Yunasa Quotes

“The campers are very close and tightly knit. Everyone is encouraged to push their limits and helped by everyone else. Even after only one week, we can't bear to leave.” – Yunasa counselor-in-training
“The most valuable thing I gained [from Yunasa] was the social support, the knowledge that I don't have to conform and I can be myself.” – Yunasa camper
“Yunasa always seems like less of a camp and more of a family reunion, everybody knows and loves everybody else.” – Yunasa camper
“Being a counselor-in-training was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Yunasa is where I found myself.” – Yunasa camper
“We love Yunasa and think it serves a tremendous need for gifted kids, essential for us.” – Yunasa parent
“Our experience with Yunasa has been very different with each child, but when I have asked them to compare it to other opportunities such as a gifted conference or a family gathering of gifted kids, they express that there is an underlying feeling of togetherness—parts of a whole. In our world of labels and categories that tear us down and that these kids exist in, Yunasa is one place to feel built back up, complete, and part of the whole.“ – Yunasa parent


Recipient of the 2013 National Association for Gifted Children Global Awareness Network's Annemarie Roeper Award!



IEA’s pioneering Yunasa summer camps unite students with experts in the social and emotional development of highly able youngsters. In a nurturing setting, campers explore and grow the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, and physical aspects of their lives. Yunasa provides a fun-filled summer camp geared toward the uniqueness of gifted children while having all the fun and enjoyment of a traditional summer sleep away camp.

Yunasa, the Lakota word for ‘balance,’ is a week-long summer camp for highly gifted youth between the ages of 10 and 14. Qualified applicants are highly gifted and inquisitive individuals who aspire to develop their personal confidence, build community, and learn new things through exploration and discovery. Campers participate in activities designed to expand their horizons, and provide them opportunities for support and growth.

Yunasa’s mission is to offer bright campers an opportunity to:

  • Escape their everyday busy schedules and just be kids!
  • Build community with like-minded peers.
  • Explore the natural world away from home without computers and video games.
  • Discover that they are more than just intellect – they also have a heart, spirit, body, and social self!
  • Work closely with IEA’s nationally renowned experts in gifted education who challenge campers to develop into their personal best.
  • Gain self-acceptance.
  • Make lifelong friends and have fun!

Yunasa also provides:

  • A student-to-staff ratio of less than four to one.
  • Individual attention, support, understanding, and care.
  • Techniques for making mind and body connections through yoga and guided imagery sessions.

Yunasa 2015

Dates: July 26 - August 2, 2015

Location: YMCA Camp Copneconic in Fenton, Michigan

Camp Copneconic provides the ideal setting for Yunasa. It is an all-inclusive camp, complete with swimming, canoeing, campfires, archery, ropes courses, arts and crafts, and much more. In addition to its wide variety of traditional camp activities, Camp Copneconic offers a peaceful lakeside setting that serves as the perfect backdrop for guided imagery sessions and small group workshops led by Yunasa's esteemed faculty.


In addition to the camp coordinators and camp counselors, Yunasa faculty includes IEA's Senior Fellows, all of whom are nationally recognized experts in the field of gifted education.

James R. Delisle, Ph.D.

Shelagh Gallagher, Ph.D.

Patricia Gatto-Walden, Ph.D. - Recipient of the 2014 National Association for Gifted Children Global Awareness Network's Annemarie Roeper Award

Elizabeth D. Jones, M.A.

Elizabeth Meckstroth, M.S.W., Emeritus

Michael M. Piechowski, Ph.D.

Stephanie Tolan, M.A.

Dan Tichenor, M.A.

Application Information


Campers can apply by downloading and submitting the camper application, which is composed of the following:

  • Applicant information
  • Essay-style questions
  • Academic history (includes GPA or progress report, standardized test scores, etc.)
  • Letters of support
  • Signatures

New Camper Application

Returning Camper Application

Please note that the applications are the same for both Yunasa and Yunasa West.

Program Cost

The tuition for 2015 is $1,575. Tuition includes housing, food, activity fees, and supplies.

There is a $50 non-refundable application fee that will be applied to the cost of tuition.

Enrollment packets will be mailed after campers are accepted to the program. Once enrolled, there is a $150 enrollment deposit that is non-refundable and is credited towards tuition.

Additional fees for unaccompanied minor and airport pickups may apply.

Attend both Yunasa and Yunasa West and receive a $150 discount off each camp!

Refer a friend to any 2015 IEA program and receive a $25 discount off the cost of your Yunasa tuition when he or she attends! (One referral discount per camper; referred student must identify you as the referrer.)

A limited number of scholarships are available. For more information, please email the Program Coordinator, and indicate "Yunasa Scholarship Inquiry" in the subject line.

Yunasa Leadership Program

At Yunasa, we also offer exciting opportunity for leadership from within the Yunasa community. For campers who have attended Yunasa for at least one year as a regular camper, and who have attended Yunasa the year prior to “aging out,” a leadership track is available. Overseen by dedicated leadership counselors, leadership campers have the opportunity to grow in responsibility and in peer leadership within the Yunasa community. Because the spaces in the leadership program are limited, it is a competitive program where many factors are considered and where acceptance is a privilege and an honor.  

Parent Participation

Participation in Yunasa also includes an opportunity for parents to gather with Yunasa faculty members to discuss the unique challenges of raising a gifted child and to develop the skills necessary to meet his or her needs, usually at the beginning or end of the camp week.

We are always looking for parent volunteers on the first and last day of camp. If you are a local parent, or are traveling with your camper to Yunasa and are available to help, please email the Program Coordinator, and indicate "Parent Volunteer" in the subject line. Please note, we do not currently accept parent volunteers during the week at camp. There are many other ways to be involved, however, and we would love your help! If you are interested in volunteering in any capacity outside of camp, please contact us. Thank you!

2 Camp Locations!

Along with Yunasa in Michigan, IEA also offers Yunasa West in Colorado! It is ideal for new campers ages 10-15 who would like to experience Yunasa for the first time, for people who cannot make the trip to the Midwest, and for Yunasa campers who just can't get enough. Yunasa West offers the same Yunasa Spirit but with a distinctive Western Flair! 

Click here to be directed to our Yunasa West page to find out more!

If you would like to receive a Yunasa West brochure and camper application by mail, please email the Program Coordinator.

Campers who attend both camps will save $150 on tuition at each camp!

If you plan on applying to both camps, there is no need to fill out two applications. Simply check the box at the top of either application to let us know it is for both camps. 

But which camp is right for me?

Yunasa, for ages 10-14, offers...

Dorm-style living

A broad range of traditional summer camp activities

A large lake and a wide variety of water sports

A lush Michigan setting


Yunasa West, for ages 10-15, offers...

A more rugged, camp-style feel

Mountainous and "outdoorsy" camp activities

A greater ecological emphasis

A beautiful Rocky Mountain setting, at a high elevation

Any further questions about Yunasa or Yunasa West?

Please email the Program Coordinator at