Adventures of the Mind is an achievement-focused mentoring camp for the most promising high school students in the country and across the globe to meet each other while spending several days meeting, greeting, challenging, conversing, and dining with an accomplished Faculty of Mentors. This unique group of adult achievers includes: Artists, astronauts, athletes, entrepreneurs, inventors, journalists, Nobel laureates, novelists, poets, poker players, public servants, Pulitzer prizewinners, scholars, tech titans, and more. The Faculty generously takes time away from their careers at prestigious colleges and companies to make a difference in the lives of our talented teens.
The camps are based on the belief that getting to know great achievers and sharing their interests and experiences can serve as a road map for young people just starting out. The Junior Achievers inducted into the Adventures class of 2015 will learn first-hand not only that excellence is possible, but also that the path to it lies right before them. Students will explore the concepts of achievement and success both on an individual level and on a global basis.
Students will participate in workshops, break-out seminars, and plenary sessions that will guide them in the development of their own unique paths to success by exploring possible career paths. As part of this process, the program includes fundamental curriculum that is too often overlooked in schools: critical thinking and decision making skills, financial literacy, leadership training and writing computer code. All of this is done in an attempt to fulfill the organization’s mission to educate and inspire students to develop into responsible leaders who understand the meaning of caring for others and contributing to a better society.
There is also a lot of fun during the week that includes a College Fair @ Penn, a hackathon, and a Tournament of Games featuring backgammon, chess, poker, and scrabble that is coached by champion players; visits to local cultural and scientific institutions; and our gala that features music and dramatic performances.
Students are identified in two ways:
Student Achievement’s Admission Council searches nationwide and around the world for the smartest students from all backgrounds. This means we dig deep beyond the traditional measures of achievement: grades and test scores. We do this by asking counselors, educators, and teachers to nominate a teen that they know to be exceptional – regardless of learning disabilities or socio-economic factors which too often obscure the student’s ability and potential.
Accepted students include champion athletes, national essay competition finalists, and world-class musicians. We also look for the runners-up in national competitions ranging from the FIRST Robotics Competition, Intel Science Talent Search, International Science Olympiads, National Poetry Slam, and Presidential Scholars Program. Statistically speaking they are just as accomplished as the winners but don’t receive the same level of recognition. Leadership potential is important so we ask nominators to give special consideration to students who take the time and effort to lead – whether in academics, athletics, or after school clubs.
Educators nominate students who they believe, with guidance and nurturing, could maximize their potential and make important contributions to society.
97% of our eligible high school students are attending or have completed college and two have even received the highest award given to a college senior, the Hertz Fellowship. Adventures alum Michael Li ’03 also received the Marshall Scholarship, which is comparable to a Rhodes.
Participants are a select group of accomplished individuals who are invited by the Student Achievement Advisory Council to mentor at each summit as:
This is a unique group that ranges from astronauts to Nobel laureates to writers.
Amy Tan ’03 author and student sponsor – whose perfect attendance at all seven camps was only broken by Superstorm Sandy – believes that Adventures is changing lives:
“As you may already have guessed, this invitation is not to name-drop, but to lure you into supporting a group that is very important to me, Adventures of the Mind. It brings high-potential teens to a college campus for a life-inspiring week with 50 mentors. The students come away with a broader view of what they want to do with their lives. I’ve witnessed it. I have gone every year at my own expense and come away similarly inspired, and I have met incredible people who are now dear life-long friends.”
THE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT ADVISORY COUNCIL launched the Adventures of the Mind Achievement Mentoring Camp in 2003.
As of 2015, we will have sponsored more than 1,000 students from almost every state and ten countries. More than 100 great achievers from around the world have participated, many of them more than once, donating their time to help guide and inspire these remarkable youths.