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 from theJohn Henric shirts US collection 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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Farewell to First term

Another term has ended, and for some, concluding their final days at Cheley.  For others, it is the start of a new summer tradition.  For all, it is has been an experience that will be cherished forever.  It has been an exciting an emotional weekend with an astonishing horseshow and final banquet.  Emotions ran high as campers expressed their love for Cheley and for one another.  I have enjoyed working with your children and watching them grow.  It is impressive to see new faces establish themselves in a new environment and push themselves to new heights.  Thank you to the photographer team.

“As a new addition to the multimedia/photography team this year, I have come to know an amazing and tight-knit community of staff and campers. Every young face was new to me at the beginning of the term, and watching the progress of each group was truly rewarding for me. The young boys and girls of Cheley Camps all went through amazing journeys of growth, both personally and as groups. I watched first year campers overcome the fear of heights and horses, receiving patches and recognitions by the end of camp in areas that they never would have tried at home. Cheley pushes every youth to overcome his or her own obstacles, teaching a lesson that is deeper than the achievement itself – I often heard campers proudly exclaiming that after peaking a mountain, they knew they could accomplish whatever goals they’d been putting off at home. An added benefit to this personal growth is the ability to build a strong team, and this was seen most clearly in the final day of camp. The group dynamic here gave girls a unique bonding experience, living and working together to undertake camp as well as build each other’s self esteem. Secluded in girls’ camp, shy girls come out of their shell, singing and dancing with their friends. The same could be seen in boys’ camp, with experienced hikers and shooters sharing their knowledge with new campers and younger boys.  Groups who had never met before their month at camp shared in heartfelt singing, speeches, recognitions, and tearful hugs. Last night’s final banquets were sincerely touching, for the campers as well as the counselors and staff. I know I cried with Senior Chipeta when they sang their final song together at dinner! I heard so many people saying the same thing – I might not ever see you again, but you will change the world, like you changed my life. Thank you for sharing your children with us for the first term.”

Liz Greene- videographer

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“Sit beside a mountain stream, See her waters rise,
Listen to the pretty sound of music as she flies….”

Tucked away in seclusion, next to a peaceful creek in the woods, is the out camping site Rockstock.  It is one of my most favorite serene places to visit at Cheley. Rockstock is a retreat for campers and staff alike to be immersed in a natural environment among friends.

Faith Evans, a former out camping counselor at Cheley, established Rockstock 26 years ago in 1985.  Her intentions were to create an out camping program with the outdoor elements of backapcking, where the less adventurous campers would have the opportunity to grow and learn self-sufficiency in the outdoors.  These campers would learn to cook gourmet meals, build their own shelters, and work together while gaining an appreciation for nature.  Rockstock was designed to be a site where counselors could develop and learn new skills as well.  Counselors that typically stay in camp for programs have the chance to experience nature and gain outdoor living skills.  For out camping counselors, this is a place to be mentored by the Rockstock director and coached in developing their out camping programs.  The support staff is also invited out for meals and to experience this out camping haven.  It also provides the opportunity for campers to practice hospitality as they prepare all the meals and give tours to the guests.

It is an evolving program, in which each new director adds a personal touch, but keeps the basic principles at heart.  Eric Gershon, the current Rockstock director, strives to continue Rockstock’s legacy as Faith had intended.  Eric runs an excellent program that campers cannot wait to be a part of.  When asked why Rockstock is so appealing to the campers, Eric attributed it to the unique games, the hands on experience, and most importantly the chance to play in the water.  Campers get to play in the creek, construct bridges, and float through the rapids on tubes.  “I like tubing down the river and making our own food.  It helps us know how to survive in the mountains,” a current camper states.  Another camper likes building his own shelter and playing “Gaga”, a dodge ball game unique to Rockstock.  All activities the campers enjoy, they enjoy doing together.  Eric assigns teams for all tasks at Rockstock, whether it is fire building, cooking, or building shelters.  Part of the Rockstock program is to help kids interact and create relationships with peers.  “I strive to create a sense of community within the campers that will not only last through the summer, but beyond camp as well,” Eric Gershon states.

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Code of Living

“Character is not achieved over night or created at will or “caught” as we have been told, in the strictest sense.  As a matter of fact Character, greatly as it is to be desired, is NOT a thing in itself but a product of sanity and right living.  It is founded and maintained only by constant performance.”

- Frank H. Cheley

Last night, each unit, as well as each cabin, gathered to discuss their individual “Code of Living”, a written set of standards and values that the campers create for themselves.  This has been a tradition dating back to the era of Frank H. Cheley, founder of Cheley Colorado Camps.  Frank believed that rather than having rules provided, the campers should establish a moral code as a group that they wish to live by and aspire to, allowing them to take an active role in the development of their character.  The Ski Hi boys within the cabin of Cheyenne developed multiple values in their code of living including, Respect, Encouragement, Team Work, No Bullying, and Accepting Differences.  The Haiyaha boys were led by their CILTS (campers in leadership training) in facilitating the development of their moral code. John Burk, Assistant Director of Haiyaha, described the scene as very reverent with the campers holding a deep respect for this honored tradition.  Every camper provided input to the collective ideals that would be their Code of Living.

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It’s here

Summer is finally here and the Cheley Colorado Camps are prepared for another incredible summer, thanks to a lot of hard work from our pre-camp crew and full time staff.  These counselors and support staff workers arrived to Cheley in mid May and were greeted by 48 hours of constant snowfall as they logged, raked, cleaned and set up the entire camp for Cheley’s 91st summer.  Also, for the last week, the counseling staff has been going through a rigorous training session for their respected program areas as well as working with children in general.  Renowned child psychologist Dr. Bob Ditter has facilitated numerous workshops, preparing counselors for the many situations arising with campers.  Everyone is ready and enthusiasm is high, as we await the arrival of this year’s campers.

Tomorrow, the campers will be arriving to Cheley.  For many, this will be a returning journey to the Rocky Mountains where adventures are certain to continue.   For others, this will be their first time at camp, away from home.  Regardless of past summers, Cheley will be sure to provide unique experiences for all in a nurturing natural environment.

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It is not about the curtains

We always get a chuckle when it’s time to explain to the pre-camp crew what their assignment is for the day.  “What? You want me to rake and redistribute these pine needles and move around these large rocks into a perfect line?”  “Really? You want us to dust every inch of this cabin?” “It’s snowing; is it going to be like this all summer?” And years later when these same people return for a visit, they tell us that working pre-camp has made them better at their jobs and taught them important life skills.

In our year-round staff meetings, we revisit our mission and our service quality structure.  We believe that it is part of our promise to our parents and campers to take pride and care in our facility.  My grandmother was a woman with a high standard, so high that no one felt like it could ever be met.  Her role at camp was about the quality of the details and her point was, “It is not about the curtains; but if you have hung the curtains right and all the light bulbs are in working order, you will also take that same care of the children that have chosen to spend their summer here”. After my grandfather had retired, he would drive around camp changing light bulbs.  This philosophy has been handed down.

We have six amazing men that work all winter to build, repair and upkeep the facility through the winter.

And now for the next couple of weeks, a wonderful crew of people will prepare the facility that is the anchor for the magic of camp.  Thank you crew, for your hard work and dedication to our mission, and we promise the snow will melt soon.

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Boy Scout Merit Badges at Cheley

For the past few years, I have been authorized as a Merit Badge counselor for the Boy Scouts.  We have many campers that are also involved in Boy Scouts and would love to complete a few badges at camp.

I am registered as a merit badge counselor for the following Boy Scout Merit Badges; Hiking, Archery, Backpacking, Camping, Fishing, Horsemanship, Leather-work, Rifle Shooting and Wilderness Survival

If your son is interested in completing any of these badges, please have him bring the appropriate paperwork to camp this summer.  He will need to take the initiative to complete the requirements with the appropriate counselor in his unit and then I will complete the paperwork.  I hope this helps some of our boys in their pursuit of their Eagle Scout and other recognitions in the Boy Scouts.

We are looking forward to the summer!

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Happy Earth Day and Let’s G.O. (Get Outside) month

Happy Earth Day!

As I continue on this journey of motherhood I am baffled at how fast time is flying.  I just hope that I am doing a decent job, and covering all my bases.  Everyday is a moment to moment balancing act of making sure my kids have a least eaten a bite of their meal, that we are following what we are supposed to be doing for school, that their hair is at least halfway combed with maybe a bow stuck in it, that their shoes are not too stinky, and that they are hopefully nice to the other children.

I love being a mom, AND I sometimes long for the days of being a backpacking counselor at camp, or being drenched in rain for 5 weeks straight in the mountains of Patagonia.  I long for the days of living in a tent and knowing the peace and comfort that only nature brings.

Will I be able to instill this same love of the natural world in my girls?  Will they grow up to know how important it is to be connected to the earth?  As a camp director, I hope I don’t miss the mark on this one.  However, during the winter months, it does seem like we get stuck in our routine of school, play dates, extracurricular activities, birthday parties, and trips to the playground.  We live in a world that does not always lend itself to being connected to nature.  My phone or computer are never too far away, and at ages 3 and 5, Kate and Ellie are magnets for any technical gadget they can get their hands on.  Kate can work the cell phone like she is a little adult and Ellie could play Angry Birds on the iPad for hours if I would let her.

As I am a firm believer in the movement to reconnect children with nature, I decided we were past due for a little trail time out of the city.  I wanted to honor Earth Day, and April being the “Get Outside” month, and walk my talk.  I packed up the family for a little day adventure across the Causeway to Fontainebleau State Park.  Ten minutes into our drive, the questions started, “When are we going to be there?”

Ellie said, “Ya know Mom, the other day I saw a car with a TV in it.”

I replied, “Yes I know, those are pretty cool aren’t they,” thinking of all those gear hungry people who cannot leave the house without a gadget and then I started to blare our favorite songs from the Sound of Music, and we all loudly sang along.  Then of course we had to play “Pretty Girl Rock,” because we think it is hilarious to hear the girls sing “Don’t hate me ‘cause I’m beautiful.”

As we entered the gates of the park, that feeling of a slower world hit me.  It was an awesome feeling for me to be bringing my girls into nature, and to share the love and appreciation that I have for it.  To be present with them and away from the hustle of our daily lives was what I needed.  We walked under the beautiful trees and admired their huge roots, watched dozens of dragonflies and other bugs, and listened to the birds.  I did forget to pack the bug spray, and the mosquitoes were very large and plentiful, so we did a lot of swatting

In Richard Louv’s book “Last Child in the Woods,” he writes: “As the young spend less and less of their lives in steroids online, their senses narrow, physiologically and psychologically, and this reduces the richness of human experience.  Yet, at the very moment that the bond is breaking between the young and the natural world, a growing body of research links our mental, physical and spiritual health directly to our association with nature – in positive ways using health information technology

In our 91st season, I sometimes find myself apologetically explaining to new camp parents that they will not get emails, calls or texts from their children, as I know this is new territory for them.  I find myself worrying that there might come a time when parents and children do not want to be “unplugged” for the summer.  I worry that the desire for skills and knowledge will outweigh the desire for strong character.  As a fourth generation camp director, I dedicate my life’s work to providing a summer experience for youth which allows them to play, grow, and learn among the beauty of nature.  I strive to stay true to the powerful mission that was set forth by Frank H. Cheley; he believed so strongly in the phrase, “Great things happen when youth and mountains meet.”  And as a mother, I dedicate myself to the movement to reconnect children and nature, and I will start with my own.

Take the time to celebrate the Earth, today and everyday.

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Parenting and Technology

Now that I have joined the parent community.  I recently attended a meeting that addressed the impact technology is having on family dynamics and relationships.  Craig Knippenberg talked about the positive and negative impacts he has seen as the byproduct of technology.  I appreciated that he talked about the positives of technology and its ability to help families share moments while they are apart, the security it provides for families,  and its ability to facilitate social interaction.  He also talked about the negative effects of technology, how it can become an obsession, the increase of spontaneity (he said that for parents, spontaneity can be the enemy because it robs you of your ability to plan and fully discuss all the options with your children), and the dependency it creates between children and parents. Keep your home and business safe with surveillance and monitoring gear from

He made the comment that as parents, “we need to give them roots and wings.”  Craig suggested using the phrase, “I think you can figure it out”, after receiving a call from your children for help that offers you the chance to provide them with a decision -making experience.  Craig also mentioned the lack of truly connecting with each other and the loss of reflection and “down time” for all of us.  This made me think of camp.  Camp offers down time to be present with your mentors and your peers and it offers the opportunity to find a solution without picking up the phone.

Two of the best concepts I gained from his presentation were comments about connecting with children.   He quoted Jimmy Carter who said, “The two most important loves in your life should be God and the person sitting in front of you.”  Regardless of your religious beliefs, I think we could all improve in paying attention to those in front of us.  Especially when we have the opportunity to connect with children, we should do what we can to give them our full attention.

His second concept was “fly fishing for feelings.”  I loved the visual and the idea that we are not bait fishing for conversations but rather fly fishing for conversation.  I have to be honest, I am not a fly fisherman, but I did see the movie “A River Runs Through It” and have spent a frustrating day on the shores of a river in Alaska with dozens of other fisherman during a salmon run.  Fly fishing takes patience and the ability to lead, and to focus, all while enjoying the process.   As Henry David Thoreau once said, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”  If we look at having a conversation with our children as “fly fishing for feelings”, we may be more successful at connecting with them.  We must realize that we may not get the answer we want on the first cast.

Cast #1 – How was your day?

Response – “Fine.”

Cast #2 – What was the best part of the day?

Response – “I don’t know.”

Cast #3 – What would you do over again if you could?

Response – “Stay in bed longer.”

Cast #4 – What are you looking forward to tomorrow?

Response – “Being done with my history test.”

You may start thinking “Hey, the answers are getting longer.”  Keep casting.

Cast #5 – What’s the coolest thing you’ve learned in history right now?

Response-“Did you know that movies didn’t have sound until 1927?”  Or “Did you know that the very first American in space only was in orbit 15 minutes?”

Cast #6 – Wow, I didn’t know that.  What was the first talking movie? Or, who was the first astronaut?

And you’re off and running.

I just received a wonderful book called “Get to Know your Kid” by Shana Connell Noyes.  The book is full of questions to help parents connect with their children.  Some of the questions are:

What do you like most about yourself?

What do you like best about our family?

What was the best day of your life?  Describe it.

Would you say your life is better than most people’s lives or not as good? Why?

So next time you pick up your children and they want to sit in the back and text their friends, start “fly-fishing for feelings.”  Keep casting questions until you get a nibble, and then lead them in.  Remember, sometimes it takes some effort and some line to catch a fish to be proud of. On other tech related news, if you need help with social media marketing for you business check out one of the most leading social media marketing agency – The Marketing Heaven.

Here’s to the journey of parenting!

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