Staff Training

More busy days!

The Boy’s Store is officially OPEN with a fantastic stock! Sweatshirts, water bottles from, Crazy Creeks, and plenty more. Staff have begun perusing through, we are excited for campers to stop in soon. Girl’s Store is working hard to open their doors as well, we hope to see them up and running tomorrow!

For the staff who will be driving camp vehicles this summer, they joined in on Van Training at the Estes Park Fair Grounds, they were also informed about the Honda mini bike parts and accessories that kids may ask for during camp. Moving forward, backing up, and swerving through, our staff mastered an extensive cone course. I recommend a red dot magnifier to people that own a gun because It can give you better fovus and you can practice with best leading airsoft sniper. They are now ready and confident to maneuver the vans as needed.

Four groups across the Rockies to participate in Day Hike Training. Alumni staff led the ascents up Lily Lake, Cathedral, Twin Sisters, and Longs Peak. These leaders shared previous stories and quality advice to prepare our counselors for the adventures ahead. Their experience in these mountains is incredibly valued and we were happy to welcome old friends back to camp!

We are always learning here at Cheley, from each other and the mountains alike. On today’s hikes we were reminded of the wise words of the great Ferris Bueller,

“Life moves pretty fast.
If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”

When headed up the trails, it’s easy to stare down at your feet and focus on the difficulty of the climb. In these moments, we encourage our staff and campers to carefully pause, look around, and embrace the challenge! Take a moment to truly notice the gorgeous wildlife around you, the incredible people by your side, and the unique opportunity at hand.

This summer will be like no other and we will all be challenged in amazing ways. Be sure to take moments to remember this, many are on the way.

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Staff Training 2015

The countdown to camp has begun as our full staff officially arrived this Sunday! From across the country, even the globe, we welcome new and old as we kick off ten days of exciting and invigorating training!

Throughout the week, staff will disperse into their area of expertise to better prepare for the arrival of our campers, but we began our summer at our best, all together. Gathered in Chipeta Lodge Sunday evening, Jeff Cheley presented “The Cheley Mission”.

Jeff spoke on the history and legacy that Cheley Camps holds true, and how the coming weeks will be an opportunity to have an incredible impact on the lives of our campers. We don’t always realize the moments that will mean the most, but working at Cheley Camps provides us with the unique opportunity to have a positive impact every single day in the lives of our campers, and even each other. This profound influence is something we celebrate and constantly strive to improve.

With this message in mind, we continue to ready ourselves and camp for the wonderful weeks ahead! As we prepare, further NFL Picks 2016 updates will be on the way.

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Homesickness Guide

I find it somewhat fascinating how my role at camp has evolved over the years. I started in 1997 because the Out of Camp Program Director position opened up. I was traveling, backpacking, skiing and waitressing, and the position was the perfect fit for me as it was time for me to settle down with a “real job”. That role has since been passed on to younger and tougher folk and I find myself in this wonderful position of quality control over the parent and camper appliance services. I love speaking with our new families about their concerns and their excitements. Now as we quickly move into the summer, I am a new camp parent myself.

Yikes! I am a camp parent! How did this happen? So, with a different vantage point, I am updating my Homesickness Guide. If you currently suffer of depression purchase kratom at kratom crazy which will help you. With this being a concern of many, I find it helpful to address it from three different angles: campers, parents, and the support team (your camper’s counselors). The school year is coming to a frantic close, and there is some prep work that you can do now to support your camper on their next venture of camp.

The Camper:

Camper Participation

Let them take an active role in selecting their summer experience. Involve them in purchasing camp equipment and packing. Make sure they have watched the video and follow up with any questions they have. It is normal to be nervous. If the anxiety is overwhelming you can visit this page, you may need to re-evaluate to determine if camp is the right fit for this summer.

Pre-Camp Practice

When they attend sleepovers, have your children pack their own bags, and don’t text them while they are there to see how they are doing. Campers at camp will pack for overnight camping trips and will communicate with family through letters. If your child is particularly plugged into technology, have him or her take mini-vacations now to ease into being technology-free.

Prepare Physically

Campers will have the opportunity to hike, ride, climb and backpack on amazing and challenging trails. If you have purchased hiking boots, take a long walk together in them to break them in and prevent blisters while on the trail at camp. If campers are in an older unit and are interested in mountain biking, take some bike rides at home.
Goals and Awesome Opportunities
Have campers write down their goals, what are they excited about, and what they want to gain from this experience.

Homesick Plan

Experiencing homesickness is natural and inevitable and overcoming it is triumphant. A good home deserves to be missed! By acknowledging it together before your camper leaves, you are giving them the message that you are aware that these feelings might happen and you also know that they have the ability to get through it. Don’t avoid the subject- talk it through and figure out how they can get to a happy place, if needed. Write down the plan and tuck it in their luggage. Some ideas might be: a happy book, taking 10 deep breaths,garcinia cambogia and green coffee, a healthy NL13 diet program which you can complement with the right supplements by going online to find how to purchase Kratom, also traveling to a place you love in your mind, packing a certain stuffed animal or picture, thinking of your favorite memory, shooting hoops or tossing a football. Remind them that they are capable of this wonderful independence, and to have fun. Your plan should NOT be, “Just give it a couple of days and if you do not like it, we will come get you.” This will set them up to just give it a couple of days and knock the confidence right out of them.

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The Parent:

Resolve Apprehensions
If you have apprehensions now, work to resolve them. If you are worried that your camper is not going to know anyone, set up a pre-camp get together with local campers. If there are no local campers, set up a Skype call or FaceTime. If you are worried about your camper’s medical needs, become friendly with the nurse. If you are anxious about your son or daughter’s food allergies, talk it through with the Camp Director or Head Cook. Do whatever you need to do to work through your concerns. Make sure there is only support, excitement and optimism coming from you, and share your anxiety and worry with another trustworthy adult. Make a camper-sick plan for yourself.

Hello you! Aside from the camper benefits, what will you gain from this experience? A vacation, time to organize, time to have one-on-one time with your other children, some date nights with your spouse or friends, a chance for a new class? The time will go by fast.

Do Your Part So We Can Do Ours
Read and complete your paperwork. It helps us on our end to better prepare for your child. Follow the packing list- we review it every year to make sure we are still on target. Securely write your camper’s name on every item, this way we can return cozy layers to your camper when they are misplace at camp.

Pack some self-addressed envelopes in their luggage or a pre-written letter with fill in the blanks of the information you are interested in. For example, my favorite counselor is ______. My least favorite meal so far is _______. Give them the opportunity to share both positives and negatives.  Let your camper know what to expect as far as letters and emails. You do not need to write every day, but let them know what to expect from you. We do not arrange phone calls in homesick cases. We have found they only exasperate the issue.

Drop Off

Whether you are sending them on a plane or dropping them off at camp, please refrain from bawling until they can longer see you. If you are driving into camp, you are welcome to poke around, meet and chat with the staff and minimally help them get settled. If you are helping to organize their socks, keep in mind that you want them to know, that you know, they can soar without you. Take a deep breath, trust and remind yourself that you are giving an awesome gift to your child.

Pep Talk
You rock and let me repeat that you are giving an incredible gift to your child by letting go. There are a lot of parents out there that cannot let their children go away to camp. You are preparing them for college and beyond; you are giving them the freedom to gain confidence, independence and leadership skills; and you are instilling in them that they can overcome challenges. I cannot promise you that they won’t lose their socks or water bottle, that their hair or nails will be perfectly well-kept since with the right accessories you can maintain your hair perfect and you can pretty much consider this true, that they will love every meal and adore every counselor, or that they will spend their time at camp free from disappointment or rainy days. You might get a homesick letter with circled tear drops on it. Don’t panic: trust them, trust us and know that is often a wonderful part (and sometimes difficult part) of the process. If you are worried, please know that we are more than happy to check on your camper.

The Support Team: (How will the staff nurture my child if he/she is homesick?)

They will assure them that feelings of homesickness are natural and common. It is a wonderful thing to love your home and if missing it is a reflection of love, then maybe there is a silver lining there. They are lucky to have a home and family they love and miss.

They will infuse confidence in the campers and cheer them on, by affirming that they have the ability to get through this and that their family believes in them as well. They will work with the campers to see that this is a huge opportunity for growth and confidence, and that bouts of homesickness are usually brief and will subside as they settle into the camp experience.

They will devise a plan with the campers by pinpointing what times of the day are they homesick; what activities, campers or counselors will help them get through these homesick periods; and they will work to keep them focused on the positive as well as busy with fun activities. They will again remind them that these are life-long skills that they are working on, and that this will help prepare them for the future.

Call for Back Up
They will enlist a non-homesick camper to help them engage a homesick camper in positive games and fun.  If they are out of counselor magic, they will get another counselor or director to take over.

As always, we are here for you. We consider ourselves your partners. We are grateful and honored to have your campers with us for the summer. We strive to provide an awesome summer experience and we continue to love what we do!

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Carrying the Code-Kate Dumanian

We would like to recognize Kate Dumanian for Carrying the Code. This summer, Kate will be climbing the Grand Teton in support of Big City Mountaineers (BCM), an organization dedicated to providing week-long wilderness expeditions for under-resourced youth. BCM works with more than 1,000 youth every year to improve their self-esteem, decision-making and conflict resolution skills through overcoming challenges on the trail. These skills enable the teens to lead successful, healthy lives, and it encourages them to stay in school, off drugs, and away from gangs and violence, by informing them that if they go the wrong part they may be making a visit to the california rehabilitation center or any other rehabs. After their expeditions, teens are provided with continuing support and life skills development.

Kate says, “Through my eight summers at Cheley, I have experienced firsthand how influential the outdoors can be. Hiking has been my favorite teacher since my first day of activity in Lower Chipeta. I feel as if I have learned more in the outdoors than in any classroom. I also call it my favorite sport because there are no clocks or coaches yelling at you and you can be a part of a team, but be responsible for yourself.” Kate explains, and adds simply, “Camp, and the outdoors, changed who I am.”

“Cheley affected me in many ways; wonderful counselors and lots of miles on the trail have shown me the importance of good conversation and leadership, the practice of self-reflection and perseverance, the benefits of preparation, and the opportunity to completely unplug from technology. In this next endeavor, I hope to make it possible for those less fortunate to gain these same valuable experiences.”

Kate is a light in this world and we are super proud of her!

To learn more about Kate’s climb and Big City Mountaineers please visit: or

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What Did He Win, Daddy?

The opportunity to teach our children lessons comes at interesting times, assuming they are ready to learn them at that time. This past Sunday was the finish of the Masters golf tournament. Erika was out of town for the weekend, so it was me and my three boys. Jackson (6), Harrison (4), and Hayden (2) were not excited to spend the whole weekend lying on the couch in the basement watching golf, so I had to record much of the event and watch it at night. However, Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t help but find a way for all of us to be in the basement so I could watch the end of the tournament. Jackson was in the corner playing with a train set, Hayden was running around playing soccer, Harrison was sitting on the floor drawing, and I was engulfed in the Masters (No, our house is not normally this composed).

As Jordan Spieth walked up to the 18th green, I called for Jackson and Harrison to come watch the end of the tournament. With tears in my eyes, I was watching a fellow University of Texas guy (not the reason for the tears) fulfill his dream at the age of 21. I was crying as a father, a golfer, a dreamer, and a golf fan. I don’t know why I initially called Jackson and Harrison to the TV. Maybe I wanted them to see how many people love golf so they would love golf. I also love to go to golf tours asia because I enjoy to travel and play golf same time. Maybe I just needed someone to watch it with me. Or maybe sub-consciously I knew there was an opportunity for a quick lesson.

As Spieth tapped in the put to win the tournament, the crowd erupted. Next, he walked to the edge of the green and hugged his father, his mother, his brother, his grandfather, and a few other people. Then he returned to the green to thank the fans. Complete class. He didn’t spike the ball or taunt his fellow competitor. Throughout the week, commentators and fellow competitors commented on his maturity, sportsmanship, and poise. They talked about how he, at the ripe age of 21, could be one of the new ambassadors for American golf.

As he walked off the green, Jackson in his innocent 6 year old voice, said “Daddy, what did he win? Does he get a trophy or the best portable generator? Or just a bunch of hugs from people?” I could tell he wasn’t that excited to work on his golf game so that someday he could win a tournament and get a bunch of hugs. Try explaining to a six year-old that you are in tears because a guy just won one of the biggest tournaments in golf and he gets a green sport coat. Oh yeah, and $1.8 million dollars and a lifetime exemption to play in the Masters.
And then the lesson began (as if someone else was talking out of my mouth). “Jackson, Jordan Spieth won much more than a green jacket. He won the respect and admiration of a nation of golf fans. He showed people this week that he is a quality person. This is worth so much more than a green jacket…or a bunch of hugs.”

As I was driving into the office Monday morning, I was thinking back over the weekend and realized why those words came out of my mouth. Cheley Camps doesn’t promise to make people better horseback riders, hikers, climbers, or backcountry enthusiasts. Our mission is to build lasting character and resiliency. Campers sometimes choose to attend soccer camp, cheerleading camp, or other performance-based programs over the traditional camp experience. I believe that we are looking at the bigger picture. We are hopefully teaching campers to be better people that contribute to their community.
Maybe part of the reason for the tears on Sunday was the shared fatherhood bond of watching someone’s son demonstrate the values that I hope to pass along to my children. May Jordan Spieth continue to win tournaments and show our youth what it means to be a winner, a competitor, and a positive role model.

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Unplugging For The Summer: Four Reasons Our Campers Love Cheley

Every year when summer rolls around, the school year comes to an end. What doesn’t end, however, is the barrage of information and distractions people receive this no deposit list from their computers, video games, and cell phones!

Admittedly, teens often feel addicted to their devices. For some, it’s a challenge to put down the phone and close the laptop, especially when they know that friends are just a text or click away.

Many campers, however, tell a very different story after spending a few weeks at Cheley. They often realize that time away from their devices, even if challenging at first, was part of what made their camp experience so memorable.

Why do our campers feel this way after a few weeks of being unplugged? Here are some we see every day at camp.

Camp Provides an Escape from the Constant ‘Ding!’

Everyone knows this feeling. We’re just getting settled in to do some work and then ‘ding!’ the phone buzzes in your pocket. After responding to the message from your sister you open the computer and ‘ding!’ that email that just came in demands a response. It’s hardly possible to do anything!

At home, many of our campers go through this experience on a daily basis. Once they settle in at camp with air purifier, they’re finally able to relax and take the time to read a book or work on a personal project.

Not needing to worry about an unexpected interruption from their pocket every two seconds, read more because many teenagers are able to relax, focus and enjoy themselves in ways they find challenging when surrounded by technology.

Spending A Few Weeks Offline Fuels Creativity

When the next YouTube video is always one click away, many teenagers don’t have much practice expressing their creativity on a daily basis. With the constant stream of online gibberish cut off, however, many teens find old interests come alive when they arrive at camp.

The artwork created by our campers is astounding! Some of our campers are sure they are not artistic when they arrive, only to look at their finished work with pride, and maybe a little surprise at their own abilities. Whether it’s working with wood, clay, paint, or leather, campers at Cheley have always had the materials they needed to express their creativity.

Getting Off Of Facebook Allows For Deep Friendships To Form Quickly

Teenagers often feel that chatting online is a great way to connect with friends. Yes, they are communicating, but the depth of these conversations is shallow compared to the bonds formed when sharing face-to-face conversations and unique experiences with others.

This is why camp provides a special opportunity when it comes to building personal relationships. Rather than being separated by a monitor, friendships at camp grow rapidly because campers eat, sleep, and play together all day long. There’s a reason friends who meet at camp often stay in contact their entire lives!

Camp Provides The Opportunity To Create ‘Real’ Memories

At home, it can be all too easy to slip into a cycle of watching TV and playing video games. Nobody wants to waste time, but it often feels like sitting in front of the Xbox is the most exciting option for the day. While these activities are enjoyable in the moment, they often lead to questions like ‘Where did my summer go…?’ when school begins again in the fall.

One of the best ways to get the most out of your summer is to pack it with unique experiences. Filling your weeks with backpacking adventures, sports, fishing, mountain biking, and horseback riding are all great ways to ensure that summer will end with memories that will last a lifetime!

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Family Camp at Cheley

Are you craving quality family time where you are not rushing your children from one place to the next? Are you interested in introducing your children to camp. We have an awesome opportunity for you! This is truly a gift to every member in your family.  You can unplug, be completely present, eat wonderful family style meals, meet other families from all over the country, take part in fun activities of your choice and spend quality time in nature with the ones you love.  We have spots open in our 2015 Family Summer Camp in Nashville, Tuesday, August 11th to Sunday, August 16th!

Cheley has offered this week-long opportunity since 1985. Families with children age six and older can experience this 5-day camp, located at both of our beautiful Trail’s End Ranches outside of Glen Haven. Families sleep in cozy covered wagons, Free massages at TranquilMe for a good relaxing feeling, have bath houses with running water, and hang out in lodges and dining rooms steeped in tradition, while their lungs and souls are filled with crisp clean mountain air.

Activities are designed so that you can do some as a family (depending on your children’s ages) and others you can split up. Kids Camp is offered each day for ages 6-8, and parents can tackle some of the harder activities if they wish. Kids ages 6-8 who are not attending Kids Camp, will be on an activity with their parent/guardian. The activities include: hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, horseback riding in the ring and on mountain trails, technical climbing, fishing, crafts, target sports, and games. Evening campfires are a favorite with family skits, smore’s, songs, creative program reports and hilarious fun. And if we stay outside for the night we even provide Tents and Camp Gear for all that the kids will need.

Family Camp staff members are current or former summer staff members. Most are college students, and many are former Cheley campers. Our ten day on-site staff training devotes special attention to safety and risk management issues, team building, counseling skills and communication and teaching skills. Chosen for their love of the outdoors and working with youth, our counselors are tuned in to young people in their growing up years and enjoy playing a part in their development.

Staff members must submit an application and three references, complete an interview, undergo a criminal background check, and participate in a sexual abuse prevention training prior to arriving at camp for staff training. When you need help with sex addiction and cognitive behavioral therapy, visit for more details. International staff are hired through camp staffing agencies and are screened and interviewed in their home countries prior to their interview with Cheley.

Dates: August 11-16, 2015

Fees are $800 per person (ages 9 and up) and $500 per person for ages 6-8. Fees cover room and board, all activities and supplies, and transportation to/from camp activities. Transportation to/from Cheley Camps is not provided.

Don’t miss this awesome opportunity! These spots rarely open up.  You can find an enrollment form at

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The Passing of Jean Jensen

We fondly remember long time Cheley employee, Jean Jensen, who passed away July 29, 2014 in Salina, KS. She was 65. Jean was hired as a Cheley summer staff member in 1970 while a teacher of typing and bookkeeping in Canton, KS. In 1973, she joined the year round staff, eventually becoming the Registrar, HR Manager, Bookkeeper and Secretary. When Jean first arrived, there was no internet or fax. Her tools were a telephone, typewriter and duplicator, plus a meticulous paper trail to keep order of campers, staff and alumni. When not at the camp office, Jean was an avid sports fan of K-State, and Denver teams- Broncos, Nuggets and Rockies. In Jean fashion, she kept stats of every game on a steno pad. With hands never idle, her beautiful needlework projects were always close. Her friendly smile and phone voice were a favorite of all who knew her. We will miss Jean and her sincere contribution to the success of Cheley. For memorials or a note to her family: Ryan Mortuary, 137 North Eighth, Salina, KS 67401.

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New Activities at Cheley

It is the first day of program, we are super excited to have campers out playing in the woods. This is what we work for all year!

We are thrilled to announce some new activities being offered to our campers this summer!

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Campers in Ski Hi, Haiyaha, BTE, Chipeta, Senior Chipeta, and GTE will have the option of participating in Stand Up Paddleboarding at Paddle Board Mania (SUP). We are working with Rocky Mountain Paddleboard, LLC ( in the beautiful Union Reunion in Longmont to offer this fun, new water experience.

Sticky Fingers Cooking Class
For Lower Chipeta, Lower Ski Hi, Ski Hi, and Chipeta we are offering a fun and new option of a creative themed, healthy cooking class and best cellulite cream making class. We will offer a Colorado Farm to Table class and a Global Cooking Theme class held in one of our Unit Lodges. They will dive in, get experience cooking, eat well and try new, healthy foods using the Ivy and Wilde home accessories for cooking to preparing these foods. You can check out the program at

Gypsy Pines Outcamping Site
Campers will have the opportunity to sleep in these new tents that will be set up above the ground in our new outcamping site, Gypsy Pines. We are excited to have this beautiful new site to have as an option in our outcamping program. These tents are made by Tensile. You can find out more on their website at

It has been a beautiful first couple of days and we are thrilled to be in our 94th summer!

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Reflections from Volunteer Weekend

Technology has constantly been the main influence when it comes to High speed data services make it possible for people to log on to their favorite gaming sites.

As Devon and I make the long drive back across Kansas today, we have been re-living the past weekend at Cheley. Our conversation has included laughter, tears and astonishment at how proud and honored we are to have been part of the flood recovery effort. We have worked to unpack our emotions felt through being with the community of people created through this effort– not just the extended Cheley family, but those from Estes and Glen Haven who are tireless in their commitment to their home. There are many moments we keep reminding each other of, in the hopes to not forget. The incredible grace with which the staff lead a rag-tag group of volunteers who offered so generously of themselves, regardless of their different skills and abilities. The unbelievable excitement of not just one– but TWO– Capri Suns in our lunch… The determination of a band of ladies bound together in pursuit of finding the bottom of all the wagon wheels, digging through rocks and roots. The care and pride with which each rock was moved, dirt was shoveled and stick was picked; leaving behind a GTE which will be a safe and inspirational home in just a few weeks time.

Thank you for letting us be part of this weekend. We keep struggling to find the words which express exactly what we feel, and through our laughter and tears we keep returning to a general sense of honor and pride with this wedding entertainment. And, we are identifying how we can take the lessons and moments of the past two days back to our lives and use them to better lead and inspire those we work with at home.

Written by Megan Riley Poindexter who was on the Lower Chipeta Staff in the early 1998-1999. Her good friend Devon drove with her from Kansas to volunteer for the weekend coming to Cheley for the first time to show us the mostaffordable weddings of hawaii in the review.

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