$5 – $17

Happy and Gifted Unconference 2017

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Westgate Community School

12500 Washington Street

Thornton, CO 80241

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The Happy and Gifted Unconference is a place where parents, educators, and researchers can come together and share experience and knowledge about meeting the emotional needs of young people who are recognized for exceptional gifts.

Everyone has gifts and there are obvious advantages to having those gifts recognized by parents, schools, and other institutions. However, there are emotional challenges that come with that recognition. A few examples:

  • Identity: Am I defined by my gifts? How do others define me? How do I define myself?
  • Social Integration: If I am exceptional, that means I'm an exception, different.
  • Entitlement: I've gotten special treatment and now I expect it from everyone.
  • Self-Criticism: If I don't succeed in everything then I'm a failure.
  • Low Self-Esteem: Advanced development in one part of my life makes the areas where I'm still growing seem stunted or broken.
  • Sensitivity: I have insight and comprehension beyond my ability to process the emotions that accompany that.

There are endless ways to be gifted, so it's impossible to make a comprehensive list. Still, we all have some experiences and discoveries that are useful to share.

We will be using Open Space Technology as the unconference format, in which topics and the schedule are created by the attendees. The goal it to create the ability for attendees to share their experience and knowledge in the way that makes the most sense, rather than a preset structure. It uses five principles:

  1. Whoever come are the right people.
  2. Whenever it starts is the right time.
  3. Wherever it is, is the right place.
  4. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened.
  5. When it's over, it's over.

And one law, which is the Law of Two Feet:

If at any time during our time together you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet, go someplace else.

More detailed information about the format will be provided to the attendees before the unconference and during the opening.


9:00-9:30 Introductions, breakfast

9:30-10:00 Setup board

10:00-10:45 Session 1

10:45-11:30 Session 2

11:30-12:00 Lunch

12:00-12:45 Session 3

12:45-1:30 Session 4

1:30-2:00 Recap and wrap up


How many years has this been running?

The unconference's first year was in 2015.

Who are the speakers at this conference?

As an unconference using Open Space Technology, we don't have predetermined speakers or presenters. Rather, this will be a series of discussions and although we will invite some experts we are calling "luminaries" to attend, we are expecting the expertise of all the attendees to be shared.

What topics will be covered?

The times and locations of specific topics will be decided by the attendees on the morning of the conference, but they will all center around the theme of meeting the emotional needs of young people who have been recognized for exceptional gifts.

Is this a real way to run a conference or are you just making this up?

Open Space Technology is a conference format that has been in use for thirty years. You can find information about it on Wikipedia and there is even a global organization dedicated to it, though its website is pretty ugly.

Is this unconference related to Unschooling?

While we welcome people who have an interest in both unschooling and our topic to attend, there is no specific preference for or focus on the Unschooling movement.

Can I share a ticket?

Yes, you can buy a ticket for one person to use in the morning and another to use after lunch for the afternoon sessions.

Will there be childcare?

Yes, we will have some childcare on site, with room for up to 30 kids between the ages of 3 and 12. Because of transaction fees, we ask you buy the "General Admission with Childcare" and then add additional childcare tickets as needed for more than one child.

Can students participate?

Participants should be 18 or older.

Is this only for the Westgate community?

Westgate Community School is providing the facilities and we hope to attract a lot of Westgate parents and staff, but this conference is open to anyone who has an interest in the topic. We are limiting attendees to about 70 people because of the space we have available.

Will there be another opportunity to attend something like this?

This has been an annual event for 3 years, and we expect it to continue.

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Westgate Community School

12500 Washington Street

Thornton, CO 80241

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