SuperCamp Success Story #3: Austin

When Austin came to SuperCamp he felt he was doing fine in school. He had friends and an active social life. He had goals and wanted to be on his high school’s varsity golf team. If anyone asked him what he would change about his life, he would have responded that he’d like a slight improvement in his motivation and that would be it.

His parents saw it differently. They felt his grades could improve significantly. Although they felt Austin had the talent to get straight A’s and succeed in advanced placement classes, he didn’t have a single A or advanced placement class.

A postcard changed Austin’s life completely. Specifically, a postcard Austin’s mother received in the mail about a program called SuperCamp. Thinking that a summer program was a good idea, she contacted some people she trusted and asked about academic camps for 13-year-olds such as Austin. Every response she received talked about SuperCamp. She was sold.

Austin wasn’t sold. He called it “nerd camp” and didn’t see the need. But in the end, he became curious about the camp and agreed to go. His life change happened almost immediately.

From the first day, Austin met kids with different situations and challenges. He met kids from divorced families. He met kids with alcoholic parents. Even the children that grew up in his type of environment had different thoughts, beliefs and dreams. Yet, he was amazed at how every one of them managed to find real happiness despite their sometimes negative situations and even succeed with positive attitudes. He never realized he came from a sheltered background until SuperCamp.

He returned home with a different perspective than when he left. He realized his friends were holding him back. They couldn’t have fun without alcohol or at times even drugs. He wanted something different. He found new motivation to succeed in school. He realized he wanted more than to simply earn a spot on the varsity golf team.

Thanks to new perspectives and training he gained at SuperCamp, Austin broke from his old life and started a new one. He stopped hanging around with his “cool, snobby” friends and sought out better friends he could trust. He wanted better grades and took advanced placement classes. He set his sights on his high school’s “Most Outstanding Senior” award. Moving in a new direction wasn’t easy for Austin. It meant dedicating himself to his future and working harder in the present.

Near the end of the year, the school principal announced the award for “Most Outstanding Senior.” After listing the names of the nominees he paused and said, “The winner is . . . Austin!” His classmates all turned to congratulate him, and Austin was overjoyed. After class, he got to celebrate with his new, more trusted friends, without alcohol or drugs.

Austin believes that in addition to achieving success in high school, his SuperCamp experience empowered him to get into the college of his choice, and succeed there too. As a freshman at Santa Clara University, Austin found the techniques he’d learned at SuperCamp were invaluable and helped him deal with challenging exams as well as homesickness. He continued to achieve significant success in all areas of college life and received more awards. He was student body president and graduated with a bachelor of science in commerce/accounting and a minor in political science. He was awarded the 2008 Nobili Medal given by the faculty and provost to the male graduate judged outstanding in academic performance, personal character, school activities, and constructive contribution to the university.

After graduation, Austin traveled around the world on a three-month adventure during which he studied the impact of social entrepreneurship in developing countries. After his return, he was a senior associate at the accounting firm, Deloitte & Touche, and for three years served on the Board of Trustees of Santa Clara University as its youngest member.

Where is he now?

Austin is still succeeding and continues to use techniques he learned at SuperCamp. He completed a master’s degree in Global Policy Studies at the University of Texas at Austin where he focused on international trade and finance. He is currently the Vice President of Mergers & Acquisitions and Corporate Development at Upland Software, a publicly traded cloud-based enterprise work management software company. He is married and lives in Austin, Texas.

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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.