This August marked the 6th summer Cheley has hosted the Teen Summit Camp, a six day program for the children of Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard members. This year we had 120 deserving teens selected from all over the country that applied for this leadership development program. Through a variety of funding, the teen’s families do not bear any of the cost for attending, including travel.
When we designed this program six years ago, we attempted to inculcate as much of the traditional Cheley experience into this much shorter timeframe. No minute goes wasted. Teens begin the morning at 6:00 a.m. with a variety of activities to choose from: yoga, zumba, running, calisthenics, etc. that focus on physical well-being. Immediately following breakfast, campers depart on the traditional Cheley activities that we all know and love. By 4:00 p.m. everyone is back at Land of Peaks where campers go through two hours of engaging leadership development rotations and listen to professional speakers that we bring in from all over the country. After dinner, campers have another leadership rotation followed by a night social, full of dancing, laughing, and smores. Totally exhausted but completely fulfilled everyone is in bed by midnight to do it all again the next day.
This year we were joined for our banquet and recognition night by the Chief of the Air Force Reserve, three star, Lt. Gen. James Jackson. Gen. Jackson expressed his gratitude for the sacrifices these sons and daughters of service members have made while their parent(s) have been deployed and away at training. Many of these teens have had to step up and help run a household at a young age. It was a meaningful night, and long before the charter buses arrived the next morning to take everyone back to the airport, tears flowed, hugs had been exchanged, and promises to keep in touch made.