By Ian Denson
This old Irish proverb was shared with me by legendary Park Shore camper Seamus O’Hannahan, after completing his first summer at Park Shore in the summer of ’69. You see, prior to Park Shore, Seamus was a shy, introverted lad, who’d rather spend his days in the confines of his bedroom- alone, than try something new. At the urging of his Mammy, and much to his chagrin, Seamus was enrolled in Park Shore Day Camp- Mammy had heard about Park Shore’s beautiful grounds, amenities, sports and swimming programs, and most importantly about their ALL-STAR staff of directors, counselors, and specialists! “If anything can get Seamus out of his shell, it will be this camp!” Mammy exclaimed confidently. After meeting current owners Bob and Chuck Budah, who at the time were just blossoming into their manhood, she knew there’d be role-models aplenty for her son at Park Shore.
Day one of camp: Seamus was awakened by Mammy and prompted to, “Grab your knickers, eat your breakfast, and get ready for the bus!” But the scared, anxious Seamus refused to get out of bed- the one place that made him feel safe and happy. He hid under the covers. Mammy, unamused with her son’s antics, grabbed him tightly by the left ear, and tore Seamus out of bed, making him promise to give camp a chance. Reluctantly that morning, Seamus boarded the bus, unbeknownst to him that life as he knew it was about to change forever!
With each passing day, Seamus grew more open to trying new things, all thanks to camp. He saw his friends going swimming, playing sports, and eating chicken fries… all things that he considered “taboo.” But the ecstatic looks on their faces and their friendly prodding was all Seamus needed to realize that these things were all in fact awesome, and nothing to be afraid of!
Fast forward to Day thirty-nine, the last day of camp: Seamus was a changed boy exuding a growing confidence, a strong posture, and a positive attitude. Mammy no longer had to drag him out of bed- Seamus was fully dressed, breakfast eaten and teeth brushed, eager for the Park Shore bus to arrive.
Mammy was impressed! “Seamus, what has gotten into you?” And he replied with one simple sentence… “Mammy, I made friends!”
You see, from the moment you walk through Park Shore’s gates, you are welcomed by everyone as a friend. You find children who are just like you, you find children who are very different than you…and you come together each summer to share a journey of growth and excitement that only campers can understand. And along the way, you are guided by role-models who want nothing more than to see you succeed and be happy!
So whatever happened to Seamus O’Hannahan? When you have the chance, ask Bob or Chuck. Now that they are fully grown, I’m sure they’d love to share his legend with you!