Dear Boundless Families:
Like a house guest you yearn hang out with the first few days, and soon transforms into the-thing-that wouldn’t-leave, summer arrived at Boundless.
It’s hot. The road dust swirls at the slightest provocation. The gravel crunches under your feet as you saunter to meet life’s demands. If there just wasn’t so many distractions! You swear you were living inside a Tom Sawyer setting. All the world’s problems can be solved by consuming an apple and a quick adventure in a river.
And for your kids, this is mostly true. They go hard. They then unwind in summer’s glory. Rinse. Repeat.
I got my first real sense of the English gang three days ago when Tony let me in front of the crew for a half an hour. It was a joy and I felt young. Virtually all the English class showed up on day one ready to work. And for the few who perhaps thought they would languish in Madawaska luxury, they have been quickly swept away by the work ethic. There are zero laggards here.
Notwithstanding a few incursions into the student flirtation zone – hormones rage alongside the fertility of summertime – the absence of behavioural stuff in this group leave the teachers wondering what the heck is going on. I heard one lad try and describe the ethos on day 4,
“Even the hike to the lookout. Tony somehow makes everything fit. It’s not we do one thing this day and a different thing tomorrow. Everything comes together”.
The outdoor gang, or should I say the rambunctious rascals, left for the Dumoine river a few days ago. I know they are faring well because there has been radio silence. They have had to negotiate massive water levels. It makes their descent an elaborate chess game with real penalties if you blunder. So far they have not blundered.
I get the privilege of joining them tomorrow evening and half of Sunday, as they navigate the wildest stretch called Red Pine Rapids (Google if you’d like). I will get a sniff of how far they have come along. Sometimes that group can get a tad ego-centric. Driving home the virtues of selflessness is a process, not an event or an “aha” moment. Prior to leaving, they were making gains every day in this regard. I’ll have some juicy gossip on them in my next blog post.
Lately I have spent the most time with the hybriders, who got back from a three-day Madawaska whitewater adventure yesterday.
Ivan invites me to a ping pong game. It feels more like a blatant challenge to the alpha of this place. I tell him that I have no interest in making students cry in their pillows at night, suffering from the humiliation of being defeated by an old man. He squares his torso and says, “It’s on”. Gavin witnesses. I am in with the fellas.
And being on the in means I get to see things. The group tends to get a little bitchy sometimes. Their tenure at Boundless is long. Whereas the other two groups are starting to smell the barn and quicken their pace to the program’s conclusion, the hybriders are just over a third of the way there. Life happens when the honeymoon wears off.
The thing with this impressive group is that they care. When we chastise them for getting a bit too locker-roomy in their humour, they respond. They care about learning. They are beginning to make a sincere investment in their learning community. This sets the stage for profundity.
All is well in Boundless land – hope the same for you.