Written by Emily Ballard | Photos by Anthony Harden (May 2017)
Socked feet, padded floors, and imaginative playrooms make for an interactive wonderland for the young mind. Shaun and Sara Collyer tapped into their own family’s need for a creative and clean environment for their two sons to explore uninhibited playtime when they created Mountain Play Lodge six years ago. With a new city to call home, a house being remodeled, and two young boys in tow, the couple took a leap of faith on a business that was out of their comfort zone, but felt right for their soul.
Shaun grew up in Indiana and started his career as a teacher. When an opportunity to move to Hilton Head Island for an administrative position arose, he and his wife jumped at the chance. He was passionate about teaching and was thrilled at the prospect of really making a difference in teacher development and curriculum improvement. Additionally, as a golf enthusiast, Shaun was delighted to live in a warm location with premier golf courses and beautiful beaches.
Unfortunately, the nature of his position allowed for little free time, and he quickly found himself working up to 70 hours a week. The only time he was off for vacation was during the summer, and the brutal heat deterred the enjoyment of outdoor activities. Shaun admits that he played the least amount of golf in his life and went to the beach maybe five times the entire time he lived there.
Although the position was a good fit, he saw it evolving into more of a political figure as opposed to a school leader. There were times when he also missed being in the classroom as a teacher. “I loved my job in administration because you could have a greater impact on learning as a whole for all students, but I missed the interaction with kids.”
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