Dear Boundless Families:
In ancient Athens, any prominent public figure who would threaten the integrity of the city could be exiled for 10 years. A sublime concept if you think about it. Instead of liquidating your enemies, just get rid of them for a decade. While 13 days is not 10 years, isn’t this why half of you sent your kids to us? Just kidding. Well, maybe not really.
This alternative to execution is sublime, sure, unless the exile is initiated by your daughter. There is no end in sight for my alienation, but I have still been able to glean a few things about the ENG4Uers nonetheless.
As is Jimmy’s wont, he made our 25 teens suffer hard the first few days. He’s a pain-first-pleasure-later kind of guy. But I can sense he’s easing his grip and getting downright unorthodox in his teaching methods.
Notwithstanding the exile metaphor, James is summarily executing two students this afternoon, as per the play MAN OF ALL SEASONS. Yesterday he had his students, in the middle of a climbing wall ascent, declare publicly a moral dilemma, and then they had to have it resolved by the time the climb was finished. This was an exercise in oration and quick thinking, and it was a big hit.
This older english cohort has settled right in, have connected closely with each other, and are set for glory.
The younger english cohort is the most eclectic, not only of this session, but perhaps the entire summer. The med forms of this group looked like the Magna Carta in its scope. But there is no accounting for chemistry. This random concoction of teen hormones, absurdity and dramatic displays of magical adolescent thinking somehow have simmered exquisitely, like a fine stew; and they simply adore each other. Who would normally be outliers are the centre of the show. They make me smile.
Yesterday I sandbagged their classroom, bursting in to declare,
“Anyone who can beat me in ping pong will earn 5 bonus marks”.
Four sets of eyes turned focussed, sussing out the prowess of these old bones, figuring I was an easy mark.
We shall see, for I have never lost. But it’s on.
KK’s older OE group is another tale in the telling. Kevin has taken the slow-it-down directive to heart. He’ll end the afternoons at 4:00pm, and tell the kids to chill for a few hours. ensuring an experiential case study in gravitational force. They pull each other inward, and the tribe is starting to feel like they have embarked on a 13-day party, where people look out for each other. Three arrived here on day one wanting to be anywhere else but the Madawaska Valley. These same buggers are melting. They can’t help themselves. We have exactly zero kids on the outs in this tribe.
Which brings me to my favourite group – the young-un OEers. Yesterday they were all loaded into a pick-up, and drove to some God-forsaken place on our property to practice wilderness skills. They see me as they drive by, and I instinctively flip them the bird. Gavin is the first to notice, and is so shocked that the Director would engage in such a heinous act, he almost falls off the back of the truck. Then he giggles, and soon has the whole group in stitches. This seems to be the MO of these younglings – cracking each other up rules the roost. There are also zero outliers in this cohort. They leave tomorrow for their 6-day Dumoine River expedition, and I can’t wait to join them on day 10.
And so, we have arrived at the end of the beginning. Your children still have a pulse. They are connected. Sometimes I walk about the empty buildings when they are otherwise learning to be super-heroes, and I see their clothes, shoes, socks, band-aids and discarded T shirts strewn about like a messy bedroom of a really busy teen, and I know that Boundless is becoming home to them all.
To the 30% of you that are old and anxious – your young and restless are doing fine. As I said to one mom in a text today, “bugger off and enjoy yourself”.