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Dear Boundless Families:

I just walked through an empty classroom at the Ranch. Its students are far away, battling bugs, bruises and bad weather.

The bunny and buttercup stage is long gone.

I feel for them. I was just up for a few days exactly where both groups will be shortly. I know first hand the whole region was hammered with storm cells – nothing insane, but enough to make the groups need to really stay tight to manage. It’s real. The river holds no quarter for self-indulgence, false confidence or a sense of entitlement.

Sometimes I swear I worry just like my mom did – my own Kafka-like metamorphosis into a grandmother. The phone has not rung. Is it too much for them to pick up a phone?

Just shoot me. Really.

I spied the following credo of the Seniors on the classroom wall. It was a group contract, signed in all manner of girly colours or manly versions of testosterone black.

Here are its terms:

1) Be confident in everything
2) Set Aside your bullshit
3) Succeed as comrades
4) Paddle Hard
5) Censured configuration of F words that are a reminder to have a good time, as it were

In the other classroom stood proudly the Junior’s mantra:


Rock – because our conviction is steadfast and true
Paper – because it covers the rock. we get each other’s backs
Scissors – we cut through bullshit

And there you have it. Will these lofty ideals be enough to weather the storms? Can the kids be selfless enough? Can they mature light years in a matter of days?

There have been challenges. Three girls in the older group were weighed down by their own demons. They couldn’t quite make it, opting to leave before the going got too tough. This is humbling. But it also gives the rest of the group pause to appreciate their own emerging inner strength.

And they are growing by leaps and bounds.

I’ll write again in a few days when all the ships are back to port.

Warm regards,