Just a few days ago, Tony Palmas Jr. was in Chicago, Illi. at Loyola University attending the Hugh O’Brian Youth World Leadership Congress. 432 students from the U.S. and around the world attended this year. They arrived for day one on Saturday, July 20 for a welcome BBQ and opening ceremonies. The following five days were full of many different activities that promoted leadership skills. Their long and active days began at 7:15 a.m. and ended at 11:30 p.m.
Day two began with Cultures of Faith panel discussion which helped students recognize and discuss cultural differences and similarities. Later in the day, the students participated in Rachel’s Challenge. Rachel Joy Scott was the first student to die in the 1999 Columbine shooting. Her family began Rachel’s Challenge which is as follows: 1) Look for the best in others, 2) dream big, 3) choose positive influences, 4) speak with kindness, and 5) start your own reaction.
Day three began with speaker Stephen Harvill and ended with a trip to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.
Day four was full of speakers like John Flavin, the CEO of Chicago Innovation Mentors, Ted Souder, head of industries and retail for Google, and Michael McGee, co-founder of Starter League
Day five was community service day with a total of 1700 hours by the students and Skyped with representatives from Sandy Hook after lunch. Then the students had fun participating in “WLC Amazing Race” through Chicago and wrapped up the evening with a fireworks show over the Navy Pier!
Day six began with Josh Levs, the social media anchor for CNN speaking to the students and the Student Ambassador Talent Show closing out the day
Day seven had the students participate in a world economy simulated game where bartering skills played a key role in winning. The closing gala, with a banquet at the Palmer house, ended the day with Tony meeting Hugh O’Brian, the founder of HOBY.
Finally on day eight, the 27th was departure time for all HOBY students with Tony Palma Jr. landing in Tucson at 11 a.m., tired and happy to be home to share his experiences with us.