VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: Mallory Wood
The 2016 Volunteer of the Year has been with HOBY since she was selected as an ambassador to HOBY New York East in 2002. It took her six whole years to figure out how much more fun we had in Vermont, but she finally began volunteering with HOBY Vermont as a facilitator in 2008 – and hasn’t looked back since. Mallory has held a number of meaningful positions within this organization, including Alumni Advisor, Corporate Board Member at Large, and Vice President, and has been Corporate Board President for the past three years.
While we are lucky to have many dedicated volunteers within our organization, Mallory’s service to HOBY can truly be described as outstanding. Her dedication to every position she has held sets an example for all of us who work with her. Despite moving to California for the third year of her presidency (for a boy she met at HOBY’s Training Institute) she still managed to lead the Corporate Board in an exceptionally-productive year, and provide direction to the many volunteers on which our organization thrives.
HOBY is my home. I’ve said this multiple times, and every time it rings truer and truer. When I first arrived at HOBY I was, well, shocked. There was a screaming dancing banana… It definitely pulled my out of my comfort zone and freaked me out. I mean, who wouldn’t be at least a little bit freaked out? This was my introduction to HOBY and it helped carry a theme throughout the entire seminar. The idea of being family, letting yourself go and just being comfortable. For me, that is extremely difficult, letting people in and not worrying about having control. Throughout the weekend my JuFa pushed me to open up, be loud and enjoy myself. That’s what this is designed to do. The point of HOBY is to learn more about leadership and discover yourself by being challenged. This is why HOBY is home. It is the place where no one will judge, people are welcoming and family is forged. That is what rings true for me. FAMILY. If I ever need anything these people will help. Wether fundraising, having a simple talk or community service, these people are willing to help. We are family, and all of us are connected.
HOBY is more than an opportunity to become a better leader, it is an opportunity to become a better YOU. Through HOBY I came to realize that every person has the chance to share their own positivity and make a difference even if it is as simple as taking a moment to say hi, or smile at someone you don’t know. I learned it’s not always the big things that make the difference, it is the little everyday things people do that help make the world a little better and a little brighter. My advice is take all of HOBY in and don’t hold back because you don’t realize how quickly it goes by. These will be memories that last a lifetime.
Honestly, I thought the seminar was amazing. The sense of camaraderie amongst the ambassadors, and even with the facilitators, was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. In just three days, I formed closer relationships than I had formed with people I’ve known for years. It completely changed my perspective on life in general, but most specifically, service to others. Through the candlelight ceremony, I saw just how important it was to help others, and how easy it could be through teamwork.
Here at HOBY, we’re in it for each other…
The minute I got to HOBY I knew I was in a special place. The energy was high and we were all like family. I never knew that I could become that close with a group of people in such a short period of time. I like to think of HOBY as a lifestyle conference; it not only gives you the tools to make a difference, but puts you in a place where you really want to make a difference. I will always love my HOBY family and the memories I have made at the program.
HOBY was absolutely a life changing experience. I was a different person when it was over. Through a truly unique experience, HOBY empowered me to go make a difference in my community by giving me the energy, courage, and enthusiasm that it requires. I will remember the four day seminar for the rest of my life!