by Lori Comallie-Caplan

Despite tight travel budgets, more than 400 people attended the SENG Summit from the United States and 8 other countries.

Why do SENG participants make this conference a priority, travelling hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles to attend? Because for 26 years, SENG has allowed people to reach out and find others who recognize, understand, and accept the unique social and emotional needs of this population we call gifted.

The conference climate provided beautiful weather by surrounding us with hundreds of individuals who are passionate about gifted children, gifted issues, and gifted services from around the country. Not only did Mission Possible renew my abilities to help me better serve our gifted population back in New Mexico, it recharged my personal batteries as well.

Attendees included teachers, professors, counselors, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, other helping professionals and parents.  I think the most profoundly touched were the parents who were not only welcomed and engaged by other parents on the same journey, but touched by the experiences their children and teens were having with other gifted children and teens.  One parent said, “He finally found his peeps!”  I saw more than one parent expressing great emotion that her highly gifted child finally made a friend.  The 48 sessions provided networking and learning opportunities for everyone from professional to parent.
Alex, a SENG teen participant, was glowing on Sunday, as he responded that the best part of the conference was meeting other teens.   He said, “It was a blast and I wish it was longer.  We are definitely coming back!”  Another teen participant, Connell, said, “It was really fun and it helped me further understand the differing feelings I have are normal.”

Although the children were all buzzing about their Disney Educational Experience, when I asked a couple about what they liked best in the conference they talked about the adults supervising the children’s program and how much better they understood them than the teachers back at their schools.

This year for the first time ever, the conference offered comprehensive SENG Model Parent Group Facilitator Training and advanced Trainer of Facilitator training.  26 participants representing 15 states and 3 countries outside of the United States became new SENG Model Parent Group Facilitators and 4 participants became new trainers.  During training, local Orlando parents participated in SENG Model Parent Group discussions.  Two sets of these parents expressed that it was a life changing experience for them.

The keynotes were amazing as Alexinia Baldwin humbled us, Susan Daniels energized us and Dale Stuart inspired us.  Alexinia explored the “critical” role of the teacher in the development of gifts and talents in our children through individual advocacy.  Susan shared how Overexcitabilities permeates a gifted person’s existence and gives energy to their intelligence, talents and personality.  Dale brought many an eye to tears and she shared her journey as a gifted person. She inspired us to follow our dreams. For a peek at how she followed her dreams seehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SMvmW2Bfio .

SENG was pleased to welcome FLAG members to The SENG Summit! FLAG members enjoyed all the programs of the SENG conference, plus their own special FLAG strand featuring Florida speakers and topics relevant to gifted education in Florida.

As a part of the conference events SENG would also like to make the following acknowledgements:

SENG Summit Awards
Special honors were bestowed on the following individuals whose efforts made tremendous contributions to the history of SENG:

The SENG Leadership Award recognizes outstanding leadership in promoting the social and emotional needs of the gifted.  With great respect, SENG presents the SENG Leadership Award to:
Arlene Devries, Iowa

The SENG Service Award recognizes exceptional volunteer service to SENG. The 2009 honorees are:
Dina Brulles, Arizona
Teri Lane, Utah

Special Thanks to our Outgoing Directors
SENG offers special thanks to these SENG Directors who are leaving the board this year:
Sheri Nowak Stewart
Elizabeth Shaunessy

Special Thanks to our Outgoing President
SENG offers Wenda Sheard special thanks for her time and service as Board President.

Special Welcome to our Incoming Directors
SENG offers a special welcome to these new SENG Directors:

SENG’s 2010 Board of Directors

Rosina Gallagher, President
Lori Comallie-Caplan, President Elect
Mary Lovell, Financial Officer
Tiombe Kendrick, Secretary
Joan Blackett
Carolyn Kottmeyer
Todd McIntyre
Heidi Molbak
Vidisha Patel
Steven I. Pfeiffer
Sheri Plybon
Lisa Rivero

I’m looking forward to seeing you again next year.  SENG will be participating in a conference collaboration with the New England State Affiliates. “Connections and New Directions” hosted by the Connecticut Association for the Gifted in partnership with SENG -Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted will be held October 21-23, 2010 at the Hartford Hilton Hotel in Hartford Connecticut.  Please save the date! – See you next year!

 

Lori Comallie-Caplan, SENG Secretary, is currently the Coordinator for Advanced Education Services (gifted services) for the Las Cruces Public Schools, Gifted Education Faculty at New Mexico State University and Independent Educational Consultant.  She is also a Frasier-Talent Assessment Profile Trainer for the State of New Mexico.  Over the last 25 years, Ms. Comallie-Caplan has gained public school experience in the field of gifted as teacher, counselor, educational diagnostician and program specialist.  She has also worked with gifted students in the area of music, vocal performance and theater arts in the private sector.  She has served on the Conference Planning Committee for the New Mexico Summer Institute for Gifted Education and been a featured presenter for the past four years. Ms. Comallie-Caplan earned a lifetime membership for her accomplishments as the 2005-2006 President for the New Mexico Association for the Gifted (NMAG) and she continues as the webmaster for NMAG (http://nmgifted.org ).  She frequently presents at SENG and NAGC annual conferences. She is married to Dr. Marc Caplan, a clinical psychologist in Las Cruces and between them have two gifted sons.

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