By Gavin Imes
After many years of dedication to HOBY Washington, this summer we say goodbye to our current Leadership Seminar Chair (LSC), Eric Martin. Since attending HOBY Washington as an ambassador in 2007, Eric has dedicated a large portion of his time and energy to this organization, both at a local and international level. He rose through the ranks by starting as a Team Alumni member, then a facilitator, followed by various roles on the Seminar Planning Team and the Corporate Board, including six years as LSC. At an international level, he served as a Regional Project Director for Region H, and as the Secretary for the Field Operations and Programming Committee. Needless to say, that the work he has done for HOBY has had an immeasurable impact on the organizations and on hundreds, if not thousands, of students and volunteers.
We sat down with Eric recently to reflect on his time with HOBY and his plans for the future:
What is your favorite memory from HOBY Washington?
Eric: The night I arrived as an ambassador on the HOBY Bus. Within minutes I realize that HOBY wasn’t just some leadership camp, but that HOBY was some kind of weird, chaotic, screaming, energizing, cheering, magical place; and that I belonged there.
What is the most important thing you have learned from HOBY?
Eric: That I should “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” To me, HOBY is special because of the thoughtful and committed volunteers. They make the difference in our world every year.
What was your favorite HOBY seminar theme and why?
Eric: My favorite seminar theme was “Superheroes.” It’s simple and cheesy, but it connected with everyone onsite. It didn’t matter if your favorite superhero was from Marvel, DC, an indie produced comic book, or one you made one. Everyone on site could speak to the virtues they admired most, and then discuss how they too could make a difference.
Before attending HOBY as a student, what did you know about the organization?
Eric: Absolutely nothing. In all honesty, I attended HOBY Washington my sophomore year because I wanted to miss three days of schools, not because I wanted to be a leader.
What is your favorite HOBY cheer?
“Oh, I feel so good.”
You’re a happy HOBster, a HOBster you’ll always be, but if your weren’t a HOBster…
Eric: A Political Activist I would be; fight the power, fight the power, uhhhhh let’s start a revolution.
What will you miss the most about being LSC?
Eric: Leading an amazing volunteer team. HOBY volunteers are something special, and I’m going to miss our planning sessions.
What are some of your current goals and aspirations for the future?
Eric: Good question. I have a couple: to start grad school in the fall for an MPA at the University of Washington; to run the Seattle half-marathon in November; and to learn new recipes in the kitchen. I love to cook but I don’t always have the time.
What advice you do have for this future ambassadors?
Eric: Take time to decide what is truly important in your lives and invest in those people or activities.
What advice do you have for future LSC’s?
Eric: Oh wow, where do I begin? First: plan. Plan early, plan often, and be prepared for plans to fail. Second: relax. You’re working with amazing people, and they want you to succeed. Third: connect with the Ambassadors. As an LSC it’s easy to get lost in the background, but don’t allow that to distract you from what’s important.
While we are sad to see Eric go, we are excited to see what he will accomplish in the future. Because if you know Eric, you will probably agree—no matter what the goal may be, Eric always gives 110%.