“I changed so much . . . I wanted to go every year”
(and he went to SuperCamp four times)
Jake Castellanos, Bob and Mary Wadsworth’s grandson, had the misfortune of losing his parents at a young age and was raised by his other (paternal) grandparents. He grew up without many other kids around and always felt a sense of not being accepted by others. In his teen years, Bob and Mary realized that Jake needed help and stepped in. They opened their home to him and then offered to send him to SuperCamp.
Jake recalls feeling reluctant to go but after attending said, “I never wanted to NOT come back. I wanted to go every year,” he said. And he did. He ended up attending SuperCamp four times including the Junior Forum at Stanford in 2005, Senior Forum at Stanford in 2006, Senior Forum Leadership Team at Stanford in 2007, and the Leadership Forum in Colorado in 2008.
“I changed so much,” he said. “I went from having zero confidence to feeling like a completely different person.” Jake said he remembers just about everything about each of the SuperCamp sessions he attended . . . the look of the rooms, the environment, the people, even the plants. And he recalls one of his favorite memories—playing the cup jumping game in the cafeteria! He also remembers how his academic performance improved and how he experienced a significant increase in the number of words per minute he could read.
Jake also still remembers the names of his team leaders who meant so much to him and is still in touch with many of the students he went to camp with. He even dated one of his fellow students for several years and still talks about SuperCamp today to anyone he thinks might benefit from it. Jake recalls that two of the 8 Keys of Excellence (principles to live by) were most helpful to him: “This Is It!” about making the most of every moment, and “Integrity” about being honest with yourself.
Jake attributes his strong communication skills, his ability to talk and listen to others and talk to groups with ease, as well as his integrity, to what he gained from attending SuperCamp. He considered becoming a team leader but decided to join the Navy instead and credits his success in the Navy to what he learned while attending SuperCamp. He’s now out of the military after traveling to 37 countries, including living in Japan for three and a half years.
When Jake returned to the States, he served as a Close-In Weapons System Instructor with the U.S. Navy in Virginia Beach and is currently attending Strayer University working toward his degree in Business Administration and Social Media Marketing. He is also working on starting his own social media marketing company called “Everybody in Media,” named after the Chicago Cubs 2017 season slogan, “Everybody In.” In addition, Jake is part of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Society for Collegiate Leadership & Achievement, and Golden Key International Honor Society.
When Jake reflected on his experiences at SuperCamp and how much it meant to him that Bob and Mary were there for him, he said, “Bob was one of the most giving, honest, and caring people in the world.” “He even flew from Indiana to attend my graduation once. When he passed away, I had the idea of having donations made in his honor so other children could attend SuperCamp. I know Bob would have wanted that,” he said.