I was born in 1929, the year of the Great Depression. My parents, both the youngest of families of 11, had migrated to Australia in the early 20s. Their parents, from a rich, conservative aristocracy, had somehow failed to provide any love for my parents who became typical products of the Victorian era, unable to express their emotions.
As a result my own childhood was stunted emotionally and I was in a constant state of frustration. When I was five I even tried to burn our house down Right up until the time my mother died I felt emotionally imprisoned. And when I married it was to someone who had the same emotional problems I did. I’m still amazed that our marriage lasted 16 years. During the following eleven years, still feeling that I had not yet discovered my true potential, I began participating in personal development programs. In November, 1985 I assisted on a three-day personal development program in Melbourne Australia called “Money & You”. I was 56.
In a break I walked over to a table displaying all kinds of information about other courses available. A brochure about a residential program for teenagers called “Supercamp” leapt to my attention. As I started to read something happened which I can’t explain. My heart beat faster and I became very emotional. I walked back to my seat feeling excited. I didn’t know why, but I knew I had to find out more.
On the second day of the seminar, the facilitator, Robert Kiyosaki, announced that there would be a follow-on program called “Creating Wealth” in San Diego in six weeks. San Diego was the location of the headquarters of Supercamp. I thrust up my hand and said: ‘I think I’ll be there’. It was a crazy idea. I had no money and I was running a PR company that was only just making it financially.
I thought about nothing else for two weeks, then I borrowed the money for the airfare, told my business partner what I was doing (he thought I’d lost my marbles), advised Supercamp I was coming and booked into the seminar.
On the morning after the seminar I walked into the offices of Supercamp where I met its founder, Bobbi de Porter, and her staff. Bobbi showed me a video of the accelerated learning program and the results it was achieving in the lives of thousands of American teenagers. She was as enthusiastic as I was about bringing Supercamp Down Under. Three hours later I walked out of those offices in a state of high excitement.
By the time I got back home the word had spread and people came out of the woodwork to offer their support. In early January I set up a small committee to work on the detail and the negotiations with what would be our US partner and I invited a friend of mine, Jo Rawson, to help me set it up. We had regular meetings over the following six months until about early July when we came to the unhappy realisation that the economical and logistical problems associated with importing Supercamp into Australia were insurmountable. Reluctantly we abandoned the project.
We were extremely disappointed but the Universe wasn’t about to let us off the hook so easily. A couple of weeks later Kyosaki was back in town and I went to see him to get some advice about my business. No sooner had I walked through the door than I was introduced to an Hawaiian man called Vic Quitan who was associated with a similar program in Hawaii called “Winners Camp”. We were quickly in conversation. It was an accelerated learning program like Supercamp only on a smaller scale and was designed to assist 13 to 18 year-olds realise their true potential. I asked Vic if it would be possible for us to attend a program. He said yes. “So when is the next one?” I asked. “Monday” he said. This was Thursday. On the way home I phoned Jo to give her the news. The excitement was on again.
I caught a flight on Monday. Jo followed a couple of days later. It was one of the most extraordinary weeks of my life. The program had an emphasis on personal responsibility, confidence and self esteem as well as teaching a number of academic skills that help teenagers learn more quickly and without stress. There were 50 teenagers in the program, most from difficult family backgrounds. By the end of the week we were astonished by the changes in the teenagers and through them their parents.
The Hawaiian facilitators wanted to come to Australia to help us get our own program up and running and the following January six of them came down to facilitate the first “Discovery Program” in Australia with eighty-five teenagers in attendance. It was an outstanding success. Since then hundreds of teenagers and their families from around Australia have graduated from Discovery.
My own involvement with Discovery was short term but the feeling of euphoria around it still remains. For a while I wondered why me? Why did I choose to go down that track? Then it finally dawned on me that in the process of becoming so involved in healing the lives of teenagers I had healed myself.
My husband Andrew, who began this blog in October 2007, died peacefully on September 3rd 2012, at the age of 83, after long and well-controlled illness culminating in a sudden, brief decline. He worked on his autobiography for years but never completed it. Instead he left behind various pieces of life writing which would have formed part of it. I will gradually include this material here, giving the dates on which the pieces were written. I'll also add some of my own reminiscences and items of information I have about him. At some point this blog will become an archive, without further additions. — Rosemary Nissen-Wade