Houdini Returns

by | Oct 18, 2021 | Blog

Dear Boundless Families:

The kids returned yesterday from a two-day river journey deep in Quebec Wilderness. They stepped off the bus beaming. Pride was oozing out of their pores. And they were eager for a mattress. 

Lyal and Jaden boasted, “No dumps”!

I reacted, “How boring.”

It is no small thing to go into the backwoods in mid-October. The water is cold. There is more darkness than light. One screw up and you’ll be searching for a campsite under the stars which are obscured by clouds. 

But the weather Gods took pity on the younglings. It was uncommonly warm.

Unsatisfied with how smoothly things were going (for challenges are the cornerstone of Boundless existence), the staff indeed decided to manufacture some.

They chose to play Houdini. This is when the Boundless leaders disappear without a trace, before sunrise, and leave the group to their own devices. Completely alone.

Or at least the illusion of solitude, for the elders were perched behind a knoll, eyes on the group, yet still invisible.

It is not easy breaking camp. There is breakfast, clean-up, tents down, gear packed, fires extinguished, boats to be loaded, all on a strict timetable defined by the sun. Our star waits for no mortal. The clock ticks. The group could descend into characters from Lord of the Flies with the slightest of provocations.

I am told that a big existential howl could be heard across the Canadian Shield at precisely 8:50am. The kids dipped their paddles into the Dumoine River 10 minutes early. They passed this test.

And then came the rapids.

Just when you manage to survive one, another comes at you like a relentless boxer waiting to knock you out. The river swung at them like punching the air. This challenge proved to be too meek. The kids were just too darn good.

What is the secret to their success?

Kindness. Pure and simple. I declare, without any shameless embellishment (I swear), that this gang of teens is the kindest boarding school group in our history. Selflessness is like the cosmic background radiation of this tribe. It creeps into every interaction. It becomes the cornerstone of acceptance. And to be accepted – that exquisite feeling of belonging – it makes everyone at Boundless thrive. There is not a kid here that isn’t growing by leaps and bounds.

You will see this on their faces in just eight days. Their rosy cheeks.  How they hold their posture a few centimeters more erect.  This session has moved much too quickly. We take comfort knowing that virtually all of them are coming back on Nov 1st for another round.

I hope you enjoy your reunions, however brief. The students’ final stint of this first session shall see culminating academics, a drag show (RuPaul is quite the thing these days), Community Karma developing trails, and a banquet that shall yield a sonic boom of laughter that shall surely shake our rafters to their foundations.

It’s been awesome. It’s been incredible.

Best wishes,


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Steven Gottlieb
Steven Gottlieb