Tag Archives: camp

Yunasa 2014

By Jennifer de la Haye

Jennifer is a recent addition to the IEA staff and attended Yunasa for the first time this summer. IEA’s pioneering Yunasa summer camps unite highly able youngsters with experts in the social and emotional development of gifted children. Campers explore and grow the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, and physical aspects of their lives.

Whole-camp

Yunasa 2014 left me breathless – perhaps because this was my first Yunasa experience, or perhaps because Yunasa is a special and unique hub of safety, growth, and unparalleled camp-magic. The afternoon of Sunday, July 27, campers began to filter into the conference center of Camp Copneconic in Fenton, Michigan; some brows were knitted, some smiles were uncertain, some faces looked thoughtful. Several of the kids seemed to float, others skipped, many hugged with excited ferocity, quite a few squealed and jumped up and down as they spotted a friend. The older campers – deemed either EL for ‘Emerging Leader’ or CIT for ‘Counselor in Training’ – whose bonds with one another are indurate after years of Yunasa, dispersed to welcome the younger campers, show them to their rooms, and initiate ice-breaking exercises. Kids who seemed a bit apprehensive were directed to the table of Yunasa Buddies, cuddly stuffed animals donated by staff and campers meant to offer a bit of comfort throughout the week.

Group-table

On the first night of camp, Newbury Honor Award winner and IEA Senior Fellow Stephanie Tolan led a group discussion on her work, Flight of the Raven, the second book in a series about four gifted youth who combine powers to save a violent, troubled world. I was immediately struck by the depth and intelligence of the conversation; the questions the campers asked were interesting and insightful. And so mature. Was I sitting in on a college literature course or was I watching a summer camp unfold?

See more highlights from camp!

Summer Academy at The Huntington – A Scholar’s Paradise

By Louise Hindle

Louise is IEA’s Academy Coordinator. Academy offers K-8th grade students challenging enrichment classes that focus on exploration and application of knowledge.

A group of Summer Academy students enjoys The Huntington's gardens and has fun with new friends made over lunch

A group of Summer Academy students spends lunchtime enjoying The Huntington’s gardens and having fun with new friends

This year, IEA had the tremendous opportunity to host both 3-week Summer Academy sessions at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, that scholar’s paradise situated in the center of San Marino, known and loved by curious minds near and far, young and not so young! It was a boon to our community to enjoy this remarkable location, and more, to begin to appreciate how such partnering might enrich our classes further. As we conclude our inaugural Academy program at The Huntington, we look back at the summer sessions through the eyes of our most important critics: the Academy students themselves!

See more highlights from Summer 2014 Academy

Yunasa West 2014

By Jessica Houben

IEA’s pioneering Yunasa summer camps unite highly able youngsters with experts in the social and emotional development of gifted children. Campers explore and grow the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, and physical aspects of their lives.

Yunasa West 2014

In June, 39 campers from across the country came together for Yunasa West at Camp Shady Brook in Deckers, Colorado, for a week of intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual, and physical growth.

The week started off by introducing this year’s IEA program theme: The Common Good. As we talked about The Common Good, campers shared what the theme meant to them and how they thought it would be relevant to their camp experience. They described the Common Good as acting unselfishly, doing things for other people rather than yourself, and behaving in a way that promotes the health of the group, even if one’s own best interest is at stake. We proceeded to establish our rules as a group to prepare for the week as part of a community. Each camper exemplified The Common Good in their actions towards others at camp, respecting one another and making efforts to ascertain that everyone felt accepted.

See more highlights from Yunasa West 2014!

The Many Faces of Gifted: Tara R.

By Carole Rosner

Every gifted person has a unique story. The following story is part of a series of posts depicting the many faces of gifted by highlighting gifted children and adults we have found through IEA programs. IEA’s pioneering Yunasa summer camps – mentioned in this story – unite highly able children and experts in the social and emotional development of gifted children and provides an opportunity for campers to explore and grow the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social and physical aspects of their lives.

Tara

Tara Raizada
Past Yunasa Camper
Current Student at Northwestern University

“The ‘gifted’ label, for me, mattered less and less as I got older,” college freshman Tara Raizada said. “When I was younger, the identification pushed me to achieve more, but I ended up going to a middle school comprised solely of TAG [Talented and Gifted] students, where being ‘gifted’ was the norm, and I began to attribute less to the term than I had before, since that kind of child was so ubiquitous in my life. I hardly ever heard the word during high school, and I began to think even less about it. Yunasa became the only place I ever really pondered the term, and then I thought of it in a positive light. At the same time, I think it’s important to strike a balance with this label, because it can put children under a lot of pressure to achieve what they think ‘gifted’ kids need to achieve. Yunasa, I think, contributes a lot to balancing that fear out for many campers I’ve seen there, to realize that being ‘gifted’ is also a personality trait and an intellectual mindset, not just a measure of intelligence.”

Read more of Tara’s story!

Yunasa 2013!

By Jessica Houben

IEA’s pioneering Yunasa summer camps unite highly able youngsters with experts in the social and emotional development of gifted children. Campers explore and grow the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, and physical aspects of their lives.

“Know Thyself” was at the core of all of IEA’s programs this year, and particularly for Yunasa, as this theme tied into each activity throughout the week. Yunasa is the Lakota word for “balance”, and finding balance within as a means of gaining self-knowledge is the focus of camp. From July 21-28 at Camp Copneconic in Fenton, Michigan, campers explored themselves more deeply and learned integration strategies for the five domains of self: social, emotional, physical, spiritual, and intellectual. For many returning campers, Yunasa is a place where they rejoin their family each year, building their existing connections and extending themselves to make new ones. What was most unique about camp this year was the number of new campers who were accepted into the Yunasa family with open arms.

Call in the Directions

Call in the Directions

Check out more highlights from camp!

Yunasa West 2013!

IEA’s pioneering Yunasa and Yunasa West summer camps unite highly able youngsters with experts in the social and emotional development of gifted children. Campers explore and grow the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, and physical aspects of their lives. 2013 was the 2nd year for Yunasa West, which took place June 9-16 at YMCA Camp Shady Brook in Sedalia, Colorado.

2013 Yunasa West campers and staff

2013 Yunasa West campers and staff

Twenty-four kids from across the country joined us for Yunasa West 2013. This was the second year of Yunasa West, and it proved to be yet another memorable and magical year!

Campers explored all five aspects of Self – intellectual, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual – and learned how to work towards achieving balance across these five areas of their lives.

Every day contained at least one activity to help campers embrace each of the five aspects of Self. In just one day, a camper could go rock climbing (physical), talk with all of the other campers during activities and at meals (social), learn about the different aspects of emotional intelligence in a special workshop (emotional and intellectual), and do yoga (spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual).

See what the campers did at Yunasa West!

Summer Programs and Intensities

By Kate Duey

GirlBubble_YunasaSelecting an appropriate summer camp for a gifted student requires careful consideration of the whole child. Who are they, and how can they benefit from the summer? There are no standard answers to this. Some students want to spend the summer more fully pursuing a passion. Others want to try something new. And some don’t want to go to camp at all, preferring to read, imagine, work for money, visit family, or more. All of these are worthwhile options.

Read more about the right summer camp for your gifted child here!

The Many Faces of Gifted: Matthew

Interview by Carole Rosner

Every gifted person has a unique story. The following story is part of a series of posts depicting the many faces of gifted by highlighting gifted children and adults we have found through IEA programs. IEA’s pioneering Yunasa summer camp – mentioned in this story – unites highly able children and experts in the social and emotional development of gifted children and provides an opportunity for campers to explore and grow the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social and physical aspects of their lives.

Matthew

Matthew
Yunasa Camper

Matthew lives on the island of Java in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. He is 13 years old, is home schooled and has traveled to Camp Copneconic in Fenton, Michigan, for the last two summers to attend Yunasa.

How did Matthew hear about Yunasa?
Matthew first learned about Yunasa through his mentor. “Mark Lediard has been my mentor for three years now, beginning from the age where I was withdrawn from formal schooling. He and I now meet regularly to discuss opportunities for my enrichment and intellectual expansion, including out-of-country learning and meetings with learned professionals. It was through Mark’s collaboration with a homeschooling curriculum adviser named Kathi Kearney that I learned of Yunasa, and I was quick to jump at the prospect.”

But why Yunasa?
“Indonesia, despite being diverse both culturally and biologically, does not have the inherent essence that Yunasa offers. Although the country does have camps, most are relatively generic when compared to Yunasa; mostly they fall within the categories of academic, ecological, or religious. It can be said that the reason for my participation was to experience these new spiritual aspects that no other camp could seem to offer.”

What has he gained from attending Yunasa?
“Words alone cannot describe the effects Yunasa have had on me; intellectually, socially, physically, and spiritually. I have met people with radically varying perspectives, others with opinions very akin to my own, and those still who have enhanced me and the way I see myself by their personalities and experiences. Here, I found an arena to discuss and debate the theories I hold so dear, and to marvel at the ambitions of others who were driven by that same desire to cultivate humanity.”

What does Matthew like about Yunasa?
“The experience of Yunasa was terrifically structured, and my greatest thanks go to the IEA staff for organizing and providing such a seamless daily schedule. The topics and contributions of the Senior Fellows were invaluable in expanding my intellectual and emotional repertoire and are inspiring to reflect on, especially when considering their many possibilities.”

What part of Yunasa has had the greatest effect on Matthew?
“Although I meditate in my daily life, the concept of psychosynthesis itself intrigued me, and I quickly found out why. In the process, I experienced undoubtedly profound visions of the unified continuum of time; often, I would leave the session pondering my beliefs and what it meant to be there. Frankly, I cannot wait to experience pychosynthesis again next year and see what I may experience.”

What similarities does he find between himself and the other campers?
“I find that in a myriad of ways, we share similar perspectives, interests, and ways of comprehending reality. I can say that I have never felt more assimilated into a community than Yunasa’s gestalt, especially when considering I have lived in a foreign society for all my life. In this way, Yunasa is a sanctuary, a home for me. Even before I arrived, I had an innate knowing of the events to come, as it is an undeniable fact that Yunasa has that powerful quality of making one feel completely and utterly at ease with his surroundings, his peers, and most importantly, his inner beliefs.”

Does Matthew keep in touch with other campers throughout the year?
“As a matter of fact, I regularly keep in touch with my closer friends via email and online sources. They inform me on a constant basis about their current activities and circumstances, and it has happened more than once that we have asked each other for aid on issues that cannot be resolved by only a single perspective. It is an honor to know and communicate with these individuals, and I consider them to be important in my development.”

What does he do in his free time, and where does he see himself in the future?
“Being in the cultural fusion that is Indonesia, I am exposed to a wide variety of people, perspectives, and religions on a daily basis, even within my own household. The most enjoyable pastime is observing how all of these fundamentally different groups cooperate and interact in a common environment, even though many share dividing opinions and views.”

He also enjoys reading and writing, “mainly due to the unbounded creativity that they grant me in shaping myself as an individual. I greatly appreciate the intellectual diversity I gain from books and that I can create with writing. I believe that the greatest gift that is bestowed upon the world is the written word, and the knowledge that stems thereof.”

Like many gifted children, Matthew draws connections between different intellectual and spiritual subjects to make more sense of the world and wants to contribute positively to the world around him. “From a young age, I have expressed an intuitive knowing in the existence of an unseen organizational structure above the chaos of reality, and with it, a pressing need to aid humanity in grasping the concept of realms far beyond their understanding. Over time, this ambition progressed to an interest in the fields of theoretical physics and the philosophy of consciousness, namely Ontology. For as long as this aspiration has stood, I have dedicated my life to the unification of science and spirituality, the empirical and abstract. My purpose, I believe, is to aid humankind in reading what Einstein once termed as ‘The Mind of God.’”

Do you or your children want to share your experiences of being gifted? Please leave us a comment below or email us at IEAgifted@educationaladvancement.org!

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Yunasa 2012!

By Jen Mounday

IEA’s pioneering Yunasa and Yunasa West summer camps unite highly able youngsters and experts in the social and emotional development of gifted children. Campers explore and grow the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, and physical aspects of their lives.

Yunasa 2012 Campers

2012 saw another memorable year of Yunasa in Flint, Michigan. Campers arrived on Sunday, July 22, at Camp Copneconic with great anticipation for the week to come and left mid-morning on July 29 elated from a week of flourishing at camp. Yunasa is more than your average summer camp—it’s a week-long exploration of one’s intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, and physical self. The week was a success on all levels, as campers took away valuable life lessons, deeper bonds with peers, and unforgettable memories.

A high ropes course, offered as one of the many camper options, tested campers’ physical and risk taking abilities.

A camper tests her limits on the high ropes course

A camper tests her balance on the high ropes course

Psychosynthesis sessions were led by our Fellows, experts in the growth and development of gifted youth, each morning. Campers practiced guided visualization and relaxation techniques. Many campers said that Psychosynthesis was their favorite part of the day.

Psychosynthesis

IEA Senior Fellow Patricia Gatto-Walden leads a small group of campers in a Psychosynthesis session

The Emerging Leaders (ELs) hosted a camp-wide talent show, including a comedy routine, musical performances, and a choreographed dance.

Talent Show

Campers perform at a talent show hosted by the ELs

One camp session was an ongoing Rube Goldberg project, where campers used various materials to construct a complex machine that, in the end, would perform a simple task. After much deliberation, campers opted to make a device that would put a hat on someone’s head.

Rube Goldberg machine

Campers work to construct a Rube Goldberg machine that will place a hat on someone’s head

The Counselors in Training (CITs) put on the annual Yunasa Olympics. Physically and mentally challenging, the events included in the Olympics vary from year to year. A game of Quidditch was the highlight this year!

Quidditch match

Campers play a game of Quidditch during the Yunasa Olympics

Bubble making stations were set up outside the conference center and available throughout the entire week. Campers enjoyed the option during down-time in the midst of an eventful camp schedule.

A camper makes bubbles in between camp sessions

A camper makes large bubbles in between camp sessions

During the week, campers become a part of the Yunasa family. Many campers describe Yunasa as a time of true friendship and togetherness.

Campers walk through Yunasa summer camp for the gifted

Campers walk from activity to activity arm in arm, showcasing the feeling of a Yunasa family

Throughout the week, campers were encouraged by staff and their peers. Many campers felt “at home” and inspired to be their authentic selves. There were multiple unique opportunities for personal growth. With physical activities such as horseback riding, water sports, zip lining, and ropes courses, campers were challenged to develop confidence in their athletic abilities. With the support of the Fellows and IEA staff, they also grew emotionally with one another and in self-awareness. Campers called on their spiritual abilities to connect with the world around them through activities such as Spirit Journey and Call in the Directions. Intellectually, campers enjoyed sharing with one another in an environment of acceptance and mutual understanding. Our hope is for these campers to return home with cherished Yunasa memories to share and hold onto until we meet again next year.

Campers hanging out

Thank you to Nicholas Farrell for taking these photos at camp!

For more photos from Yunasa, click on the button below. Also, be sure to check out the article about Yunasa in The Flint Journal!

What was your child’s favorite part of Yunasa this year? Please share with us in the comment section below.

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Yunasa West 2012!

IEA’s pioneering Yunasa and Yunasa West summer camps unite highly able youngsters and experts in the social and emotional development of gifted children. Campers explore and grow the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, and physical aspects of their lives. 2012 was the inaugural year for Yunasa West, which took place June 10-17 in Sedalia, Colorado.

Yunasa West campers

There was a lot of excitement and some uncertainty going into Yunasa West – how would our beloved Yunasa camp work in the Rocky Mountains instead of on the shore of a Midwestern lake? Would the altitude prove challenging for our campers? Though there were a number of questions going into Yunasa West, coming out of it there is only affirmation.

The week was a rousing success. Our campers were challenged intellectually and supported emotionally. They engaged in social, creative, and fun activities throughout each day and had formed a true “Yunasa family” by the end of the week.

Low Ropes Course

Low ropes worked as a team building exercise where campers had to communicate and lead each other across the ropes to reach a final destination.

Druidawn

Druidawn, a creative writing and role playing summer camp, captivated all the campers with the task of creating mythological worlds and the characters that reside there. Campers enjoyed the challenge of coming up with original settings and creatures!

Zombie Princesses

On Friday, the girls initiated a zombie princess party that was a huge success!

Gaga Ball

“Gaga ball” was a huge hit for campers. A few of them played every day of camp.

Labyrinth

During one of Dan’s workshops, campers were taught to make a labyrinth with rocks they collected from around camp. By the end of the week, the labyrinth was complete—a 30 by 30 foot wonder in which campers, Fellows, staff, and visitors could walk through meditatively.

Calling in the Directions

Each day of camp began with a “Call in the Directions.” On the final day of camp, we did this at the labyrinth and set an intention for the campers as they parted ways. It was a special time of reflection.

Terry Bradley came up to camp for a day to have students make a craft that represented the stressors in their lives and what strategies they use to deal with the stress. Terry also offered a chat in which she told about her life. She was greatly received and appreciated by the campers.

Campers thoroughly enjoyed singing silly campfire songs. Open mic night was another time of laughs, applause and appreciation for one another. One of the campers told an original mystery story that gave everyone goose bumps.

Our gratitude ceremony, part of our closing activities, was almost 45 minutes of the campers spontaneously sharing their memories of joy and fun and gratitude over the week. It felt like a culmination of the week – everyone celebrating their memories and experiences together, with many, many campers pledging to return for future years. It was a pleasure and an honor to see a community develop among these unique, thoughtful, shining-eyed campers as the week unfolded!

Although 2012 marks the first year of Yunasa West, the camp still captured and relied on the deep-rooted traditions and values of the Yunasa family. Campers were encouraged by staff, counselors, and Fellows to explore the five aspects of Self: body, mind, spirit, heart, and social self.

Many of the campers immediately felt comfortable with each other and were even surprised by the level of comfort they experienced with one another. It was an absolute joy to watch these kids as they made new friends, participated in camp activities and games, connected with the Fellows, and shared honest conversation with each other.

The level of intelligence, maturity, and emotional depth among the campers was inspiring. Our hope is for these campers to return home feeling encouraged, accepted, alive to themselves and the possibilities, and maybe a little exhausted from all the fun!

Also, be sure to check out the photos from camp!

What were your kids’ favorite parts of Yunasa West? Please share with us in the comment section below!

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