Annual Gathering 2020

What is Mensa?

Mensa is a social club and educational organization for people who have scored in the top 2% on a recognized and accepted standardized (IQ) test.

What does Mensa stand for?

Yes, it is possible to think of Mensa as a social organization with something of an intellectual auspice, or intoxicating aura, around it and where everybody learns something and goes away pleased. Actually, though, the term Mensa comes from the Latin words meaning mind, table, and month. Today it simply means a somewhat regular (monthly) meeting of minds around a table.

What is the American Mensa Annual Gathering?

Something of a tradition since 1963, this ‘residential’ sort of convention (or, national meeting) has evolved from a two-day meet-and-greet at the New York Belmont into an exciting and diverse sprawl of talks, games, and other forms of entertainment.

Historically, “members of Mensa seem(ed) to like having arrangements made for them and they do/did not want to be consulted over details. They like(d) to be told what someone is/was willing to organize then vote with their feet.” (Serebriakoff, Mensa, pg. 31)

Now, Annual Gatherings can be “well-organized, intellectual, social and gustatory feasts which leave many members, who are normally slightly starved of intellectually stimulating company, with a warm glow when they reluctantly and lovingly break up when the weekend is over.”  (Serebriakoff, Mensa, pg. 31)

Held in a different city each year, and typically spanning around the July 4th weekend, the Annual Gathering gives Mensa members an opportunity to meet new friends, catch up with longtime friends, eat, drink, and make merry, while enjoying speakers and presentations which we know have something important to say to ‘tweak’ our thinking.

Where is it?

The American Mensa Annual Gathering in 2020 will be in Kansas City, Missouri, and held at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center during the several days, July 1-5, around the first weekend in July.

What is the Mensa Foundation Colloquium?

Sponsored by the Mensa Education & Research Foundation, the Colloquium is a one-day educational symposium which provides a forum for Mensa members and the general public to explore, discuss, and evaluate a major issue of long-range importance to society.

News & Notes

September is another interesting month which has a lot to offer. Labor Day, the traditional end of summer, occurs during this seventh – or rather, the ninth – month. Pools and beaches typically close down then as the warmer air temperatures tend to cool off. In Mid-America Mensa, many events are still planned for occurring.

Everyone needs a friend, right? After all, belonging to a social club should have perks like a diversity among its general membership and a feeling of inclusion by individual members. If you think you need some of the fellowship that MAM offers, then check out the KC Area Singles (SIG) meet-and-greet hosted by Curt Krambeck. Get all of the details in the Mension and be sure to RSVP by visiting the Facebook event at MAM’s group page, Or, simply show up and look for the smart guy with the Mensa logo sign.

Incorporating changes based on member feedback, the Mensa Voucher Program (MVP) will return for a third year. The goal remains the same: to leverage the strength of our membership to recruit others to test or submit qualifying scores – for free! All members are encouraged to share the discount code with a prospective member who may use it to submit prior evidence or sit for a supervised test by this year’s end.

Also, Mid-America Mensa has had a February event named Cabin Fever in the recent past. It hasn’t happened every year but we are excited to have someone willing to lead the planning for a Cabin Fever RG (Regional Gathering) in 2020. We invite one and all member(s) to join us for the first planning meeting. Every Mensan is bound to have some great ideas for an exciting Cabin Fever RG. Get all of the details in the Mension, RSVP on the Facebook event page at, or simply show up and look for the conference room a little before 7:00 pm.

Finally, on Friday, September 13th at 8:00 pm we will be going to see Bright Star at the Olathe Civic Theatre (OCTA) located at 500 E. Loula Street, Olathe, KS. To RSVP please visit the Facebook event page at, or simply show up and look for the smart person with the Mensa logo sign. Get all of the details in the Mension. Editor’s note: This MAM event has been canceled due to a SOLD OUT show.

News & Notes

August is a month that still deserves at least some respect. Named for Augustus (the Revered), who was the adopted son of Julius Caesar and the first Roman Emperor, August marks the beginning of the next school year for some of you and it signals what is to come ahead during the ‘-bers’.

First, Mid-America Mensa has won the SAPPHIRE award again this year. Besides marking a high level of service to MAM’s members, this award shows that we are continuing to build MAM’s story, that we are sincerely working well together and we are having fun as a local group, and that we do truly like each other to a significant degree. So, congratulations to Mid-America Mensa for winning an American Mensa Jewel Award in recognition of MAM’s continuing service to our members!

Next, as some of you know, the Ad Astra Mensa group meets at the Blind Tiger Brewery and Restaurant in Topeka. Recently, they reported discussion of M-related subjects such as: communications with the dead, women’s soccer and pay equity, Great Courses, relative distribution on the intelligence curve of men and women, Yellow Jacket protests in France, pick-pocketing, astrology, Mercury Retrograde, travel, history of Mensa in Topeka, caring for elderly parents, difficulty in communications, computer technology, feminism, sexism, the Bible, David & Goliath, books, what we like about Topeka, personal lives, extraordinary experiences, solar eclipses, grandchildren, conflicts between career and family obligations, Paris, religion, and many other topics.

If you are a Mensan in Topeka, Lawrence, and vicinity, check out the Mension for information regarding a possible meeting in Lawrence, and please contact John with any ideas that you may have about programming so that Ad Astra Mensa could better serve Topeka, Lawrence, and vicinity.

Finally, there seems to be a growing push for more local Mensa family fun. So, join us Saturday, August 17th, from 1 to 3 pm at Kansas City Ice Center,, 19900 Johnson Drive, Shawnee Mission, KS 66218 for a skating event. Look for more details like admission and skate rental rates in the Mension, and please RSVP to indicate your intention of attendance on the Mid America Mensa Facebook group page (see the Event tab):

Q&A: Rob Swenson on Mr. Mensa

Q1/ What was the 2019 Mr. Mensa contest like? Can you describe it to us?

Rob/ The Mr. Mensa contest is a sort of beauty pageant with legs, talent, question, and date auction segments. We had 7 men competing this year, with several doing stand up comedy routines, two singing (including one song as a proposal of marriage), and a sword fighting martial arts demonstration. The judges are women from leadership positions within Mensa as well as a raffle ticket winner and a seat auction winner. This is a fundraiser for the Mensa Foundation, and it raised about $10,000 this year.

Q2/ Have you tried winning other awards and contests? How did you join up with Mensa?

Rob/ I have not done this sort of thing before, but decided to this time. I joined Mensa in 1992 with an admission test at the Plaza Library. [Edited for brevity.]

Last year at the AG in Indianapolis several friends encouraged me to compete this year as we watched the competition.

Q3/ How much of it was based on previous experiences (talent) and how much of it is just the luck of show business?

Rob/ I think the talent portion of the contest is fairly key. The winner this year danced to the song “Wrecking Ball” in a Magic Mike -type routine, which the crowd and judges all loved.

Q4/ What is the purpose of the Mr. Mensa contest?

Rob/ The purpose is to raise money for the Mensa Foundation, which gives scholarships.

Q5/ Was it fun? Do you plan to participate in Kansas City next year?

Rob/ Yes, it was both nerve wracking and fun. In addition, an M friend from Las Vegas organized a flash mob during the time between when the judges tallied their scores and the winner was announced. It started with my daughter dragging me onto the dance floor as a song came on, and the rest of the group joined us, culminating with me dipping my daughter at the end of the dance.

I will absolutely compete in 2020 in Kansas City, and have every intention of stepping up my talent game for my second try.