposed. Then we’ll return to campus for dinner and time with our groups, a panel discussion in the evening focusing a societal issue relevant to young adults, and then a few hours of down time and a dance.

On Saturday we’ll break up into groups and visit area non-profits to learn more about their roles in the community and how and who they serve. We’ll also get to know some of the staff and volunteers who provide these valuable community resources and begin thinking about the ways that we can make a difference in our home communities. In the afternoon, we’ll log three hours of community service working on a project with these organizations. We’ll return to campus where we’ll hear from other Ambassadors about their volunteer experiences, participate in a panel with community leaders, and hear from a keynote speaker. An evening social activity and group time will cap off a long and rewarding day.

Sunday is our last day at the Seminar, and we’ll spend the morning learning how we can apply what we have learned at HOBY when we return home. We’ll talk to HOBY Alumni about their paths after the seminar and how to stay involved with HOBY. After some time for reflection and a last lunch with our groups, we’ll head to the closing ceremony. Ambassadors will reunite with their families at the conclusion of the closing ceremony and then check out of the residence halls.

What are the accommodations like?

Central Pennsylvania Leadership Seminar participants are housed in the residence halls at Shippensburg University. Men and women are housed in separate buildings. The residence halls are secured, and access to the facility is regulated by swipe card. Only HOBY participants may access these buildings. Our adult staff performs nightly bed checks of all student rooms.

Ambassadors share a double-occupancy room with another participant of the same age group and gender. We cannot accept roommate requests. The rooms are air-conditioned, and each room has its own bathroom. Participants must provide their own linens, pillow and towels. (A complete packing list will be provided with the Ambassador Pre-Seminar Materials.)

Are facilities accessible?

We strive to make our programs inclusive of all participants and ask that you please notify the Leadership Seminar Chair at seminar@centralpahoby.org of any accessibility needs by May 1, so that we can work with you to arrange appropriate resources.

What about meals?

All participants in HOBY programs will receive three nutritious meals each day and snacks in the afternoon and evening.

On campus meals are served at Reisner Dining Hall. The dining hall offers all-you-care-to-eat meals, served buffet style. Usually at least two entrees are offered at every meal, plus the dining hall offers a grill, pizza station and a salad bar. The dining hall also includes an allergen-free station.

Off campus meals and snacks are planned by HOBY staff, and many of the components are contributed by local restaurants and grocery stores. All foods are commercially prepared.

Please bring a refillable water bottle (or plan to purchase one at the HOBY Store when you arrive) to help reduce waste.

If you have special dietary considerations, please notify us when you register, and indicate your dietary needs. We plan to provide choices appropriate for the following preferences; however, if you have a special need that is not covered below, please notify the Leadership Seminar Chair at seminar@centralpahoby.org and we will work with you to accommodate your requirements.

  • I Eat Everything (no restrictions)
  • Pescatarian
  • Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Diabetic
  • No Pork
  • No Red Meat
  • Lactose Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Kosher
  • Halal
  • Peanut Allergy
  • All Nut Allergy
  • Shellfish Allergy

What should I bring?

A complete packing list and information on the HOBY dress code will be provided in the Ambassador Pre-Seminar Materials.

We participate in a variety of types of activities during the four day seminar, and we ask that you plan to bring appropriate attire for the following situations:

  • Thursday – Jeans, khakis, or a skirt, and a t-shirt or polo representing your high school or community
  • Friday – Business attire appropriate for our trip to the State Capitol; casual attire complying with the dress code for the evening dance
  • Saturday – Jeans, your HOBY t-shirt (which we’ll provide), and closed toe shoes. We’re outside all day at our volunteer sites, so plan for a variety of weather conditions and types of projects. Bring along boots or old shoes, rain gear and an umbrella, and sunscreen and sunglasses so you’re prepared for whatever the day brings.
  • Sunday – Business casual attire

What if I am registered and then unable to attend?

If circumstances arise that prevent you from attending the entire program, we would like to give another student from your school the opportunity to participate. Please immediately go to the high school counselor or principal who registered you and inform him/her of your situation. Please also contact Courtney Worrell and Beth Mayr, Co-Vice Chairs of Ambassador Relations at ambassadors@centralpahoby.org to let us know. Be sure to follow up without delay, because a cancellation fee may apply.

Students are not permitted to leave and then return to the Seminar for any reason, including school or sporting events.

What if I need to take medication or I become injured or ill?

Parents/guardians of students requiring medications should read and comply with HOBY’s Policy for Use of Medication During a HOBY Event and complete the Physician Medication Verification Form; both of these documents will be included with the Ambassador Pre-Seminar Materials. Please note that this form requires a doctor’s signature.

At check in, the HOBY Healthcare Provider will collect all medications and will securely store them for the duration of the seminar. The Healthcare Provider will be available in the morning, at meal times, in the evening, and at other times as required so that Ambassadors can pick up medications as needed. Medications will be returned to parents/guardians at check out on Sunday.

The first responder in case of a medical emergency will be the HOBY Healthcare Provider, who will determine an appropriate course of action.  Please review and sign the medical release included in the registration materials so any required treatment at a local facility is not delayed in case of emergency. 

How can I contact my child?

As a courtesy to our speakers and presenters, and to help our Ambassadors stay engaged with the activities in our curriculum, we strictly limit use of cell phones and ask that all phones be silenced and put away whenever an activity is taking place.

To facilitate passing through security at the State Capitol, we ask Ambassadors not to bring phones or other electronics with them on Friday.

Our schedule is very busy and we are on the go from early morning until late evening, so please don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from your Ambassador! We ask that parents/guardians, friends, and family members please do not call or text Ambassadors during scheduled activities. Parents/guardians will be given a copy of our agenda at check in.

You can follow along with our Seminar activities on social media:

No outside guests are permitted in or around the seminar facilities after Check In on Thursday or prior to the Closing Ceremony on Sunday. Ambassadors will reunite with their families after the Closing Ceremony.

In case of emergency, our staff will be available 24/7. Emergency contact phone numbers will be provided in the Ambassador Pre-Seminar Materials.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

If you have any questions about the Central Pennsylvania Leadership Seminar, please email Courtney Worrell and Beth Mayr, Co-Vice Chairs of Ambassador Relations, at ambassadors@centralpahoby.org or Holly Williams Leppo, Leadership Seminar Chair, at seminar@centralpahoby.org.