Comments after 2020 Virtual Summer:
My math-loving son came out of one session very excited and said, “Mom! No one thought I was weird for loving math!”
We had a great time. It was nice to connect with people in this different way. In person would have been better but given the constraints this was awesome.
Our children insisted before we left that they did not want to go anywhere else for vacation next summer.
— 1st Time Attendee
I can make complete friends with any one person. Outside of PGR I have to create a complete friend by combining different parts of many others.
Over the years we find again and again that the magic of PGR is about connecting people.
Yet, our kids are not of a single kind or of a single definition.... so the "right" connections are hard to define and hard to predict. Our kids and families are about as complex as they come, and no one set of criteria, nor any particular focus can establish the comprehensive "fit.".
This is not just aspirational - it means we have to explicitly and intentionally trust to the process and not try and facilitate or arrange it too much. PGR began with an informal group of families that discovered the magic in mutual support and trust among peers. It's good that way.— Past Board Member & Dad of 7 Retreats
My family has attended the PG Retreats since 2002. For us, it is never whether we can go, but when we will go to the next PG Retreat.
For a poor graduate student family, it says a lot about what this retreat means to us. Of all possible opportunities, this is always our first choice.
Parents here not only provide a strong supporting network, but a wealth of knowledge and concrete, practical advice. It’s not necessary to preface your stories with a lot of explanations.
It is always surprising to me, since we have been prepped to explain ourselves, and our children, to the world. It is very nurturing and uplifting to not have to do that.
I have seen happy and well-adjusted teenagers at these retreats that help me in looking ahead. I feel that I have their parents to turn to guide me for the journey ahead. We would like to see this beautiful "family reunion" continue.
— PGR Parent
I love to go to PG retreat.
Going there is so neat.
The people there are so kind,
Plus you can work out your mind.
There's capture the flag and activities too.
So much to learn, so much to do.
They take care of everyone's needs
and everyone there does good deeds.
There are lots of bighorn sheep
and after the day I hate to sleep
because PGR is so much fun
though it's hot under the sun.
There's tons of games that you can play;
You can play for an hour or maybe all day. There's something here for everyone
and this poem is nearly done.
I love to go to PG retreat,
going there is such a treat.
— PGR Kid
I was a new PGR member just over a year ago and we went to our first retreat last summer. To my DD14 and my DS12, returning to PGR this summer is not optional. They loved the energy and the like-mindedness, as well as all the fabulous programming. (Thank you, planning team!) It was so reaffirming and helped us, as parents, to understand that our day-to-day "abnormal" challenges are PGNormal (as opposed to paranormal as in beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding...). We were amazed at how many journeys to "find answers" and "figure it out" were similar to ours - not what we were used to. There were a few politics but they were handled through deep dialogue... The other thing we were so pleased about is that, as adults and parents, we experienced absolutely NO comparisons of IQs and no "one upmanship" - just fellowship and support in the journey, laughter, and friendship. So, I just want to say that if you are sitting on the fence about going to a retreat and it is within your means to do so, get off the fence and come join us.
PG Retreat is the one time of the year that we can get together with others who have the same problems and concerns about their gifted kids as my husband and I have. We can talk with professionals who have ideas and answers for many of the problems we face daily. We can finally meet IRL (in real life) with other families just like us! And we find ourselves staying up late and rising early, to get in the maximum number of those precious limited hours with others attending the conference, that precious time of community.
Although there are a few other gifted conferences available nationally, PG Retreat is unique in its support and attention to the whole family, not just parents, kids, or one aspect of the gifted individual, such as social-emotional support. PG Retreat is the conference for exceptionally and profoundly gifted families. And for us, it's an indescribable pleasure, support, and encouragement!— Carolyn K. Webmaster, Hoagies Gifted Education Page
Bringing my children to PG Retreat has been a tremendous experience for them. Social opportunities in which profoundly gifted children can feel completely at home are rare. I saw my extroverted elder son able to fit in easily without having to pretend he was a "regular guy." Even more amazing was watching my shy, introverted younger son form an instant friendship. The friendships they formed at PG Retreat have continued for years.
There is an annual conference for families of profoundly gifted children on the East Coast and we have attended and enjoyed it, but it is pretty didactic and frankly not well organized. We prefer PG Retreat because it’s better organized while at the same time being far more informal. It’s possible to keep families in close contact rather than sequestering them in classrooms. Add to this the advantage of being accessible to families in the western states. We hope to continue to attend the conference annually and we plan to continue to volunteer for it whenever possible.
We signed up for PG Retreat with more than a little trepidation. Our quiet 2e son does not typically "show" his giftedness, at least not on the level of the textbook PG brainiac, and despite reassurance from Linda Silverman and others that he indeed qualified, we couldn't help but wonder how (or whether) our family would fit in.
Would everyone there be sharing glowing stories of their kids going off to Harvard by age 6? Would the emphasis be solely on brainpower? Would our intensely introverted child hide in the hotel room 24/7?
As it turned out, our fears were unfounded. The group was so warm and welcoming, the vibe so relaxed and accepting, that by the opening day we knew this event would be one we'd attend for many years to come!
I've been to a lot of retreats, personal and professional, but none have exuded heartfelt sincerity like this one. The lovely folks that put it together worked so hard and gave so much of themselves to make the event special. Most importantly, they were very much in tune with the social/emotional challenges that many PG kids (and their families) face. And that made all the difference.
Thank you so much for organizing PG Retreat again. It is a wonderful experience and has made a tremendous difference in my son’s and my life.
The most valuable part of PG Retreat for us is the opportunity to connect with other people who understand us and our special needs, both educational and social. Because of these and similar gatherings, I have been able to learn more about how best to meet his needs. As a result, he has taken the opportunities to skip a grade; homeschool; learn about and attend summer camps we would not otherwise been aware of; attend college part time beginning at age 11; and make friends. Plus, it’s been great for my social development and friendships as well!
Often, after a gathering such as these, parents will say things like "my child is happier and more comfortable with himself just because he now realizes he is not totally alone, totally different." This has not been our experience because we have been fortunate enough to have been involved with this community from the beginning. The family who introduced us to this community was in the group which led to the creation of the PG Retreat in the first place.
In the months since PG Retreat, we realize we have changed. We took our new awareness home with us, and I have since specifically sought out, and found, relationships with other homeschooling families with extremely gifted kids.
I don't know how I would have made it without PG Retreat.
We appreciated the community and the beautiful surroundings, and we hope to attend again at some time in the future. The experience was especially valuable for my then-8-year-old, who truly hopes to return. We wish you all a wonderful retreat this summer and hope to join you again in the future.
Both times I've attended PG Retreat, I found new friends, fun, and classes that I could only love.
How could I not love the GPS class, for instance, or creative writing?! My most wonderful friends come from PG Retreat.
The time at PGR is too short. I look forward to it each year.
From the moment we first stepped foot onto the grounds and walked down the hill with another new attendee we knew there was something magical here.
— PGR Adult
We ended up at PG retreat in desperation. Our oldest child was having difficulty interacting with her peers in any meaningful manner, and her brother was suffering severe anxiety and insomnia. Both of them complained that they had no friends like them (outside of the house) and that they were tired of being weird and different and not fitting in with anyone. We were hoping to find a peer group for them and what we got was so much more.
We left with a better understanding of them and their needs, a realization of their potential, and adult friends for us as well. In the few months since, we have been much better equipped to help them navigate their social interactions, as well as more aware of the educational options available to us. Our time at PG Retreat was invaluable to their self-esteem, has given them friends to talk to via email and in person, and we feel that we are better able to address “the whole child” in each of our children.
I have never met a group more accepting of these kids and their unique abilities.
PGR is a wonderful opportunity to kick back and live "unedited" for a few days with other people who understand already.
Our journey, looking for a community of profoundly gifted children and their parents, started when our son B. had just turned 3. I was driving him to preschool one morning, when out of the blue, he commented, "I wish there were kids at school who I could talk about big ideas with."
Even at that tender age, our son recognized that he did not have intellectual peers at his school. Around that same time, he asked for "a teacher to help [him] learn to talk better so adults understand me." His preschool class was talking about planets, and he had volunteered that planetary orbits are elliptical, and wanted to know why. His teacher didn't understand his question because she didn't expect a child of that age to use such advanced language.
As a mother, I was at a loss. These were not common experiences for which other moms in our neighborhood could offer suggestions. With lots of research, I eventually found the Gifted Development Center (GDC), which led to testing, the discovery that our son was profoundly gifted (PG), and that he wouldn’t “be fully served even by schools for the gifted." Fortunately, the GDC had facilitated a group for parents of PG kids. When B. was 5, we attended our first PG Retreat, and watched our reserved, depressed son blossom and enjoy running around with other kids, with whom he immediately bonded. He made a lifelong friend that summer. Every year our families coordinate to make sure we meet up at PG Retreat since we live in different states.
Our son wasn't the only one who found a home at the retreat, if only for a few days each year. My husband and I found a group of adults with whom we can be ourselves, and with whom we can openly discuss our children's accomplishments and challenges. We can get useful, practical advice and not encounter odd looks and the expectation that a smart kid couldn't possibly have problems in school.
This group understands that for our son, the average school day feels as it would for an average child who was forced to attend a school for the developmentally disabled.
Are you ready to join us? Visit the Application Page.
My daughter was identified as profoundly gifted at age 5. That was when we began to understand, in a quantitative way, the hows and whys of her differences from other children her age. The professionals called it asynchronous development – when the different areas of a child’s developing self are at different levels.
We began to understand what it was going to mean to have a child who was, intellectually, exceptionally precocious, but who was nearer her chronological age socially and emotionally, and who was a year or two behind physically. So at age 8, for example, when my daughter was reading as well as a high school senior, and she had already figured out multiplication years earlier on her own, she was the soccer team social conscience, but she still skipped across the field after the ball because she liked skipping better than running. This kid did NOT fit in well with her age peers – she was years ahead of them academically, yet they didn’t get her humor because she used words they didn’t know. The moms loved her because she was the one who comforted the hurt teammate, but she drove her teammates crazy because she wasn’t as skilled physically as they were.
Accommodating profoundly gifted kids is very difficult both at school and in real life. Just because she could read at a very advanced level didn’t mean that she was interested in, or ready for, adult topics. But it did mean that material written for her chronological age did not hold her attention. Just because she was capable of doing algebra at age 11, instead of the more normal 14 or 15, didn’t mean she had the time management and organizational skills to take such a class at the high school. But in a math class aimed for her nominal age she’d have been bored silly and refused to waste her time on work that she’s known how to do for 4 years. So school continues to be a perennial balancing act, every year, over and over, in every subject. It wears you down.
The same thing happens socially. There are no best friends who accept her or get who she is across the board. There are friends who can handle a little piece of who my daughter is – but they still don’t get her jokes because her humor is more advanced than theirs, and they still don’t get why she cares about certain things that still mean nothing to them.
The identification as “profoundly gifted” explained a lot about why she always preferred the company of older kids, but didn’t fit in completely with them either. It explained why, for the last 7 years, she has not found a single same-age peer in our home town – the kids who are her own age are largely interested in things that she is done with already, and the older kids that she feels more comfortable with are often socially much more advanced than she is.
My daughter is 13, and in the social realm, it hasn’t gotten any better since she was 5, except at PG Retreat, where she can spend a few short days with kids who are her peers, and where she makes friendships that sustain her all year long until she can see those kids again. PG Retreat has existed for 5 or 6 years now, and it is the one summer activity that my daughter absolutely demands be kept on our summer calendar. While we are there she is on such a high she can hardly sleep, being around so many kids that she can relate easily to, who accept her for who and what she is. The disappointment when the event is over and we all go our separate ways is palpable, the agony of separating from (finally!) real friends is heartbreaking.
Thankfully, over the last few years, email and cell phones with unlimited minutes have become more prevalent. As my daughter has gotten older and has learned to take advantage of these technologies, she has been able to stay in contact with these friends from PG Retreat. The technologies are a blessing, because without them, she would feel so alone. I truly believe that being able to make real friends at PG Retreat is one of the things that have saved my daughter’s sense of self.
I benefit from attending PG Retreat in incredible ways too. Just being able to commiserate with other parents who understand what life is like with your child is beneficial. No one else understands. When you are bemoaning the difficulty of finding an algebra teacher for your 11 year old, who will recognize that the extreme intellectual capability coexists with more age-appropriate time management and organizational skills? Most parents just think you are bragging about your child’s intellectual precocity. Most other people in your life just think you are the stereotypical "pushy parent," when in reality you are just trying to get for your children what they need, so they can develop into whole, happy, challenged and fulfilled people.
So you learn over the years not to talk about your kid with other parents, and you don’t receive the validation as a parent doing the best you can, from anyone. Nor do you get to tap into other parents’ experience and advice. So meeting and talking with parents at PG Retreat who have "been there, done that" is incredibly useful and validating to me as my daughter's mother. And I use the same technologies that my daughter uses, to stay in touch with my friends from PG Retreat. Having my electronic community to talk to and ask advice from during the year is almost as good as having them close enough to meet for coffee and conversation.
On top of that, there are presentations given at PG Retreat by professionals in the field who talk about issues important to all parents of profoundly gifted kids. They talk about the differences between these kids and others, and what that means qualitatively to their experience of life. They talk about how to deal with the developmental issues particular only to these kids. They recognize that these kids can be very difficult to raise into whole and happy people who are able to deal with life's challenges. They accept questions or descriptions of experiences non-judgmentally. They offer practical advice. Or they just listen. They don’t think you are crazy or pushy or unrealistic. Such validation and support comes only once a year, at PG Retreat.
I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Just like my daughter.
I attended the PG retreat for the first time last year, along with my 11-year-old son. My son is very bright but has several motor and organizational problems. He had been complaining of being bored in the classroom. Once we realized that he was profoundly gifted, it became imperative that we begin to do something about his education… but the local school district was not that interested.
Coming to the PG retreat put me in touch with a large number of parents who have similar kids. Meeting those parents was a revelation for me, as it put me in touch with a number of options for my child’s education… such as homeschooling, taking courses at community colleges, using the nearby university as a resource, and private tutoring. Talking with other parents about these options also made it clear that these options, especially homeschooling, were not as difficult to pursue as I thought. Further, other parents’ experiences with different educational materials and web-based educational modules were invaluable to me. It was nice to be able to learn the pros and cons of different approaches and how well they worked with kids who have a variety of issues accompanying their high IQs.