Yunasa West

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



Yunasa camps have become a beloved and integral community for many gifted young people for over ten years. Yunasa is held at Camp Copneconic in Fenton, Michigan, and Yunasa West takes place in Sedalia, Colorado!

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; Yunasa West began serving campers between the ages of 10 and 15 in 2014. 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 West 2015

Dates: June 14-21, 2015

Location: YMCA Camp Shadybrook in Sedalia, Colorado

Surrounded by Pike National Forest and sitting on over 160 acres of wildlife, YMCA Camp Shady Brook is the perfect setting for Yunasa West! Camp Shady Brook offers traditional camp activities such as archery, arts and crafts, and outdoor games. Campers will also learn about outdoor survival skills, forest ecology, and ecosystems through discovery centers. The rugged forest environment is the perfect backdrop for guided imagery sessions and small group workshops led by Yunasa West'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 West 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.

Parent Participation

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

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 West 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!

But which camp is right for me? 

Quick Overview

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

Still Can't Decide?

Both of our Yunasa camps offer a unique mixture of traditional camp activities-- water sports, high and low ropes courses, nature hikes, trail rides, archery, arts and crafts-- and activities aimed at the social, emotional, and spiritual enrichment of gifted and highly gifted campers. These activities are run by our Yunasa Fellows, experts in the field of giftedness, and include guided meditation, book discussions, and mindfulness exercises. So which camp is right for your child? Here's a description of some of the differences!

Yunasa West is the more "rugged" and physically challenging of the two camps. Campers bring their own sleeping bags and stay in a large "bunkhouse" style cabin (with attached, gender-specific bathrooms separating the boys' and girls' sides). Camp Shady Brook, our partner camp for Yunasa West, is at an elevation of 6,800 feet in the beautiful Pike's Peak region of Colorado. Camp Shady Brook survived the Hayman Fire, the largest in Colorado state history, in 2002. Evidence of the fire remains on the surrounding hills. This provides a powerful backdrop to the greater ecological orientation of Yunasa West, as does the amazing way the landscape continues to regenerate itself! The camper options at Yunasa West include "discovery centers" led by Shady Brook counselors such as wilderness survival skills, fire conservation, and exploration of local wildlife. If your camper wants to experience the beauty of pine trees and mountains, wants a bit more rugged of a camp experience, and has an interest in the natural world and its conservation, check out Yunasa West!

Yunasa has been offered for the past few years at Camp Copneconic in Fenton, Michigan, and will be held there again this year. Our Camp Copneconic location has a traditional summer camp feel in a lush Michigan setting. It sits along a beautiful, peaceful lake, perfect for sailing, kayaking, and swimming. Copneconic offers air-conditioned, dorm-style living with bedding provided. The camp has Native American roots expressed in everything from the name of the camp itself to the totem poles where we hold our morning ceremonies. If your camper wants a verdant, lakeside setting and a traditional summer camp experience with some of the comforts of home, check out Camp Yunasa!

Join us for both camps and get $150 off each camp

Any further questions about Yunasa or Yunasa West?


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