gifted community

Gifted Community

by Qiao Li, Coordinator

Why is Community Important?

Community is the foundation of our social life. A healthy community provides support, encouragement, affirmation, and a sense of belonging to all members. Feeling loved and accepted also fosters good behavioral patterns, increase productivity, inspire creativity.

Although there are tremendous benefits in building and belonging in a community, the greatest social epidemic of our modern life is isolation. It is not always easy for everyone to find their “tribe”, especially if they are different from the majority; such is the case for gifted and high ability learners.

IMG_7685

Why is There a Need?

Gifted and high ability learners possess exceptional capability to reason and learn in one or more domains. They are critical thinkers, curious learners, innovators, and sensitive individuals.

There are estimated six to ten percent of students in the U.S. who are gifted and high ability learners, roughly three to five million students. Though this is by no means a small number, spread them out through the nation, they are still minority groups in most schools. It is much harder for gifted students to find their community.

Though gifted students possess high potential, they are not always top performers. Research shows that 25% of gifted people are underachievers, and they quit trying because nothing they do leads to any measurable success or satisfaction[1]. Lacking the support from a community can exacerbate these outcomes.

Adding social-economic divide to this challenge, the picture becomes more dire. One study shows the gaps between top performing socioeconomically disadvantaged students and their more affluent peers were significant[2]. In fact, high-achieving, low-income students are equally likely to attend college as low-scoring high-income students[3]. These students need a support group that can help them to unlock their potential.

Without a nurturing community, feeling alone, misunderstood, and unchallenged, many gifted and high ability learners get bored, frustrated, or develop bad study habits. Without a community, we are creating a persistent talent underclass.

gifted community

What is it Like to Have a Community?

Imagine witnessing the moment when someone talks about their passion with sparkles in their eyes, imagine the tears of joy when someone dares to try something new and take ownership of their potential that they didn’t even know existed.

Each summer, gifted teens from across the country, sometimes from outside the United States, gather to spend a week-long retreat at IEA’s Yunasa camps – Yunasa West in Colorado, and Yunasa in Michigan.

Campers from all backgrounds bring a variety of interests and talents, providing an opportunity for all to grow in a diverse environment.

Gifted Community

More than a traditional summer sleep-away camp, Yunasa provides a combination of camp activities and enriching workshops designed specifically to help gifted teens find balance as they develop greater awareness and a sense of adventure.

Prior to Yunasa, many campers are trained to focus on just a single aspect of self. At camp, through activities like giants’ ladder, aqua jump, yoga, nature walk, music improv, and many more, they learn to recognize and nurture other aspects of self, while learning the importance of leadership, teamwork, and trust.

Communities are critical for the functioning of a healthy society. For children who learn differently from the majority of their peer group, it is especially important to have a strong supporting network that can help them grow both professionally and personally.

What kind of community do you envision for gifted children and all children? Are there examples you would like to share?

Like this post? Sign up for our email newsletter to receive more stories, information, and resources about gifted youth straight to your inbox.

This post is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Blog Hop Community. Please click the image below to keep on hopping!

gifted community


References:

[1] adapted from The Gifted Kids Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook

[2] Plucker, J. A., J. Hardesty, and N. Burroughs. “Talent on the sidelines: Excellence gaps and America’s persistent talent underclass.” Storrs: University of Connecticut, Center for Education Policy Analysis. Retrieved from http://www. cepa. uconn. edu/research/mindthegap (2013).

[3] Martha J. Bailey and Susan M. Dynarski, “Inequality in Postsecondary Attainment,” 2011. In Greg Duncan and

Richard Murnane, eds., Whither Opportunity: Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children’s Life Chances, pp. 117-132. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Share: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone
8 Comments
  • Genealogy Jen
    Posted at 11:58h, 01 September Reply

    Thank you. That camp looks amazing. I especially love the photo of the kids in the circle with their arms around each other. That is community.

    • Nicole LaChance
      Posted at 13:46h, 01 September Reply

      Thanks for reading, Jen!

  • Paula Prober
    Posted at 19:17h, 03 September Reply

    I’ve heard great things about this program. I’m so glad it’s still thriving. I’m sure it’s made a huge difference it these kids’ lives.

    • Nicole LaChance
      Posted at 12:08h, 06 September Reply

      Thanks, Paula! It’s amazing to see the change in our campers after just a week.

  • Emily VR
    Posted at 13:34h, 12 September Reply

    Wonderful post, and thank you especially for discussing gifted underachievers.

  • J
    Posted at 11:10h, 14 September Reply

    Great post Qiao! This makes me think about my past, growing up gifted in a rural area.

  • Beth L
    Posted at 10:53h, 15 September Reply

    Thank you for this post. I’m helping with my high-school son’s monthly gifted meetings & activities. Do you mind if I refer to your blog & quote you? I hope to encourage the kids less willing to join to find some type of community at the high school.

    I fondly remember my teen years & the community found with other gifted youths.

    Thank you again.

Post A Comment

14 − one =