Working at Cheley

A Letter to the Families of Our Staff


We wanted to take a moment to express our gratitude and say thank you. Your loved one has accepted a position at Cheley Colorado Camps in Estes Park, Colorado for this summer, and we appreciate the sacrifice you’ll be making to make this happen. We also want to assure you of the value they will receive from the Cheley Experience and the support available to them throughout the summer. We hope that by providing some insight into who we are and what the Cheley Experience entails, you’ll feel reassured that your loved one is in a great place with easily accessible support.

This blog post is a departure from what you might typically find, as it is specifically intended for the parents of our staff members. It may seem unusual for an employer to reach out to their employees’ loved ones, as the old adage suggests that our staff members are legal adults and limited communication with their families is expected; however, as parents ourselves, we find this notion somewhat counterintuitive.

In recent years, we have noticed a significant shift in our staff’s connection to their parents and families. They now seek advice and support more readily, particularly during times of struggle or hardship. We recognize that families play a crucial role in supporting our staff members. That’s why we believe it’s important to reach out to you as your staff member begins their journey and spends their initial days at camp.

Our goal with this note is to let you know a bit more about Cheley Colorado Camps, where your staff member will be spending part of their summer; and to build a relationship between you as their trusted family members and us as the leadership team at Cheley. Our primary hope is that we make progress towards being set up for the most successful summer experience possible for our campers AND our staff! We may already know you from previous summers, yet ask that you please read on, as we believe this is all important information.

First, some history– Cheley Colorado Camps (Cheley) is a premier overnight summer camp situated high in the Colorado Rockies. Cheley is a place and an experience that makes time stand still. Summer camp is a time of fun and friendship, of physical challenge and thrilling adventure. It’s a chance to step out of your routine and connect with the natural world. Most staff say that Cheley changes them. You feel more solid, focused, and engaged in life. Living in the great outdoors, surrounded by mountain peaks, ancient rocks, and huge ponderosa pines makes you feel more alive, more connected, and more in touch with your best self.

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

Mission Statement

“To inculcate in young people that spirit of honesty, purity, unselfishness, love, alertness, determination, and courage. Cheley aims to help young people cultivate the ability to act spontaneously in the right, and by doing this to contribute definitely to the creation of a better world.”

Purpose Statement

Frank Cheley originated Fun Plus® in 1921, and the concept has continued at Cheley for decades. Fun Plus® conveys the value we place on having fun while learning how to live life fully and know and understand ourselves more completely. Since 1921, thousands of young people from every state and dozens of countries have come to Cheley. We watch our campers and staff become more confident, independent, responsible, thoughtful, and more aware. Time away from home and apart from family, set in natural beauty, provides unique opportunities to build the judgment, insight, and skills that a happy and satisfying life requires. Many of our staff form friendships here that last a lifetime.

We hope you notice that nowhere in our Mission nor Purpose statements does it say, “campers.” This is intentional. At Cheley, we don’t only foster this growth in our campers, but with our staff as well. Cheley is not just a summer camp; we offer staff lifelong skills while making an impact on the next generation of young people! The experience, camaraderie, and natural beauty of our mountain home greatly outweigh the paycheck. Further, the skills gained greatly enhance our staff member’s future job marketability.

Now is the part where you, as parents and family members, can help by supporting your staff member at Cheley. We are humbly asking the families of our staff members to partner with us this summer. We’re asking this because we know our staff members value your guidance, advice, and reassurance. There is no doubt that life and work at Cheley can be hard. We have long days, significant physical activity, tons of details to manage, live in a somewhat isolated place, and are ultimately responsible for the well-being of others. As in life, things sometimes don’t go exactly as we planned, and we must learn to be flexible, learn from our mistakes, and ultimately carry on.

Our goal with every staff member each summer is to acknowledge challenges, support them by helping craft a plan, and ultimately keep moving forward. Overcoming their challenges is one of the many ways our staff develop grit, tenacity, and resilience. While an early departure from camp is sometimes the eventual outcome, we want to make sure it’s a last resort by having thoroughly explored all other options. We want you to know how we will support your loved one while they are here at Cheley:

  • We have a very experienced leadership team! Our leadership team has several layers to better support your staff member. They will have their direct supervisor, above them are the Girls’ and Boys’ Camp Directors, and above them are the year-round team, all of whom want to support the staff at being their best. When your staff member calls, FaceTime, texts, or emails you frustrated, exhausted, or even in tears; we ask you to listen, empathize, and offer support. We also ask you to encourage them to speak with their supervisors, a member of the year-round team, or Jeff/Brooke directly.
  • We have a large medical staff employed each summer, which includes six nurses at four health centers and a doctor on-site. We also have multiple mental health professionals on staff for the entire summer to better support your staff member.
  • While working, we encourage staff to put their phones away and really embrace the incredible opportunities summer camp provides. Please inquire as to their time off each week should you want to connect with them.
  • If there is ever an emergency at home and you cannot get a hold of them, please reach out to our office at (970) 586-4244 and we will gladly pass along any information. Please keep in mind, that due to state and federal laws, we are unable to share certain HR-related information with anyone other than staff members themselves.

We are excited that Cheley will soon become, or continue to be, part of their life story. Please remember that we want to be a helpful resource for you and your staff member. When they hit the bumps in the road, encourage them to talk with us. Lastly, if you ever have concerns, know Jeff and I are just a quick phone call or email away. Thank you for supporting them this summer, and we hope to be able to thank you in person one day soon.

Brooke Cheley-Klebe and Jeff Cheley, Directors & Owners