The Cheley Experience
The Cheley Experience has withstood the test of time. Frank Cheley believed in the positive nurturing of young people when he opened Cheley in 1921. Almost 100 years later, our commitment to the development of youth remains steadfast. We believe that every summer in a young person’s life is a window of opportunity. Cheley truly gives its campers formative experiences that nourish body, mind, and spirit. We are an accredited summer camp and are always working with these associations to help preserve, promote, and improve the camp experience. We give young people time to slow down, to open up and explore.
The Rocky Mountains are our playground for our free-choice program. Each day, our campers head out to explore the amazing Colorado Rockies on hikes, backpacks, horseback rides, mountain bikes, and technical climbs. Or they choose to slow down as they raft on the Poudre River, stand up paddleboard at Union Reservoir, create something in the crafts shop, or spend a few days camping in nature. Our activities are the vehicle for teaching children the values and ideals necessary to establish their path towards becoming thriving young adults.
Four weeks at camp might sound like a long time, but once you are at Cheley you realize that it takes time to settle into the camp schedule, get in shape, and commit to the camp community. Our campers often say they feel more alive, more connected, and their best selves at Cheley. Whether they are standing on a summit high in the Rockies, cantering around the riding ring, or cheering a fellow mountain biker up the hill, they feel as if they learn skills and values to help them succeed in our ever-changing world. The camp experience offers children the opportunity for unstructured play, to meet people from all over the world and country, to form strong relationships within a supportive community, to unplug from technology, gain independence, and to have fun.
Cheley begins every term with the development of a Code of Living in each camp unit. The Code of Living is a compilation of traits, suggested by the campers in each unit, that the campers strive to uphold throughout the term. These ideals, which often include those such as responsibly, integrity, trust, and empathy, are interwoven into the camp experience. Our campers refer back to the Code of Living as they hold each other to these strong ideals. In fact, we often hear that campers hang their Code of Living on their wall when they return home to hold themselves accountable during the school year.
The average Cheley camper spends four to five years at camp with some staying as long as ten years. Still, on average each summer 30% of our campers are first-time Cheley campers. At camp, our campers develop nurturing and trusting relationships with counselors who serve as positive role models in their job as youth development professionals. We believe young people learn best by doing. With our Centennial approaching, our challenge as leaders in youth development is to protect and preserve the rugged, rustic character of their experience while providing opportunities for growth, personal responsibility, and self-reliance. This is what makes Cheley a top-rated summer camp and we intend on improving every year.