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Dear Boundless Families:
One parent emailed me after she dropped her lad off and said “the kids this morning looked like they were being sent off to prison”.
This was my first of many delights today.
Before that, though, please know all arrived safely and the game is afoot in this 600 acre cell room, lined with 23 degree crystal waters, a sky so blue it would evoke a tear if you’d let it, and a group of teens that have all breathed a sigh of relief that the prison guards are stumbling over themselves to be kind.
The joys of the day began when a beaming mom from last session and her two kids dropped by to “look around and get directions”. The male staff scrambled to put on their shirts and our Principal Tony was frantic to find his loafers. I work with consummate professionals.
I rationalize all this by telling myself the teachers are chilled out and their informality bonds them to your kids. And as I write, I realize I am being bloody serious, for your kids warmed up alongside the afternoon sunshine.
Around 3:pm, I saunter within 20 metres of an enraptured Philosophy group, huddled together behind a barn, and I overhear the phrase from Tony, their teacher,
“That’s like saying your’e a little bit pregnant.”
Tony stole that line from me. Not caring that I may just possibly have taken things out of context, I yell over with conviction,
“Hey Tones, I made up that line your shoeless scoundrel.”
He quickly retorts, ” Ya guys, meet the old man who just claimed he invented logic”.
The Philosophy kids may also be no match for Tony, but ya never know. Tony decided to do the toughest lessons right on the first day. The History of Philosophy followed by An Intro to Logic”.
He loosened them up with a “Ministry of Funny Walks” exercise (YOU TUBE this Monty Python silliness to get the picture).
Tony has a keen sense of student capacities, and his gamble paid off for these 15 young Platos, who drank their medicine eagerly and started what will surely be a series of debates for the ages.
All this banter and casual rapport is to say that you, the parents, are paying us money to corrupt the minds of your kids. Just like Socrates (see Plato’s APOLOGY – great read). The kids are responding, and 15 of 15 have bought in and ready for more.
My biggest delight was when one student on his second session this summer warmed my heart when he said,
“It’s just so nice when the teachers hang out with us”
As to the 20 student English cohort – what a mix of dudes, jocks, nerds, artists, dark brooders, fidgeters and what appears to be, according to Graham (their leader), a cohort not abashed to engage in academic fisticuffs. Nothing is taken at face value with this crew so far, which suggests that discussions shall be lively, inventive and LOUD. I am told 18 of 20 have hit their emotional stride, and the other two are on their way.
The older outdoor group left about 2:00pm, and I haven’t seen them since. Comprised of nine males and three females, the latter of whom are by now probably dominating group process – such is the way with teen dynamics for the girls often rule the roost. They spent their day learning to swim in the rapids and are probably consuming burgers from the barby in some paradisiacal location watching the sun slowly set.
The younger outdoor crew, 12 males, started the day the most subdued of the four cohorts. The rapids loosened them up quickly, and they have been in a state of constant motion ever since.
It’s been a lovely day one.
I’ll write a few more updates throughout the session as the adventures unfold. Parents, no news is good news. I promise to contact you should we encounter any hiccups. Scout’s Honour. Here’s to hoping you all enjoy your brief respite from your younglings.
Warm regards,
Steven Gottlieb
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