What is Mensa Gifted Youth?
Mensa Gifted Youth programs and activities vary from country to country, but their overall aim is to provide occasions for gifted children and young people to get together, make friends and learn new things. From algebra to abseiling, painting to puzzle-solving, robotics to running, and barbecues to biology, participants have a wealth of opportunities to challenge themselves, get creative and, well, just have fun!
What other purposes do Gifted Youth programs serve?
Gifted youth programs also provide children and young people with the extra support they often need to develop their individual capabilities – additional assistance that all students worldwide should receive. Indeed, whether children and young people have learning difficulties, average intelligence, or an IQ in the top 2% of the population, they will all benefit from the appropriate kind of help along the way in order for them to reach their full potential.
Of course, gifted children from underprivileged backgrounds face further challenges in order to fully develop their abilities, and Mensa India, through its Project Dhruv initiative, is setting an inspiring example for other countries to follow.
What kind of Gifted Youth programs and events are there around the world?
Mensa Gifted Youth programs around the world include day trips, weekend excursions, summer camps, and a range of other events throughout the year; there are even Mensa Family Camps at which younger children can be accompanied by their parents and siblings. Mensa Germany, which organises a wide variety of fun and challenging activities for children and young people, is planning to hold a European Mensa Juniors Camp in the summer of 2022, and an action-packed event schedule is already taking shape.
The Mensa Grammar School in Prague focuses on educating gifted children using individual approaches that contain a variety of modern methods. Mensa Czechia organises conferences and seminars for teachers and school principals, often in conjunction with the Ministry of Education. These feature both theoretical and practical lectures on gifted-related topics. The Logical Olympiad, held yearly in the Czech Republic, is an extremely popular event that attracts tens of thousands of young participants from several thousand schools.
Mensa Greece offers weekly programs for 5 to 17-year-old members to help them meet their socio-emotional needs and develop their higher-order thinking skills. These programs include gifted & mindset education, science projects, robotics, and coding. In addition, Mensa Greece focuses on how 5 to 8-year-old gifted children learn, and uses a strengths-based approach to support “twice-exceptional” gifted children, so called because they also have a learning disability, such as autism or ADHD.
In Serbia, the Nikola Tesla Centre (NTC) learning system has been created as a specialised program that acknowledges play as an intrinsic need of the child, and recognises the importance of play in the sensory-motor and cognitive development of children. The NTC program is also concerned with the practical implementation of new discoveries from the fields of neuroscience and pedagogy in classrooms and everyday life, with the aim of helping children to develop their creativity and functional knowledge.
American Mensa offers a multitude of programs and services that are specifically designed to meet the needs of its Young Mensans (YMs), and they even employ full-time specialist staff to support YMs and their families. Some of the most inspiring and popular American Mensa programs for children and young people, such as Excellence in Reading, Mensa for Kids, and the Scholarship Program are outreaches of the Mensa Foundation, which has spent the last 50 years supporting those who seek to improve the world through the unleashing of human intelligence in all its forms.
British Mensa, too, has a well-established gifted youth program that offers a variety of activities and events, including workshops, conferences, Facebook groups, get-togethers and a popular newsletter, the content of which is largely produced by the gifted children and young people themselves. British Mensa also has a nationally recognised gifted child consultant who provides expert advice to families regarding the social, academic, intellectual and emotional development of their high-ability child or children.
The importance of giftedness educators
Needless to say, these programs would not be possible without the dedicated efforts of teachers, mentors and other professionals who specialise in giftedness. For example, representatives of Mensa Sweden’s Gifted Children Program have given more than 500 lectures on giftedness to schools since 2012, the main aim of which is to help educators recognise gifted qualities in their students so they can act on these signs and help them develop their abilities.
Gifted Youth YouTube channel
This Mensa International Gifted Youth YouTube channel has just been created by our Gifted Youth Committee. Its aim is to provide a source of interesting topics to inspire and enlighten gifted learners and educators alike.
Links to Mensa Gifted Youth programs worldwide
The inspiring examples of the work being done globally to identify and nurture giftedness in children and young people are too numerous to mention here, but please feel free to click on the following links to read more about the various Mensa Gifted Youth programs happening around the world. N.B.: ** denotes non-English language information.
Mensa France **
Mensa Greece **
Mensa Norway **
Mensa Serbia **
Mensa Sweden **