Dear Boundless Families:
So much is happening so I’ll get right to it.
I can happily confirm your kids have retained their eyesight.
The whole eclipse, we strategized, should be rather understated. The outdoor cohorts would be on the river and the english crews’ noses would be in the books. But then I received the half dozen parent emails, and the naughty in me surfaced.
Not only would I facilitate an eclipse viewing, but my plan was to swoop in and interrupt english, hauling your younglings away from their laptops. Imagine a bald and limping alpha male bellowing, “there’s an eclipse, get your asses out here!”
We used three viewing strategies – the box on the head thingamajiggy (least good), the pinprick on cardboard technique (surprisingly awesome), and two welder helmets we stole from the construction workers on site – this last approach was literally out of this world.
When I justified this behaviour by asserting, “once in a lifetime, you may never get another chance”, one smart bugger of a student contradicted me and assured the group there would be another in 2024. I retorted, “hey bigshot, what do you know about”, and we’ve been pals ever since.
In fact, this locker room mockery is starting to be infectious across the 4 cohorts, and this is a truly good thing. When your kids lightheartedly tease each other, you know they are meshing into tribal/family mentality. There is laughter, jocularity and utter absurdity surfacing.
One boisterous and brawny male from the older outdoor cohort introduced himself to be as Donna, wearing a dress, and engaging in a raspy incomprehensible language known only to his mates. Those 12 kids are five girls and seven guys, with one of the gals being a graduate of grade 8, while everyone else is MUCH OLDER. The proof of this cohort’s solidarity can best be measured by how comfortable this young lass is feeling.
I ask her, as she is surrounded by 4 towering male students,
“What’s it like hanging out with these testosterone laden monsters?”
She beams, “I have 7 older brothers, and the girls are my older sisters”.
The fellas are tickled by her response, and would probably stand in front of a bullet for her. Her cohort has been flourishing since the first two hours. They head to the Dumoine River tomorrow for 5 nights.
The younger outdoor cohort – whom I’ll dub, “The Big Chill”, is proving to be fascinating. They are so quiet, so shy, so socially reticent. When I ask Tyler, their leader masquerading as a human motivational foghorn, how its all panning out, he bursts into a smile and assures me all is going famously.
They don’t talk much in a group format – they are not accustomed to group and self reflections, so we are employing a tried and true method of chipping away at it, instead of forcing the issue. Last night, they themselves identified this as an issue, especially during breakfast, and asked the staff to arrive the next morning with suggested topics.
Reminds me of a Monte Python scene in “the Meaning of Life” where shy daters could order dinner conversations on the menu.
This group is all about the river. They are digesting the experience with much glee. They are learning to trust each other. Instead of forcing cohesion, we’re going to let the Big Chill find themselves. I am wildly optimistic of their success. The staff and kids are starting to love each other. They can’t help it.
The older English crew were unwinding on the high ropes course for a portion of the afternoon to sweat out their writing ya yas. I accosted two of the girls with the barb, “So what the heck does screwing around on a ropes course have to do with learning English”.
They pause, roll their eyes, and with infinite patience bring me into a narrative that is already old news.
“This is english! We are learning how to give instructions”.
I burst out in hysterics, as if all of us are in some conspiracy that education could be so sublime. Surely we are breaking some rule. But we’re not. They are doing an elaborate murder mystery tonight.
When six of them were coaching two of their mates through a particularly difficult section of the course, they were yelling out, “Describe its taste. Its texture. Expand on the colour scheme”.
Yes they are mocking our efforts to teach them to write, and the smile on my face hasn’t left ever since.
And finally there is the rambunctious goofball younger english cohort, arguably the most enigmatic and energetic crew in the fleet (and maybe my favourite, truth be told). The teachers have struck an amazing balance of keeping the kids on task in their immense reading and writing assignments by peppering the burden with incredible recess. While most sane mortals run inside during a hurricane force tempest of a thunderstorm, this group snaps shut their laptops and runs outside to play mud volleyball. They took off camping this morning.
Hear this parents. Its the end of day four. So its officially time for you all to kick back knowing all is well. Without a trace of hyperbole, 62 of 62 kids have found their comfort zone.
We actually have sunshine today!
Two moms took offence to my scotch reference earlier, and insisted wine is the way to go.