When I first came to the United States in 1985, it was to work as a camp counselor at Camp Burgess, a YMCA summer camp in Sandwich, Massachusetts. I had just finished my junior year at the University of Ulster in Ireland where I was studying – and I use that word quite loosely – and I was looking for something to do for the summer months. I can remember being incredibly excited to see what life was like on this side of the pond, but little did I know how much that summer on the Cape was going to shape my life.
Anyhoo… a summer spent listening to Billy Ocean singing Carribean Queen on the radio (remember radio?), learning to waterski on Spectacle Pond, being introduced to the Red Sox through the Boston Globe, making lifelong friends, and generally having the best time of my life all went by in a flash, but I can still remember it as if it were yesterday. My cabin at Burgess was Mohawk… nearest to the dining hall and home away from home for the summer. Here’s a rare photograph with me in front of the camera… I’m sitting on the steps of Mohawk reminiscing about the great times spent there with my crazy campers and the three times in the first session that my nightmare camper Russell Brogle ran away.
Sam is working as a camp counselor at Burgess this summer, and here’s a shot of him and Jack right before we left home to drop him off on the Cape. I hope he enjoys camp life, and when it comes time to share stories about why he chose to work there, he can tell everyone that he was named after the camp where his mom and dad met. So, Samuel Burgess Patterson is now following in the footsteps of his parents, and I am sure that if he has half as good a time there as we did, he will make memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.
Both Camp Burgess and Camp Hayward (the name of the sister girls camp and what Sam’s middle name would have been if he were born a girl) looked remarkably similar to what we remembered. There were some new buildings in places, but many of the old familiar scenes looked the same, including the Camp Burgess waterfront above. As we wandered around camp, waves and waves of wonderful memories came flooding back for the two of us, and we drove away feeling very proud of our oldest boy and new summer camp counselor… Samuel Burgess Patterson.