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.
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.
One exciting highlight at Yunasa West this year involved a workshop on energy healing, which dealt with ways to heal the body using pressure points. The campers engaged in a group discussion with our guests, Dr. Sheila Abichandani and Dr. Arin Balbinder, and then partnered up to put what they learned into action.
Each year, IEA Senior Fellows and Yunasa Fellows lead a variety of workshops on topics of high interest to campers, and this year was no exception.
Senior Fellow Stephanie Tolan taught eight participants Reiki, the ability to help or speed healing by putting one’s hands on the person who is sick or in pain. Campers met in two workshops at the beginning of the week to learn this ancient tool to help others, and the participants actually received certification for their training!
Dan Tichenor, Yunasa Fellow, led a workshop in Mindful Walking through the Labyrinth, which was built by Yunasa West campers in 2013 and resurrected this year. Nature Art was another popular workshop with Dan where campers made cairns, or stacks of rocks, as a protection and landmark for the labyrinth.
Campers experimented with sending and receiving messages nonverbally to other campers and nature using their energy in a popular “Reaching” workshop led by Senior Fellow Dr. Patricia Gatto-Walden.
Senior Fellow Michael Piechowski led an Intensities workshop where campers discussed intensities and overexcitabilities and how they manifest themselves in the life of a gifted person. Campers broke into psychosynthesis groups to talk about their own personal experiences; after the workshop, many campers said they felt more understood, accepted, and authentic.
And of course, campers took part in traditional summer camp activities such as trail rides, ropes courses, and campfires!
Overall, the week was a fun, successful exploration of campers’ unique personalities and a time of growth for our amazing community.
Click on the button below for more photos from camp!
Do you know of a gifted youngster who would be interested in Yunasa or Yunasa West next year? Sign up for our email list to get details on Yunasa 2015 camps as they become available!