SuperCamp Success Story #2: Duncan

Duncan grew up according to the traditions and culture of his Chinese family. They were the same values taught at his conventional Chinese school in Hong Kong and everywhere else. Those values taught that the best way for a person to exist in a culture is conformity. Don’t stick out of the crowd. Do what everyone else does and accept it as your life.

Duncan wanted to break out of the mold. When he was fourteen, he would scribble weird drawings of his “new inventions.” When the other children talked of music, Duncan talked of invention. In a society that bred answers, Duncan asked questions. He felt discouraged from talking to other people because they never seemed to understand him or take him seriously. Slowly, he became timid about expressing his thoughts and asking questions. He started to doubt his logic and decisions. He felt isolated because he was different. He kept his views to himself and forced himself to conform to the norm. The more he conformed, the less he liked himself.

One day Duncan’s parents heard about an American camp held in Hong Kong that—among other things—helped children feel comfortable being themselves and following their interests. They heard that the camp “did amazing things” to help children with their grades and their self-esteem. Duncan was going to SuperCamp.

Like most participants, his transformation from insecure to confident happened gradually. At first he was awed by the dynamic curriculum and diverse cultural backgrounds of the other students. The longer he stayed, the more he became aware that people and their beliefs could be different. Through the camp’s activities and teachings, he realized the importance of diversity in thought and culture. He became more confident and realized that he possessed the power to become his own person.

After SuperCamp Duncan transferred to an international school in Hong Kong to continue his exposure to diversity. He made academic goals, found a summer internship, and started to embark upon pathways few have traveled.

At Tufts University, Duncan majored in environmental studies and Chinese. He wanted to understand firsthand what the developing China really needs and took a gap year to work in China, where he ended up establishing and directing a pilot sustainable development project. During this time, with a renewed and clear view of what he wanted to do, Duncan applied to and was accepted by Yale University where he continued his major in Environment Studies and obtained a B.A. magna cum laude and a Master of Environmental Management.

Where is he now?

Duncan is now Director of Product Innovation at Green Order, one of the world’s most influential strategy advisors in sustainable innovation. He advises companies on improving their environmental and energy performance. Duncan is married and has a two-year-old son. Duncan feels comfortable following unusual beliefs and desires as long as he has a clear purpose and reason for them. This mindset has served him well.

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Since 1982 SuperCamp has increased the academic and personal success of 73,000 students. Participants experience breakthrough learning, the 8 Keys of Excellence principles to live by, self-discovery, deep friendships, and fun! They learn valuable collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity strategies, and how to apply their SuperCamp experiences and skills to school, college, career, and life.