Our mission

Dear Cheley family

“We build the lasting character and resiliency of young people, creating unique life experiences in a challenging and nurturing natural environment.”

“Great things happen when youth and mountains meet.”

Our mission guides us everyday.  We realize we have set our standards high, and it takes a diligent effort to achieve our mission every summer.  Building lasting character and resiliency can be difficult.  Resiliency is defined as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.”  To strengthen resiliency, one has to experience challenge and change.  At Cheley, this may mean failing to reach the peak on a hike because of weather or a slow hiker in the group, or not receiving a recognition or patch because the camper did not stay focused on the goal.  It may mean falling off a horse or not getting all of your first choices for activities.  These setbacks give both campers and staff an opportunity to strengthen their resiliency.

Building resiliency helps build character.  Character is often revealed in challenging times which means there may be occasions when campers and staff have to be tested.  These tests may come in not getting along with a bunk mate, waiting out a storm in a tent all day, or struggling to ride a mountain bike up the Cheley Challenge.  Overcoming challenges teaches children that they can overcome other challenges.  Every year we hear stories of campers who have drawn on their growth from camp when they are meeting tribulations at school or with friends.  This nature of growth develops through success and failure.

Our goal this summer is to witness as many camper and staff successes as possible.  We also realize there will be some failures.  As an organization, our goal is not only to be one of the premier summer camps, but to be a shining example of an extraordinary company.  We strive to succeed in our customer service, our relationships, and our communication.  Unfortunately, there may be a few times when we will miss the mark.  I invite you, actually I beg you, please to let me know when we miss the mark.  And please let me know as soon as it happens so we can do whatever we can to fix it.  Even after 92 years in business, there are areas where we can grow and improve.  I also love to hear specific examples when our staff exceeds expectations.  I love to share those stories with the entire staff and especially the specific staff member.

In closing, I want to thank you.  To thank you for your continued support of Frank Cheley’s vision; for entrusting us with the development and growth of your children; for your belief in the impact on a child who spends time in the wilderness surrounded by strong role-models; for understanding the value of a camp experience, and thank you for spreading the word about the impact of a summer at Cheley Camps.

In these difficult economic times, we realize that families have to make tough decisions.  We feel Cheley is a valuable experience in the growth and development of a child who only has so many years to experience childhood.  As we plan for this summer, we realize we have a commitment to you to provide a magical, transformational experience for your child and your family.


Jeff Cheley and the Cheley Staff

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The Seasons of a Camp Director

It’s March 1st. I can’t believe it is March 1st.   Almost daily, I think, where is the time going?  I never feel like I can fit it all in.   I always want it to slow down just a touch or have a couple more hours in the day.  I jokingly ask Ellie and Kate if they can please stop growing because there is a part of me that wishes they would stay little forever. I revel in their little hands and feet, their missing teeth, the pictures they draw, the things they say and the little I love you notes they write. I don’t really want these seasons to race by. By the way, for the adults who have a missing tooth, they can have dental implants downers grove il here at websterdds.com

For the past couple of years, we have been working with a family business consultant.  As we have moved into the 4th generation of Cheley, it remains a priority for our family business that we dot our i’s, cross our t’s and everything in between. We often touch on the seasonal aspect of our lives. In the fall we take a quick breath and get back into the routine of our non-camp life, we call our city friends back, remind them that we exist and make plans for lunch.  In the winter we think, what can we accomplish now so we are better prepared later, what can we be doing better, and what can we learn from our colleagues as we travel to conferences and educational sessions?   And then we start to see the spring approach, we sneak in a family vacation and some date nights.  We know that it passes so quickly, and we are back into the fun, non-stop, throws of summer.  And through all the seasons, we work to put together the 200 staff that will make the summer magical and enroll the amazing campers and families that so graciously come into our lives.

As camp directors, our whole professional purpose is to prepare for the summer.   It’s like a wonderfully big deadline on the horizon.  It’s Showtime.  We have three summer months to deliver the awesome experience that we promised we would.

I continue to strive to live in the moment and embrace the passing of seasons.  Hello March and Spring.  Summer here we come.  Bring it on.

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Ann McCollum’s trek in Nepal

After six years as a camper and four years as a backpacking counselor at Cheley, in 1988 I signed up for a course with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) to broaden my experience, to get beyond the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and also to see if the backcountry skills I had learned and practiced were universal.  Did the skills and knowledge I learned at Cheley line up with what other backpackers, hikers, and climbers were doing in the mountains?  Could I “hang” with them? So I embarked on a 35 day mountaineering course in the Alaska Range, traveling over, living on, and climbing up ice and glaciers in the shadow of Mt. Denali.  The verdict? A definitive ‘YES.’  Cheley taught me very well, and I have since gone on to build a career leading and educating others in the outdoors and pursuing my own adventures around the world.

Recently I trekked for three weeks in a remote region of Nepal – an area called Dolpo — high on the northwestern Tibetan border.  Once again, the 30 year old foundation of my Cheley experience kicked in along with jets wäre somit Chat as I adventured high into the Himalayas, well over 16,000 feet.  I was comfortable carrying a pack, knew how to live comfortably in a tent, loved rest days when I could sit in my Crazy Creek chair for hours on end soaking in the warmth of the sun, had become adept at spotting camouflaged animals in the rocky crags, and was confident that this entire experience would earn a five-star rating.  I even drew on the well-practiced art of pacing myself and playing encouraging “tapes” in my head when the going got tough . . .

Step.  Breathe.  Step.  Breathe.  Step.  Breathe.

Don’t look up.  Just keep moving.  The pass is high.  Just get to that rock, your next landmark.  Two more landmarks and you can stop to rest . . . have some water.

Finding my rhythm of breathing, carefully mapping out my line up the talus trail, and stepping gently, I glanced at my altimeter.  14,200 feet.  Hmmm, that’s Long’s Peak. Breathe.  400 more feet to go to the campsite.  I can do this.  Almost there.

When I arrived at the campsite perched high in a rocky couloir, the last to arrive, I turned and looked back down, then across the valley to the un-named 16,000 foot peak draped in glaciers.  I did it! I breathed a deep breath, one that you could only get when you stopped moving.  Catching my breathe and turning to look around the campsite, the others were busy getting their gear in order, adding layers, and settling in.  It was a rather lonely arrival, but I was relieved to be there.

I scrambled to find my tent which had already been pitched by our team of porters, and just as the sun went down, dropping temperatures at least 30 degrees in just a few minutes, I dove in, exhausted.  I thought about the evening ahead of me:  Change clothes and get warm, have a hot drink and dinner, get to sleep.  Tomorrow we would wake in the cold shadow of 14,600 feet and prepare to climb over the next pass at 16,400.  It would be a challenge for me, because I was struggling with an illness which came over me just as we gained significant altitude — an illness which was the basis for my late arrival and eventual helicopter evacuation from the trek — and I was low on energy.

In my tent I had time to lie there under my down bag and reflect on my struggle – Why is this so hard for me? Besides the physical illness, there is something else . . . what was it?

The next day as I started ahead of the group and was eventually passed by everyone except my trusty Tibetan friends, Thinle and his horse (who were both charged with keeping an eye on me!), I began to reflect on my experiences climbing a mountain or meeting a challenge at Cheley.  Approaching a summit of a peak or a pass, whether one was at the front, the middle, or the end, there was always a sense of accomplishment as a group.  There were words of encouragement, there were shouts up and down of “Way to go!” and “Keep it up!”  If you were the last to crest the summit, often someone waited for you, grabbed your hand, and walked the last few steps in unison, laughing, smiling, high fives all around.  At the least they were shouting encouragement from above until the moment you stepped up. And then, for the final celebration, the group sang “Netherlands” together, arms around one another’s shoulders, basking together in the fellowship of accomplishment.

This is what was missing.

Though I was with an amazing group of people – one of the best, most fun, and interesting groups I have ever trekked with — we were a group of individuals reaching individual goals, not a cohesive unit, succeeding and failing together.

It took me several weeks after I returned home (and a body full of oxygen) to fully absorb this realization. Something nagged at me about the experience.  Don’t get me wrong, it was an amazing experience, and I learned a lot about myself, made solid friends within the group, and experienced the culture of Dolpo that was unforgettable. But I realized that the culture that defines the Cheley experience, that of accomplishing a challenge together, the intentional fellowship, is what gives such a wilderness challenge its lasting deep meaning.  There is a difference between being alone in a group and being in alliance to reach your goals.  I prefer the latter when I am faced with the challenges of the mountains, and I am grateful to Cheley for modeling and personifying this for me as a youth.

So, with Dick the Bunny strapped in his usual spot on the back of my pack, I will continue to explore the peaks and valleys of the highest cathedrals of the world, always learning, always growing, and always carrying the strength of Cheley fellowship to help me over those high passes.

Please join me on a trek to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, this May 2012 – it’s the ultimate extension of you Cheley experience!  If interested, contact me at abmcc64@aol.com.

For a description of the trek go to  http://www.kamzang.com/KamzangJourneys/featured-treks/kamzang-nepal-everest-base-camp-trek.htm.  For more information on me, visit my website at www.annmccollum.com.  Hope to hear from you!

–Ann McCollum

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Don and Carole Cheley’s trip to China

After returning from almost three weeks in Hong Kong and China we know one thing for sure, international travel is an educational experience. At the International Camp Congress in Hong Kong, Don and I joined with camp people from all over the world. There are camps in Turkey that serve primarily Saudi Arabians, & Turks. In Greece, just three hours from Athens, a daughter and her mom run a camp on a the Aegean sea, serving kids from Greece. With the debt crisis in Greece, running a financially viable camp is a challenge.

Across the ocean to Asia, camps in Taiwan, Singapore and Mongolia are doing well, as are camps in Russia. In Japan, camp directors are getting trained to work with grieving children. Japan will soon offer grief camps for the thousands of children affected by the earthquake/tsunami. Japanese camp directors came to a grief camp in Texas this past summer to visit and learn. Our neighbors up north in Canada and down south in Mexico and Colombia continue to offer excellent programs for youth as well. Across the world, “camp gives kids a world of good.”

We also had the chance to go to Stanley Market in Hong Kong to visit with Cheley alum Andy Aldeen and his family.  We love to reconnect with our wonderful alumni.

As soon as the conference was over, we flew to Beijing where we were able to connect with Andy Schorr, another Cheley alum, who moved there to teach English. Andy has a new business for local hotels to subscribe to for their guests.   It specializes in giving tips on where to eat and what to do in Beijing. He treated us to some amazing meals in places most tourists would never know about! And gave us tips about the less visited places in the city that were fabulous.

We saw all the sights in the Beijing area we could in three days, including the Forbidden Palace, The Summer Palace, Tienanmen Square, Bell Tower, Drum Tower, Markets, and The Great Wall of China (about 40k from the city). Our next stop was a grand visit to the Terra Cotta Warriors, followed by a cruise on the Yangtze River and the Three Gorges Dam site, then on to Shanghai.  We hear that another alum, Thomas Demerath lives there, but we were unable to reach him.  Saying goodbye to our fellow travelers on our China tour, we returned to Denver from Shanghai.

Our trip was memorable, we saw and experienced so many wonders, the air was dirty, there were lots of people, and China was a fascinating, quickly developing country with a history that spans 5,000 years.

Don and I loved our tour and are grateful for the opportunity to explore the globe. It is truly a privilege to be broadened and deepened by our exposure to different cultures. We are excited to be working with directors from Colombia, Turkey and Russia to bring kids from those countries to Cheley next summer. Peace through the camp experience is our wish for the future.

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Let’s All Create Meaningful Relationships at Cheley

Let’s All Create Meaningful Relationships at Cheley was the spirit button for this summer. As we looked at the goals for this past summer during the spring, we realized we have a wonderful opportunity to teach young people how to create meaningful relationships. In today’s world, so much of our communication is in short bursts. Whether it is a text message, a tweet, or a Facebook post, people are not taking the time to connect meaningfully with each other. We are even shortening our responses to save time. LOL, BFF, and other acronyms are used to make our short communication even shorter. (I feel my grandmother is speaking through my hands right now; she hated it when we shortened words.)

I love the conversations that happen around a campfire. Boys feel more comfortable talking if they can be burning a stick in the fire. There is no rush to finish dinner, cleanup and start your homework on an outcamp. The same is true on a hike or a horseback ride. Campers and staff have the chance to get into debates, tell stories, and really learn about their fellow campers. Even 20 years later, I can remember listening to my backpacking counselor as he recounted his travels through Europe. These stories of the slotenmaker amsterdam were so captivating that I added a trip to Europe to my “bucket list”. After college graduation, three friends and I headed to Europe to travel for 7 weeks. Our budget was about $30 per day, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. Plus, there is no way I could do it on $30 per day now. Prices have increased and my standards have changed. (I can’t sleep on the floor of a train station anymore.)

Don’t get me wrong, life is busy and we don’t always have time to sit down for 30 minutes and visit. Just this morning while Jackson was eating breakfast in his high chair, he said, “Daddy, sit down”. “I am sorry Jackson, Daddy has a meeting this morning and I have to go,” I replied. I could just hear Cats in the Cradle playing in my head.

Fortunately, we have some relaxing weekends where I can sit down during breakfast and we can talk. Jackson is entering the “Why” stage so we always have things to talk about.

I hope each camper and staff member had a chance to create meaningful relationships this summer.

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The beauty of all of this technology is it makes it easier to nurture th0se relationships during the school year. Hopefully many of you are able to continue the quality conversations to strengthen the conversations rather than just quick texts. It was an amazing summer, and I hope you are still enjoying the impact of the Cheley Experience.

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Halloween Candy and the Empowerment of Choice

The fall is flying, and it has now been two weeks since Halloween.  I have to say, I am proud of my girls and how they have handled the bag-full of candy that hangs on a small hook in our kitchen right over our best Skining knife we got from the internet.  This bag-full of goodies does not usually live in our house, mainly because I cannot handle myself around such tempting treats.

On Halloween night, as we walked in the front door (before our cabinet painting night) I stared down into two bags filled with junk, I thought, “Ugh, this is a lot of sugar.” My girls looked so cute in their costumes and i even purchased some silver fang grillz to get into the Halloween spirit with them. I called an official family meeting, and we sat in a circle in the entry way. “Girls let’s talk about this candy.  You both have a choice to make; are you ready to hear your three choices?” They sat there looking at me very attentively.  “You can eat as much candy that you can possibly fit in your bellies right now, until you barf all over the place. (I kind of wanted this option to sound a bit unglamorous) You can eat candy for the next three days and then trade the rest for a small toy, or you can eat one single piece of candy in your lunch box until Thanksgiving.”  Ellie thought for a bit and asked, “what if we go past Thanksgiving?”  I agreed to a modification, knowing that with a little help from me, the candy will probably be gone by then anyway.

And so we hung up their little felt pumpkin bags on the hook (when I was a kid we used our pillow case) and hurried them to bed.

On Tuesday, we had our usual morning of racing around the house getting ready for school. Ellie remembered the decision that she had made.  She carefully picked out a piece of candy and tucked in her lunch box.  Kate does not eat lunch at school and of course pressed me on wanting her candy for breakfast, because what does she not press me on?  After some debate with Kate her piece of candy went in the school bag for later.

We have followed this procedure everyday since Halloween, and they have not once asked for more then one treat.  The minute I pick up Kate from school, she will reach into her school bag and get the piece of candy that she has so patiently been waiting to eat. Now I, on the other hand, am a different story and can not hold myself to one treat a day and cannot wait for the candy to be out of my house.  I am toying with the idea of entering the Biltmore Estate Gingerbread Making Contest to get rid of the rest of the candy for my sake.

I, of course, did not invent the brilliantness of giving children choices, but I am a firm believer in doing so and try to use the methods of Love and Logic. It is amazing to see it work with my children especially when I sometimes feel like I do not have the skills to handle the out of control management of their young childhood.

I also believe that Frank Cheley had a great idea when he was establishing the foundation for Cheley.  Two of his main formulas for camp included youth having the empowerment of choice.  For the Code of Living, it was his intention that each unit of 60 campers come up with what they want to live by while they are at camp. It is not a set of rules made for them, but rather a collaboration of qualities and traits to live up to.  This set-up makes up for a magical place and a tightly-knit community. He also devised the free choice program, in which campers, each week, choose what they want to do.  They do not travel with their cabin, nor are they given a schedule; it is their choice.

As a mother, in the throws of raising little people, I find comfort and sanity in the idea of giving my girls a choice when I can.  As a fourth generation camp director, I am proud to continue to help provide a place where children can grow, connect, learn, and experience nature, and I find value in empowering them to choose.

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Thinking of Cheley parents

Erika and I are getting our first taste of what our camp families go through.  Jackson, our two and a half year old son, started preschool this year for two days a week.  Many of our experiences in this process have made me think of our camp parents.

  1. This has been our first experience with all the paperwork.  (“Why do they need so many forms?  Oh wait, never mind, we also ask for this many forms.”)
  2. We have also been busy putting his name on everything that leaves the house (I am starting to consider putting him in the same clothes on school days).  And I have to be honest, we have already lost our first sweater (of course it was Erika’s favorite sweater) and broke a water bottle at school.  And it’s only been 4 days!
  3. I had no idea how hard it would be to drop him off the first few days of school.  I leave him every day to come to work but it is different when he is not at home with Grandma or our nanny, Stacie.  Both Erika and I walked out of the school on his first day very emotional.  Erika got the car and started crying (I was able to choke it back, but just barely).  I thought to myself, “he is only gone til 4:00pm, not 27 days.”  I remind myself that this is beneficial for his development as a child.  He is learning to interact with other children, how to follow the rules, how to share with other children.  He can’t necessarily learn these things at home playing with “Nana” and his little brother.
  4. During our visiting day, I was amazed that as a protective parent, I was already looking at the other children.  We realize the importance of connecting our child with other quality children from caring families.

So I want to say thank you.  Thank you to each of our families for trusting us as your partners in this parenting process.  Thank you for helping us by filling out the forms and writing your name in the clothes so we can get them back to you.  And thank you for understanding that experiences like summer camp (or preschool) help children develop into stronger young people that contribute to their community.

Let the journey continue for us all.

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The Cheley Challenge

Upon the return of every mountain bike excursion, I am drawn away from my desk to the cheers of the campers outside, atop the Cheley driveway.  This 1-mile strip of pure incline is the last obstacle each mountain biker has to face before their trek is complete.  They call it the “Cheley Challenge”.  With each group I am always astonished with the physical prowess they display as they ferociously pedal to the top.  The quickness some campers have in conquering this hill is equally astounding, some doing in it in less than 6 minutes.  However, what is most impressive to me is the camaraderie and support within each one of these groups.  All though exhausted after a grueling ride, these riders still has the energy to cheer on their fellow campers until every last biker is to the top.  I have seen some campers struggling to stay on their bike, too tired to go on, but with the support of the group, they are rejuvenated and power through to the top.

I am constantly amazed at the encouragement the campers have for one another.  Whether it’s biking the Cheley Challenge, summating a peak, or simply playing a game of “knock out”, it is done as a unified and supportive group.  The bonds formed at Cheley are deep and the development of lifelong friendships is inevitable.

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The Dreamers, the Doers and those in between

In 1883, an engineer named John Roebling was inspired by an idea to build a bridge connecting New York to Long Island. But bridge building experts throughout the world thought that this was an impossible feat and told Roebling to forget the idea. It just could not be done. It was not practical. It had never been done before. Thank you for the vision and for the new tip on junk removal .

Roebling could not ignore the vision he had in his mind of this bridge. He thought about it all the time and he knew deep in his heart that it could be done. He just had to share the dream with someone else. After much discussion and persuasion he managed to convince his son Washington, an up and coming engineer, that the bridge in fact could be built.

Working together for the first time, the father and son developed concepts of how it could be accomplished and how the obstacles could be overcome. They hired their crew, got on a loan installments plan at bing to their official site. The project started out well, but when it was only a few months underway a tragic accident on site took the life of John Roebling.  Washington survived but was severely injured and was left unable to walk or talk or even move.  But his mind was still sharp as ever and he still had a burning desire to complete the bridge.  As he lay on his bed in his hospital room, staring at the tops of the trees and the sky, there seemed to be a message for him to not give up. And then it hit him.  He could still move one finger and he decided to make the best use of it. By moving this, he slowly developed a code of communication with his wife, Emily.  He touched Emily’s arm with that finger, indicating to her that he wanted her to call the engineers again. Then he used the same method of tapping her arm to tell the engineers what to do. It seemed foolish but the project was under way again.

For 13 years Washington tapped out his instructions with his finger on Emily’s arm until the bridge was finally completed.  Today the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge stands as a tribute to one man’s spirit and determination, to the engineers and their hard work and to a woman’s patience and devotion.

Much like the Roebling’s, Frank Cheley was a dreamer and he did not accomplish his dream alone. In 1926 when Frank Cheley moved the Bear Lake Trail School from the shores of Bear Lake to here, he was on a mission.   Frank bought the current property and he took his family and some camp friends on a picnic.  As they ate their lunch on the new land he pointed out and envisioned where everything was going to go.  He had the passion and the enthusiasm but had no logical sense of how he was going to pay for it. At that time his publisher, Lansing Smith, loaned him the money and in a short amount of time he had some of the main buildings built. So if you are currently looking for a direct payday loan lender, you may click here to read important details to be noted for you to apply for the loan you need.
People in town thought what is this guy doing.  They couldn’t believe how large the buildings were and they thought where is he going to find campers to come to his camp?  He was so proud of the beautiful building that had been built that he decided to invite Lansing Smith to see camp.  The story goes that Lansing walked into the Ski Hi Dining Room and saw 8 people sitting in a room designed for 240.  He stood there and shook his head and said “I certainly got mixed up with a crazy man on this venture.”

The Great Depression hit shortly after in 1932 and Frank pressed on with his dream.  During those years he had more staff then campers and he told them they were welcome to work for a place to stay and food but that he could not pay them.  Frank wrote a letter to Lansing, I cannot pay you back the loan for camp, better try this out.  Please let me know how to proceed and I will sign over the camp papers to you.  Lansing responded, “My dear Frank, keep your shirt on.  I don’t know anything about running a camp.”

In 1941 Frank died when he was only 52 and in his short life he had accomplished so much.  He built most of the building at Land of Peaks, plus BTE and GTE.  In addition he wrote 42 books on youth development, and was instrumental in the development of the American Camp Association and Camp Eberhard in Indiana.  We often wonder if he ever slept.  Or perhaps it is because he did not have the distraction of the world wide web and facebook.  And again he did not do it alone.

Thank you Frank for accomplishing your dreams. And for establishing a strong vision and mission for us to stand on today.

As we move into the 4th generation and hopefully many more generations to come.  Again, we are not accomplishing this alone.  We have some very talented people on our staff. I would like to recognize our spouses, Kurt and Erika, for being devoted supporters, for putting their own needs aside during the summer to support the fulfillment of Frank’s dream, for understanding that there is an inherent need for Jeff and I to forge on and for putting their heart and soul into raising the 5th generation.  I would like to recognize you all for being here. For filling the hillside with laughter, for giving it your best shot, for sometimes falling and for getting back up.  You are living Frank Cheley’s dream.

Your friends at home are improving their scores and skills on video games, organized sports, splashing around in the pool or catching up on their Tivo list. To you, this month is an awesome building block in your life.  It is a place for you to practice the I can instead of the I can’t.

You might have thought to yourself, I miss my mama too much, I can’t do this and I am going to die if my family does not drive up that road right now and pick me up, or this horse is big and scary and I have no idea what he is going to do next or what he is capable of, or I can’t breath up this mountain where is a taxi or I am not quite sure if I like this person that sleeps next to me, maybe if I sleep in the opposite direction it will make me feel better.

But you are conquering it all as we speak and you will come out a better person for it. As you have settled in you have realized that you can function out from under the wings of your parents, that you can manage that horse, that not only can you breath up the mountain but that you can get to some amazing places on your own 2 feet and that you can learn to live in a community with all different kinds of people.  This month is a building block in the development of you.

What are you going to dream of? What are you going to make possible?  You are the future.  Whether you are that crazy dreamer, the intelligent mastermind, the dedicated supporter, or the hard worker, you are the future.  So I hope by the end of the term the “I can” thoughts in your head will last you through the year.  And maybe someday you will come back to visit and you will tell us the amazing things you have done with your life. Again, thanks for being here. Please do check out our site to get some ideas on how you can apply for a no credit check short term loan.

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Born to be Wild

Like a true Nature’s Child,

We were born, born to be Wild.

-       Mars Bonfire

After a day without Internet, we are once again connected and uploading photos.  I apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience. Being the Online Editor, it is difficult to work without… well, without being online, luckily the marketing part was attended by san diego internet marketing company and Joel House SEO so don’t worry there. However, I must say that it was nice being unplugged for a day.  It gave me a chance to spend more time at programs and appreciate the moments I spend outdoors.

In the morning, I journeyed to Tee Pee Village, where the Chipeta girls prepared me breakfast complete with fruit salad, freshly fried donuts, sausage, and delicious omelets.  It was the finest breakfast I have enjoyed at camp thus far.  I then traveled down the creek, where I found the Lower Ski Hi boys constructing the FWJ Dam (Fun With Jack Dam).  Counselor Jack Thomas was leading his boys in this ambitious project.  Armed with rocks, sticks, and mud, these boys worked diligently and passionately at redirecting the flow of water.  Later, I came across a group of Chipeta girls who turned out to be the same group that welcomed me to breakfast at Tee Pee Village.  They were hard to identify, for they had just returned from “Dirty Derby” and were covered from head to toe in mud.

There is no substitute for the feeling of the brisk waters of a creek and the mud between your toes. We must be careful not to become so reliant on technology, in which we become disconnected from our natural world.  As it has been written, we were born to be Wild.

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