Amy Cannon is a Program Coordinator at IEA. She has worked here for over two years and in the administrative support of educational programs for over six. Her primary focus at IEA is on the Yunasa camps.
1. What are you most passionate about in working with the gifted community?
I am probably most energized by gifted kids’ excitement to know and understand the world. So often, their desire to question and explore is dampened by teachers who want them to stay on task, peers who pressure them to fit in, and parents who aren’t sure how to meet their children’s insatiable need to know. It is this motivation and drive that makes the gifted so likely to shape our future – to contribute inventions, innovations, and discoveries to our world. I love the spark of curiosity I see in all the kids we work with and want to do what I can to fan that spark into a flame!
2. What is one thing you think every family with a gifted child should know?
So often parents will call or email and talk about how unique their child’s situation is – how few equal peers they have, how they present a novel challenge to their school structures, how what they deal with is unlike what they see around them. As someone who administers programs for the gifted, I can assure them: “You are not alone.” There are others out there who have the same struggles, the same challenges, and the same wonderful gifts. What I love about Yunasa camps, and about all of IEA’s programs, is that we provide the opportunity for the gifted to connect – across the country and sometimes across the world – with others who are like them and who share their experiences, joys, and challenges. To observe the strong friendships and lasting community forged in our programs among our constituents is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.
3. Why do you enjoy focusing on the program that you do?
Yunasa camps are my main focus as a Program Coordinator. All our programs are wonderful and rewarding opportunities, but I particularly enjoy working with Yunasa because of the opportunity to go to camp! I love the outdoors; that I get to go kayaking or build a Nature Sculpture with campers as a part of my job is unbelievable! I am also immensely grateful that I am able to work so closely with our Yunasa Fellows, world-renowned experts in the field of giftedness, and wise, kind, sensitive people from whom I personally have learned a great deal.
4. What’s your favorite Yunasa tradition?
Yunasa summer camps, as with most summer camps, are rich with traditions that are handed down from year to year. My favorite tradition might be the opening and closing ceremonies. The campfire, the drum beat, and the songs are the same, but the feeling is so different from the beginning of the week to the end. I love feeling how the traditions have deepened with the campers over the span of just one week!
5. What’s your favorite snack food?
I love cheese more than is probably healthy. I love a spread of cheese, crackers, fruits, and meats. It feels “fancy” but is excessively easy to put together!
6. What’s a movie you watched recently that you liked?
I recently watched “Paper Moon,” which I loved. It has Ryan and Tatum O’Neal, a real-life father and daughter playing a father and daughter con artist team in the movie. Tatum O’Neal was the youngest actor ever to receive an Academy Award, which she won for her portrayal in this movie at age 10. It was made in 1973, is set in the Great Depression, and is funny, witty, and moving.
7. What’s one activity you enjoy doing in your free time?
I’m a voracious reader, so I spend a lot of time doing that! Since moving to Pasadena, I’ve tried to take advantage of being so close to the San Rafael Hills and San Gabriel Mountains and get in a lot of hikes! I also very much enjoy exploring around Los Angeles – Chinatown, Our Lady of the Angels cathedral, Little Tokyo, Olvera St. Taking the metro around L.A. and finding new places to explore and cultural opportunities to benefit from make me glad to live in such a vibrant city! Recently, I took up the ukulele – though I’m far from proficient, it’s come in handy for a sing-along or two. Sadly, I don’t think it will fit in my carry-on for camp!
Have your kids been to Yunasa or a camp that allowed them to connect with other kids like them? Please share your experience in the comment section below!