In the spring of 2014, a good friend of mine invited me to be a Senior Facilitator for HOBY Oregon. I was hesitant of this opportunity, I didn’t know very much about HOBY and it would mean taking 2 days off work; never the less I decided to look into it. I was put in touch with the Director of Recruitment, and she was able to walk me through everything needed to submit my application and volunteer screening process. All together, it was very easy and everything was approved within two days. As the seminar weekend approached, I was able to meet with my Junior Facilitator and go over what to expect from the weekend.
Travelling to the seminar, I was joined with my Junior Facilitator and additional Junior Volunteer as we carpooled from Seattle to Oregon. They taught me the HOBY cheers to help pass time in the car, and got me ready for a weekend full of cheering. Once we arrived, I was able to meet the rest of the HOBY staff and bond with everyone over pizza. The staff was made up of so many incredible people: high school students, college students, adult volunteers who have all either gone to HOBY as ambassadors or volunteers, and people like me who were there for the first time!
The next morning, we all hit the ground running: Ambassadors from all over the state were checking in and we were able to interact right off the bat with fun ice breakers. After everyone checked in, the Seminar weekend kicked off with opening ceremonies. Shortly after, my Junior Facilitator and myself were able to meet our small group of ambassadors. Five ambassadors from five different school, five different backgrounds. While each of us experienced the same seminar, each of us would take away something different from it.
I had gone into the weekend thinking I was there to help keep the Ambassadors on track and safe. What I had not anticipated was how much the Ambassadors would be teaching me, how much they would accept me, and how much hope they would give me for the future. I had thought that in the staff I would be the ‘new person’ and alone; instead I was accepted and made a member of the group instantly. Becoming a Senior Facilitator for HOBY gave me the opportunity to work on small and large group levels to guide the leaders of tomorrow, and being able to see those moments where a lesson clicks is absolutely incredible. Because of HOBY, I now have a network of talented, diverse, and driven individuals that I have the privilege of calling my friends.
-Mary Grassl, 2014 HOBY Oregon Senior Facilitator
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