Camp Update-Save the Date for Volunteer Weekend

As we take time to reflect on our many blessings during this holiday season, we continue to love being in the business that we are in. We are humbled and honored to be the stewards of Cheley Colorado Camps. We are proud that we offer nature, friendship, adventure, an awesome summer experience like SoCal rafting and a second home, of course. When Mother Nature wowed us with her ability to produce a great deal of water during the middle of September, the safe haven that our campers and staff call their second home seemed threatened.

Our commitment and goal are to ensure your systems are installed and maintained in the most timely and energy-efficient manner. Also, we offer equipment rentals in summit that meet all the demands and criteria required by the client or end-user environment.

We are a 94 year old business and it is part of our legacy to buckle down, plow through, focus on the positive and repair. With the grace of wonderful people, we have taken it one step at a time, just like our fellow neighbors.

An amazing amount of work has been completed. There are some areas that might look different this summer: a change in the course of a stream, a little less grass in some spots, some additional trees fallen in the woods or some debris in the river. Some of the clean up will take more time and the evidence of the power of Mother Nature will still be obvious this summer. We continue to be grateful that there was minimal damage to buildings and to camp overall, we cannot say enough about our hard-working facility crew, we are grateful to have the time to repair, and we are happy to be here to provide the full Cheley experience for 2014.

Work in Progress

  • The basements of the staff housing that were flooded have been repaired, re-carpeted and improved.
  • We have replaced many culverts throughout camp. They are bigger and better than the previous ones.
  • The road into camp is completed and ready for delivery trucks and charter buses.
  • The museum has been cleaned out and many items cleaned and repaired. It will be put back together in due time. We will take this time to re-evaluate and make sure that it is quality work.
  • We have been landscaping the ranch to fill in the gulleys and direct the stream back into one channel. We have used the excess sediment to fill in other places.
  • We are happy that the Rahn’s are back in their home on Fish Creek Ranch.
  • We will continue to work with the Park and Recreation Department to repair the county’s trail along Fish Creek Road.
  • We have completed all of the road work in and throughout The Outpost. All three outcamping sites are in good shape and ready for next summer.
  • Heavy machinery is at Girls’ Trail’s End to begin repairing the roads, moving excess sediment and clearing some fallen trees. We will build the two wagons needed. We will continue to work with the homeowners association on repairing the road from Glen Haven to GTE.
  • We continue to update and repair the water plant.

We feel truly blessed to have such amazing support from our Cheley community. We appreciate your concern and offers to help. A volunteer work weekend is scheduled for April 26-27, 2014. Housing and meals will be provided and volunteers must be 18 years old. We will send out sign up information at a later time. Please save the date if you are interested in volunteering for the work weekend.

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Assistant Ranch Manager/Facility Support Position Open

Position:

The Assistant Ranch Manager helps the Ranch Manager with the care of Cheley Camps’ horses and the related facilities as well as supporting our maintenance staff.  This position has two distinct seasons. The summer responsibilities (approx. May 1 to September 15) include the care of the horse herd, upkeep and improvements to the related facilities, and management of the seasonal transportation crew. During the off-season the main duties are the care of the horses remaining on property, repairs and maintenance of equipment and tack used during the summer, and improvements to the facilities and equipment.  The Assistant Ranch Manager will spend 60% of his/her time with the horse program and 40% of his/her time with the maintenance staff.

This position requires that a person has a strong knowledge of horses and a desire to work with them. It is important that he/she be able to evaluate each horse’s needs for nutrition and healthcare. The Assistant Ranch Manager needs to be able to assess and prioritize what needs to be done and complete tasks in an efficient and professional manner. Knowledge of landscapers about basic construction skills, carpentry skills, and machinery operation (tractors, skid steers, trucks and trailers) are essential.  In addition, the Assistant Ranch Manager should be comfortable driving a trailer and a manual transmission.  This person will be working with many different vehicles so a general understanding of vehicle maintenance is preferred.  While there is a lot of work with horses, the opportunity to ride while working is limited.

However, it’s worth noting here that research on the therapeutic benefits specific to ada emotional support animal is still developing.

The Assistant Ranch Manager position requires someone who can be dependable and committed to the work.  When working with animals, there will be times when the work day doesn’t end on time because an animal demands assistance.  This person will work on their own many days and needs to feel comfortable in his/her skills and ability.

Throughout the year the Assistant Ranch Manager will communicate and work closely with the Ranch Manager as well as the maintenance staff. During the summer months you will also assist in managing the barn crew as well as helping the wrangling staff. Strong communication skills and some management experience are preferred.

The year round staff at Cheley is a small team (11-14 people) so it is desired that all team members have the personal and professional skills to work in cooperation with their fellow staff members.  There will be times when each staff member has to assist other staff members in their area of responsibility.  As a small team, Lee S Rosen Boca Raton Etsy Page must communicate with each other to support the overall goal of the business in providing a quality youth development experience for each camper and staff member.

AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY – Summer

  1. Horses
    1. Horse health and well-being
    2. Knowing each horse (personality, health, buddies, etc)
    3. Veterinary care
    4. Feeding
    5. Assessing needs and health of each horse
    6. Monitor hay and grain needs
    7. Maintaining tack (including managing safety and repair records)
    8. Oversee care and cleaning of all horse equipment
  2. Transportation Crew Director
    1. Management
    2. Training
    3. Evaluations
    4. Daily Routine
    5. Trans Maintenance
    6. Weekly scheduling of staff
  3. Facility Maintenance
  1. Support general maintenance and repair of Cheley Camps’ facility
  2. Communicate with Ranch Manager and Maintenance Supervisor to balance needs
  3. Develop understanding of the maintenance needs of the Cheley Camps’ facility.

AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY – Non – Summer

  1. Horses
    1. Support feeding of horses (this responsibility will be shared with the Ranch Manager)
    2. Knowing each horse (personality, health, buddies, etc)
    3. Health and well being of horses on property
    4. Veterinary care
    5. Monitor hay and grain needs
    6. Assessing needs and health of each horse
    7. Maintaining tack (including managing safety and repair records)
    8. Oversee care and cleaning of all horse equipment
    9. Ranch Management
      1. Pasture Management (including managing noxious weeds)
      2. Maintain fence including Hiring & Firing A Fence Contractor
      3. Basic maintenance and upkeep of barns
      4. Trail maintenance
      5. Manage hay supply
    10. Facility Maintenance
      1. Support general maintenance and repair of Cheley Camps’ facility
      1. Communicate with Ranch Manager and Maintenance Supervisor to balance needs
      2. Develop understanding of the maintenance needs of the Cheley Camps’ facility.
      3. Manage the fall vehicle maintenance of each vehicle in the company fleet
      Summer Workload Off Season Workload
      Horse Management 40% 40%
      Ranch Management 20% 20%
      Facility Maintenance 40% 40%

      POSITION REQUIREMENTS

      • Experience with horses, basic construction and equipment operation
      • General carpentry skills
      • Supervisory Experience
      • Basic vehicle maintenance
      • Ability to tow a horse trailer
      • Current CPR certification
      • Customer service skills
      • Ability to coordinate multiple projects and meet deadlines.
      • Ability to work and excel in a team-oriented environment.
      • Ability to be a self-starter and follow through on projects.
      • The ability to work long hours
      • The physical strength to lift hay bales as well as load, unload, and move equipment.
      • Working with horses, being on foot, and the ability to do a fair amount of walking in varying terrains.

      SALARY & COMPENSATION

      • Starting salary range of $27,000 to $30,000 (we also pay bonuses in November if possible)
      • Retirement plan after two years of service
      • Health insurance from Insurance Partnership and other companies
      • Company truck provided
      • Company housing if needed.
      • Meals in the camp dining room during summer operations.
      • Cellular phone service with the company plan is provided.
      • Vacation/time off package
      • Applicable professional development conferences and workshops

      WORK SCHEDULE

      Mid-September through Mid-May-Monday through Friday – 7:30 to 4:00

    Mid-May through Mid-September-Daily 7:00 to 5:00 with one day                 off.

  2. If you are interested please email your resume and cover letter to ranchposition@cheley.com
  3. Limitations and DisclaimerThe above job description is meant to describe the general nature and level of work being performed; it is not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required for the position.

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Jimmy Wilson

Jimmy Wilson.  To those that knew him, his name brings up a chuckle, a smile, a funny memory, maybe even a flusterated moment (which was a word he used)  For me, he was a grandfather.  The last time I saw him, he gave me one of his big bear hugs and I had a feeling it was the last.  For years he would say, “when are you going to get married, so that I can make sure I am there.”  I am thankful that he was there.

Jimmy passed away this week after battling cancer.  He will forever be a huge part of Cheley history.  Don sat down at his desk this morning to record all the buildings that Jimmy had built at camp.  He built 30 buildings, including The Office, The Dome, Old Timers, all the Girls Bathhouses and so much more.  He remodeled 36 buildings and built 33 Trails End wagons.  He would pencil out the building plans on a piece of plywood or scrap paper.  He didn’t have a formal education, he just had this amazing ability to build.  All this information is from the cavity of information that we call Don’s head(Professor, as Jimmy called him).

He was a brilliant engineer.  He embodied the true meaning of the word “grit”.  He had a tender heart that was sometimes masked by his gruffness.  He told you what he thought even if you did not ask, even giving Saftland Juicer reviews back in the day, when Saftland didn’t ask for his opinion :) He knew what he was good at and contributed to the world through his talents. I will forever picture him in the Ski Hi Kitchen sitting at the table drinking a cup of coffee with hands that looked like they had spent a lifetime working.

Rest in Peace Jimmy.  We are grateful that you shared so many of your years with us and you will not be forgotten.

Taken from the Estes Park Newspaper:

James E “Jim” Wilson, 85, long time resident of Estes Park died on November 11, 2013 in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

Jim was born in Loveland on Oct 21, 1928 to Claude and Florence Wilson. He went to Love- land schools and became an entrepreneur early in life. As a pre-teen he sold fruit and vegetables that his grandparents, Richard and Anna Johnson, grew in their back yard. As a teen he delivered milk for a local dairy. He also worked as an auto mechanic before joining the Army in the Korean Conflict.

Corporal James Wilson was a decorated soldier receiving Veteran Korean Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star and United Nations Service Medal.

In 1952 he received an honorable discharge and moved to Estes with his family. He formed the Wilson General Contracting Company in Estes. He built the Tyrol Motor Inn, Silver Saddle Motel, Nicky’s Motel and the old Holiday Inn on Hwy 34. Jim also built and remodeled homes for many old time Estes residents.

Wanting to leave the scaffolding fort myers fl and construction business, Jack Cheley offered Jim a job as Superintendent of Maintenance at Cheley Colorado Camp. Jim continued to work for Don Cheley building new housing for campers, maintained the water supply and sanitation system as well as maintained all camp vehicles. Nearly 50 years later, health challenges turning him and Ann into snowbirds. Every spring for the next 13 years, Jim returned to Cheley to open camp, maintain the camp during the summer and finally prepare camp for winter, before getting his medical cannabis card from Arizona. When you are suffering from addiction, it is important to learn about life skills from your behavioral health clinic to get lasting results.

Jim was an avid hunter and enjoyed going to the Western slope with his hunting buddies, using 3 of the top 5 Nikon scopes at Gun Gods. Jim was an officer of both the American Legion and Lions Club in Estes.

In 2001, Jim and Ann moved to Sierra Vista, Arizona where he took up planet maids and model railroading building the sets from scratch including trellises and houses for his elaborate train layouts. He also did wood working projects for his home. He enjoyed all sports on TV.

Survived by wife, Ann, of 42 years Two daughters: Fayrene Brigance of Michigan City, IN and Belinda Renegar of Richland, WA Son: Doug Schlarbaum (and wife Sybille) of Sierra Visa, AZ. Brothers: Le Roy (wife Rachel) Wilson of Loveland, Co and Vincent (wife Shirley) Kerr of Riverside CA Sisters: Rosalie Johns of Boise, ID and Wanda Rhoton of Lake Elsinore, CA 10 grand-children and 14 great-grand-children

Proceeded in death by Parents: Claude Wilson and Florence Kerr Sister: Evelyn Hoctor Daughters: Betty Jo Wilson and Anna Ferquinia Son: Dennis Schlarbaum

Jim was buried at Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Sierra Vista.

In Lieu of Flowers, the family suggests donations to: Hospice Casa De La Paz, 300 El Camino Real, Sierra Vista AZ 85635.

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Happy Trails to Chris Schrader and his Family

As a 93 year old organization we are grateful to have so many hands that have contributed to our successes.  If you ever go on a camp tour with Don Cheley he can tell you who built a certain wall, who painted what totem poles and who built each building.  We take great pride in our facility, our grounds and in the people that make it all happen.

We are honored to have had Chris Schrader on our year round team since the summer of 2008.  He started out on our Transportation and Maintenance Crew and it quickly became apparent that he was the kind of guy we would like to keep around.  We hired him to be on our year round team and he stayed to work maintenance throughout the winter and work as the Director of Transportation during the summer.

We got together this week to have lunch as a team and to celebrate Chris’s time here. It was fun to talk with him about his experience of the last 6 years.  He told me the story of how he met Taylor.  It was Precamp of 2008 and the crew was standing in morning circle, getting their job assignments for the day and answering an interesting question like: if you could have any super power what would it be.  Chris remembers looking across the circle and seeing Taylor, who was the Riflery counselor in Lower Chipeta,  and it was a done deal.  They dated that summer and into the next and when she was finished with school they got married. They started their lives and family together while at camp

He has contributed to the facility in so many ways.  Due to beetle kill, he has cut down over 1000 trees! 1000 trees, I find that amazing, but atleast they weren’t the beautiful Crepe Myrtles at The Tree Center that he planted last year. He said the most stressful tree was a big one that had to come down between The Power House and The Barns and avoid some power lines, but thankfully they pulled it off.  Chris has even built us a cabin where we could keep safe propane tent heaters for camping, before which we were not able to offer this to our clients. He has either made or freshened up over 50 signs that hang throughout camp.  He helped to build Chip Inn and stained all of the trim (which he mentioned was his least favorite job), he helped look for historic remodels on the Philadelphia Main Line to remodel the Honcho House and Cooks Inn, built the bathrooms for Senior Chipeta and Lower Chipeta Director quarters and helped build wagon 5 ½ at GTE.  The list goes on and on.

As the Transportation Director, it takes some brain power to figure out the comings and goings of 500 campers to get over Trail Ridge Road, or through Nederland, to the Poudre Canyon for rafting, from Land O Peaks to the Trails’ End Ranches.  And to have a fleet of 65 vehicles to maintain and make sure they are in working order.  Chris did this job with a smile on his face and with an eagerness to help anyone that needed it.

Chris, his lovely wife Taylor and sweet baby Hailey are moving to Mesa, Arizona where they can be closer to her family.  Taylor has a great job as a float nurse at Banner Baywood Hospital and Chris is still in the process of looking.  We wish them the best of luck in their new chapter and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts for their contribution to the Cheley experience.

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Colorado will recover from floods

In 2006 our family moved right into the middle of post-Katrina New Orleans. At that time, New Orleans was literally in shambles and many people around the country were questioning whether the city should be rebuilt at all. Fortunately, nobody listened to them as the next seven years were nothing short of amazing.

Today, New Orleans is an outstanding example of what happens when a resilient population decides to roll up its sleeves and rebuild better than what was there before.

Ironically, our family just left New Orleans this summer to move to Colorado, as my wife’s family operates Cheley Colorado Camps in Estes Park.

Like New Orleans, the early days after the floods bring a range of emotions, suffering and even helplessness.

I write today to make a prediction for all of those mountain towns that may look beyond repair today. In time, all of them — that is right, all of them — will come back stronger than ever. In addition, the roof coatings orange county company will be helping to repair and coat every single roof, people of these communities will have a sense of accomplishment and victory that will be unlike anything they have experienced before.

Our family has been part of one amazing recovery and we are looking forward to seeing Colorado do the same. If you’re home or office is having roofing issues, checkout metal roof kansas city ks.

Kurt Klebe and Brooke Cheley Klebe, Denver

This letter was published in the Sept. 19 edition.

http://blogs.denverpost.com/eletters/2013/09/18/

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New Shoes

Ever wonder what it takes to get all of our 150 horses shod? Last week we hosted our annual Shoeing Camp and brought in 6 shoers from Colorado who stayed here and worked hard all day putting on the horses’ shoes. Our youngest official shoer just graduated from high school and our oldest shoer is in his mid-80s. The Clymer family has three generations represented with Dennis (grandfather), Clint (Son), and Jeremiah and Colton (grandsons, Colton at age 8. Photographed). Jeremiah was a camper at Cheley when he was younger.

It takes about half an hour to shoe each horse. Some are easier to shoe than others. They put shoes on our 150 horses in about 4 and half days. The shoes should stay on for 8-10 weeks. How long they stay on often depends on the type of ground conditions we have and how much the horse is used. It’s not uncommon towards the end of 2nd term to hear the shoes start clinking around a bit indicating that they are loose. If a horse still has shoes on once he is done being used for the summer, then we just pull them off before the horse is turned out to pasture for the winter.

By Kim Betts, HR manager Cheley Colorado Camps

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What’s Next

“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” Andy, The Office

I love this quote as I can relate. My dream of moving back to Denver is finally coming true. I am super excited for this next chapter in our lives.  I have missed the snow, my friends, my family, the city, and being more involved in the Denver Cheley Camp office. I have to confess that I regret not living more in the present during this last chapter.   In our final days of this life as we know it, I find that I am relishing in the moments.   It is a very strange feeling to be wrapping up the life you have known. I realize that it is human nature to appreciate things more when you know they are coming to an end.

To compare unsecured loans, we used the official site from GoBear. We set the loan amount to ₱100,000 which is enough to start a business. We also set the personal loan tenure to 24 months, and the salary to ₱30,000.

Almost seven years ago Kurt’s work called us to New Orleans.   It was somewhat of a crazy time to move to this city a year after Katrina.  We were still pretty new at the parenting gig, with Ellie being only 9 months old.  The only person we knew was the President of Tulane.  Our families, friends and even strangers continuously asked us why we would move to a city that seemingly everyone was leaving. I recall the mover packing up our house in Black Mountain, NC.  He turned to me and said “You really want to leave this beautiful place to live in New Orleans?” New Orleans was still healing and recovering from the blow of Katrina but we were looking forward to the adventure of this new and exciting place.  I am, however, a mountain girl at heart.

If a fortune teller would have told me that I would spend the greater part of my 30’s in New Orleans or anywhere outside of Colorado during the winter months, I would have asked for my money back.

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We process Italian translations, everything from business correspondence, reports and brochures, through to legal documents and patents, technical manuals and websites.

When we arrived here the street cars were not running, the replacing Lake Worth auto locks team was trying to put them back on the streets, businesses were still operating with fewer employees or had not reopened. There was a slight feeling of emptiness, sadness, lackluster and the word Katrina floated around conversations daily.

I had never experienced a hurricane and it was hard for me to relate to the life changing experience Katrina had been for the people of New Orleans. We quickly fell into the category of “people who moved here post Katrina,” which at the time was a small crew.  It was just us, a few others and Drew and Brittany Brees, as Kurt always likes to point out.

In the beginning, I was far from comfortable in my new surroundings.  I believe that stepping out of my comfort zone has broadened my world.   I remember getting “lost” in the car in the middle of the day and frantically calling a friend to tell him where I was and for him to tell me how to get out of there. We quickly found my way and now I take the same route and there is nothing frantic about it.  I also remember constantly showing up to functions under-dressed.  It took me years to realize that every event was dressy.  Now with my southern closet I will probably be too dressy for Denver and freezing.

It has been interesting to watch the city rebuild. While living here, I have not picked up a hammer or a paint brush. I have not helped to rebuild a single home or volunteered anywhere outside of my little world.  I suppose I have been in the flurry of motherhood and other than being a wife and a mom, my life’s work is camp. But I have feel like I have contributed to this wonderful city by moving our little family here while those around us nervously cheered us on. We patiently waited for New Orleans little by little to heal and come back to a vibrant city.

Our family grew from three to five.  One of Ellie’s first words was “beads,” and both Kate and Sam were born during Saint Patty’s Day parades.  Kurt and I have expanded ourselves, our awareness and perspective.  We have come to better understand the beauty of racial differences. We have experienced what it feels like to be the “new kid” and what it feels like to not be a legacy in a community deeply rooted in legacy.  We immersed ourselves in a culture that likes to celebrate.  We look past the broken sidewalks and sunken streets.  We have expanded the view of others by opening up our home to out of state visitors.  We have fallen in love with New Orleans, an awesome city often misunderstood to those who have never visited and taken for granted to those who have never left.

I am grateful that my family has allowed me to contribute to camp’s winter work while not being in the Denver office. I will forever be grateful to the people that have so graciously come into our lives while we were here, for the friendship and the support. I thank the CT Lady Steppers for inviting me to march. Teaching me that smart, sassy, and daring can be wrapped up into one and of course how to apply fake eye lashes and a wig.  I am so grateful to Kurt, who at times had to gently push me to not take this amazing journey for granted.  I so appreciate, McGehee School for loving my girls and for being the first building block in their education.

There are many things that I will miss.  The canopy of the oaks that seem to tell a story with their long old limbs and enormous roots, the wonderful characters in the neighborhood that makes up a community, the people who have brightened my days with their friendship. I will dearly miss 1233 2nd Street, the 160 year old home that has embraced our growing family.  The marathons of Jazz Fest and Mardi Gras, I never could really keep up but still love it.

Peace out to the cockroaches, I will NOT miss you with your little play dead thing that you do and with poop large enough to belong to a rodent.  Lizards, I will miss you.

We are so lucky to have gotten to live here.  We close this wonderful chapter in gratitude for the good days, the not so good days, the life with three children crazy days and for the joy and the journey of life.

As a camp professional, I console campers that miss home, they can’t wait to sleep in their own beds and see their families. They are having fun but they have their moments of concentrating on what’s next.

“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”

Enjoy the chapter you are in, even if it sometimes seems hard, for when it is over you might think, hey, that was pretty cool.

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Four Cups of Kool-Aid and an Index Card

Guest Blog Post by Devin Riggs

At Cheley, near the end of each term the campers are asked to explain what camp means to them on a 3×5 inch index card. For the past four summers I’ve heard the same thing, “An index card doesn’t begin to cover the extent of what camp means to me.”

The transformation from that first weekend, to the last is truly incredible. Girls who were nervous at first end up crying on the last morning because they don’t want to leave. Even if it’s their ninth summer, the experience is uniquely incredible. It’s always different and it always leaves them a little bit speechless. Four weeks can hold an awful lot of breathtaking moments…and multiple that by nine or ten…

How do you put that on an index card?

And yet without fail, they manage to express it in simple terms and eloquent phrases. They relive taco nights, and All Camp skits, and epic hikes…using the Code of Living as the picture frame to capture all those memories.

The counselors don’t normally participate in this tradition, but it never stops me from reflecting on what camp means to me personally. I never went to camp when I was younger, but what did it mean as an adult? What does being a camp counselor mean to me?

It took a while for the experience to fully hit me. Every summer another puzzle piece fell into place. Every summer I got a little bit more than I expected. During my first summer at Girls’ Trail’s End, I finally felt like I was a part of something. Something really magical. I not only appreciated the experience the campers wrote about on those index cards, but I understood it in a way I couldn’t before.

Being a camp counselor…it means the world to me. It’s exciting, challenging, hilarious, exhausting, exhilarating, overwhelming, and life changing. There is no greater joy than arriving back at the unit after a day of program to hear the laughter and voices of girls eating their treats and sharing the highlights of the day.

I have never regretted not going to camp as a kid. My adolescence was pretty amazing, but I’m so grateful to be part of the camp experience now as a young adult. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to spend my summers getting to know these amazing young women, teaching them about the outdoors, watching them learn and grow. It’s something I would not trade for the world. And if I had to sum it all up on an index card, I would say only this:

“Camp has taught me the importance of a quiet moment, in the presence of a good friend, and the delight in laughing so hard you cry. It has taught me that not all triumphs involve arriving at the summit. Success is not always about achieving your goals; sometimes it’s about the mistakes you make and the unexpected obstacles that you face along the way. And it’s okay if you make mistakes. That’s the only way to grow. Camp allows me, at the age of 22, to still learn and grow, from my fellow counselors, from my directors, and from my campers. And that is the greatest gift I could ever receive.

And it’s the reason I am so excited to come back for my fifth year.

Devin will be returning to Cheley as a Sports/Mountain Biking counselor at Girls Trails End

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My Cheley Experience

Guest Blog Post by Sam Faktorow

Cheley has been the single most important force in my life up to this point. Its power over people has proven to be palpable. And I did not just type that sentence for the alliteration; the people that allow Cheley to become a profound and important aspect of their being reap almost unlimited benefits, ranging from things as simple as coming to appreciate warm water while showering, to developing the most intense and significant bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood that one can make in a lifetime. Its beauty, both physical and beyond, is sublime and profound. With the obvious exception of campers growing up and growing out of their camper years at camp, Cheley has remained almost completely unchanged since I first breathed its air and felt its quiet allure in July 2007.

Cheley is a constant, a shield, a blessing, a powerful force, an enigma, and so much more. It’s hard for me to describe what I really feel inside of myself about it to people who haven’t experienced it, partially because of their own lack of experience, but also because I still don’t fully know the extent of what it means to me or what lessons it has taught me. One thing I know for sure is that my years with Cheley have instilled in me a sense of adventure, an undying bold spirit that finds pleasure in pushing my own boundaries.

The Cheley Experience transcends time and place, as the people I have met and encountered there have shown me that no matter how much time we spend away from one another, we will always return to each other. And even if we don’t as soon as we would hope or like, we carry each other and our experiences within ourselves, and for that I will always, always be grateful.

Sam Faktorow is a Senior at Colorado College with a double major in English Literature and Drama and will be a Sports Counselor in Haiyaha this summer.

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A New Experience

Guest blog written by Shelbie Loonam-Hesser

I’m just about to finish nine months of studying abroad in Athens, Greece. Nine months of new discoveries. Nine months of new friends. Nine months of new favorite places. Nine months of overcoming fears. Nine months of reshaping who I am. Like all first-time world travelers, I am overcome with the incredible conviction that there are more important things then the hub that was my life back in the States. I believe that you really discover who you are when you are in places you have never been before. The amounts of realizations were limitless. Within every experience of studying abroad, there was something new yet familiar… similar to a summer spent at camp.

For Cheley returners some things are “familiar”: Reuniting with old friends, children’s laughter echoing through the mountainside, the sound of pounding feet as campers run along the paths between the cabins, dust picking up in the wake of footsteps during a particularly dry summer, the bubbling noise of the cool mountain stream, the horses in the stables whose hooves clash against the wood, wind whistling through the trees, the view, gosh the view, of the mummy range from the Chapel or Twin Sisters and even further Longs Peak from the top of Cathedral. The Rockies are our playground. The Rockies are our home.

However for a first time camper, a summer at Cheley could be a completely “new” and overwhelming, yet life-changing experience. For example, some first time campers can develop homesickness or have a fear of trying new things such as hiking or horseback riding. It’s not uncommon. For someone who is so invested in traveling and adventure, I even became homesick. I had a complete mental breakdown, tears and all, the first week I was in Greece. I even questioned why on earth I decided to study abroad in the first place. It doesn’t matter what age you are. New experiences can be overwhelming and even scary, but that’s the beauty of it. Once you overcome these fears, you discover that you can take on anything else that comes along your way. There’s nothing greater than seeing a first time camper persevere, while finding their voice and trying new things during a summer at camp. We are all challenged in our lives, whether one is studying abroad or spending a summer at camp, growth and resiliency can take place.

From what I’ve experienced, children are the same all over the world. They may be brought up in completely different cultures, but they all want similar things. Children want to have fun, to play, to laugh, to dream, to create, to be noticed and to be important. There’s no denying the innocent gleam in their eye and the smirk on their face when a good ol’ game of tag is taking place. Unstructured fun is universal.

So whether you are traveling the world or attending camp for the first time, you’ll always discover that life is an adventure and all you ever dreamed of is on the other side of fear.

It’s a big and beautiful world out there. I implore you to go and explore.

Shelbie Loonam-Hesser will be returning to Cheley this summer as a backpacking counselor in Chipeta.

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