My journey as a leader started when I was just sixteen years old. As a sophomore I was not motivated to become a leader and make a difference in the world. Then HOBY was introduced to me. HOBY opened up my eyes to how I can make a difference in my community and the world just by being a leader.
After HOBY I volunteered whenever I had the chance, I took on many positions of leadership at my high school and I also took initiative to make my community a better place. Most people don’t believe that a kid in high school can accomplish momentous things, but they really can. I used to think that my ideas were not worth sharing because they would not be respected, but after HOBY I learned that I can do anything if I put my mind to it.
A project that I was extremely involved with during my entire Junior Year of high school was a project that united my community with other communities around my hometown area. The community I lived in is a very popular bicycling destination so we came up with an idea to create artistic bike racks and place them in popular areas around the community. My community is also a very popular bird watching destination so we also decided to make the bike racks bird themed. We called upon local artists to create a different design for every location and then we installed them around the area. We earned national recognition with our efforts to unify our community with a sustainable theme.
Since the project was finished our community has had a large growth in tourism. I was very proud that I was involved and that I could help make a difference in my community. After volunteering for many hours, working hard in school and staying involved in my community I was offered many scholarships and opportunities to help me outside of high school.
I am extremely grateful that I attended HOBY because without HOBY I would have not gained the inspiration to become a better leader in my community. Even though that I am now twenty years old I can see how much of an impact I have on the community and the world. It is up to you to decide what to do next.
Now, as we go in to 2015, ask yourself, “How can I take my leadership skills and help my community?” I can assure you that you will not regret it.
-Casey Willis, 2011 HOBY Oregon Alumnus
Crow High School, Eugene, Oregon