Colorado summer camp

COVID-19 Info

Monday, June 8th, 2020
Please read our full update here. Despite the numerous hurdles, we would find a path to camp after each obstacle. We have put together procedures to mitigate the risks, we were determined to do everything in our power to make this another magical summer, we wanted to be the light at the end of the tunnel, and as this giant machine is getting ready to take off, we are out of runway.

We are so sorry, but the time has come for Cheley Colorado Camps to cancel the summer of 2020. Even typing these words is difficult. Last fall, as we prepared to celebrate our 100th Summer, we had no idea what was coming. At the beginning, an advisor in the medical field said, “Wait as long as you can to make a decision, things are changing every day.” Unfortunately, the time has come and there are still too many unanswered questions for us to feasibly proceed.

Updated June 3, 2020

Thank you for your ongoing patience during this process. We hope that you are enjoying our emails because you might be hearing from us more than usual in the next couple of weeks.

Please take a moment to review the Packing List as we have updated it for 2020 and added two items: personal hand sanitizer and cloth face masks. We also recognize there have been many questions about what The Cheley Experience will look like this summer. To that regard, we attached our broad plan, COVID CARE, which we will ask you to take a moment to review.

Some Clarifications on Transportation to and from Camp:
The guardian's duty is to travel with your camper to camp. If a camper is showing symptoms, then the guardian would be responsible for the camper, whether it be a family member, another camp parent, a friend, or a nanny. Please keep in mind that this person will have to be responsible for the camper should they be ill upon arrival.

Regarding departure day, we will provide transportation for your camper(s) to Denver International Airport. They will be prepared with hand sanitizer and a mask. We will do everything in our power for your child to return home healthy and happy.

We are expecting the guidance from the Governor to review by Saturday.

As we always say we want to show up for you and be your partners in parenting. It is with that intention that we share some resources on how to talk to your children about race: Learning About Race and Racism For You and Your Kids.

Updated June 1, 2020
We hope that your families are finding ways to celebrate the spring milestones, find closure on your school year, and gear up for the summer months. You inspire us daily to host camp this summer. Here at camp, our horses have arrived, and staff have begun to open our facilities. We also welcomed three baby goats – "kids" – this weekend and are encouraging name recommendations! 

Celebrating our Centennial
We will be extending the celebration of our 100th Summer into 2021; albeit, we have postponed the Centennial Celebration Weekend to September 3rd through 6th of 2021. 

We have insight into what the regulations will be for residential and overnight camps to operate in the month of July. On Friday, May 29th, Jeff collaborated with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), and the Governor’s Office on the draft guidance, which we feel confident in meeting. We are also assured that the draft guidance, which is currently under review, will be very similar to the final guidance. We expect to receive the final guidance on Saturday, June 6th and an announcement from the Governor will follow in mid-June.

We are cooperating with Larimer County in our pursuit to operate. We have talked to the Governor’s Office and Larimer County regarding our start date of June 30th. As such, staff training will still begin on June 10th

As we continue to work with our medical team on protocols for a healthy summer, travel and transportation is a critical consideration. We have made the decision to modify our standard Arrival Day procedures: There will be no pick-up or bus service from Denver International Airport on Arrival Day. Instead, campers must arrive to camp via car with their parent or guardian. A parent or guardian may choose to drive from home with their camper or fly with their camper and bring them to camp from the airport. This will: Eliminate our staff members from being exposed all day at DIA; Keep a large group out of a confined bus; Enable our medical team to properly screen campers upon arrival; And, allow for a parent or guardian to supervise healthy travel habits.

We appreciate your regard in navigating this new request to better contain the health of our community. As always, thank you for your ongoing partnership.

Recommendations for PRIOR TO CAMP: From the ACA-EHE Field Guide
The parent or guardian of higher-risk campers should consult their medical provider to assess the camper's risk and determine if attendance is acceptable. Campers will be asked to quarantine for a minimum of 14-days prior to their scheduled arrival at camp. See attached Quarantine Protocol. During the 14-days prior to a camper’s scheduled arrival, they must self-monitor and conduct pre-screening procedures. See attached Screening Log. If a camper shows any symptoms associated with COVID-19, they must stay home. Here is a complete list of symptoms. We are finalizing our COVID-19 waiver as suggested by our insurance company and our legal counsel.  

Additional Positions for 2020
While there will be a lot of new and different things in place for the Summer of 2020, I am especially excited to announce that we are creating three new positions that will support our campers and staff throughout the summer. The three new positions include a Pandemic Transition Officer, a Doctor of Social Work, and a Staff and Activities Resource Coordinator!

Mike Abbiatti: Pandemic Transition Officer
Mike is a long-time Cheley supporter, Cheley parent, and former Director of Haiyaha and BTE – is engaged to come out of retirement to serve as our Pandemic Transition Officer for the summer of 2020. Mike brings over 45 years of successful military and civilian experiences as a retired senior US Army medical department officer with expertise in clinical microbiology, virology, immunology, blood banking, telemedicine, research in the arenas of HIV, and the immune response to viral agents. In addition to his military career, Mike has almost two decades of successful senior leadership in academic technology administration, high speed networking and supercomputing in support of a wide range of medical research and physics-based content areas. His experience includes a wide variety of tours in clinical and field laboratory environments, epidemiological studies, Infection Control activities and a diversity of assignments involving development and deployment of advanced research and education systems. He and his wife Nan live in Estes Park during the summers and in Fayetteville, Arkansas during the winters.

Michelle M. Fisher, DSW, LCSW: Doctor of Social Work
Dr. Shelley (or Dr. Fish) is excited to spend her first summer on staff at Cheley! -And we are thrilled to have her! Dr. Fish earned her Bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and her Master’s degree in Social Work from Boston College.  She received her Doctorate in Social Work from George Williams College where she focused on LGB and transgender adolescents.  Dr. Fisher’s 25-year social work career includes child protective services, adoption, medical and forensic social work, teaching, private practice and for the past 10 years, school social work. She currently resides in northwest suburban Chicago with her husband and two children. Her son, Cole, will be joining us on staff as well this summer.

Dustin Pippin: Staff Activities and Resource Coordinator
This summer will be Dustin’s 5th summer on staff. During his previous summers at camp he has worked in various areas: Outcamping in Ski Hi 2012, Rockstock Coordinator 2014, 2016, and Ski Hi Unit Director 2017. Cheley Colorado Camps has always held a special place in his heart. He just concluded an epic two-year career with Disney Cruise Line as a Youth Activities Entertainment Host cruising the Bahamas. Dustin has an Associate in Art EC-12 Special Education degree and a YA 200HR Hatha Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher certification. He completed a bachelor’s degree in public administration and nonprofit management before starting with Disney. Dustin lives in Orlando, FL with his wife Amanda, whom he met working at Cheley!

We will keep the communication coming and as always please let us know if you have any questions.

Update May 27, 2020

Our camp families have been at the forefront of our minds for the past couple of months and we truly appreciate the grace and compassion that you have shown. We are still working to provide camp at Cheley this summer by being a part of many conversations with key decision-makers. To say that this has been an atypical spring for us would be an understatement. In our personal lives, we have experienced the stages of grief, fear, and uncertainty that this pandemic has brought. We have also witnessed the silver linings of having the time to stop and reflect and appreciate the things that might have otherwise been taken for granted. In our professional lives, we have had to power through the fatigue that is typically not felt until after the summer months.

For the camp industry, it has allowed us to collaborate in a whole new way. Some have decided to close this summer, while others have made the decision to adapt and proceed. Each camp has its own organizational strengths and challenges, and every camp director has approached this summer from a different perspective that includes; the consistency of their arrival and departure dates, the ability to adapt with their facilities, their personal health, their location, ability to abide with new regulations, and their own tolerance for uncertainty.

While we are excited to be having a 100th summer, it is not what drives us to keep paving the way forward. Now more than ever, we strongly feel that our children need camp. While some of camp is about large gatherings packed in the Chapel or the Pavilion, boisterous dance parties at All-Camp Campfire and getting together with brother-sister units. There is another part of the experience that will go untouched; the deep and meaningful friendships made within a small group, the freedom of being unplugged, the ample fresh air of nature, the sincere care given by camp staff, and the growth that occurs with independence.

We have an amazing team that is working diligently to meet the CDC guidelines to proceed with a plan in place to operate camp this summer while maintaining much of the feel of The Cheley Experience. Camp is not immune to this new normal and can adapt. There is much about the world that looks and feels different and we have been called to create new habits to protect ourselves and others. This will be no different while at camp. Within our plans are smaller numbers in squads, social distancing when possible, wearing masks when unable to social distance, and a heightened emphasis on handwashing.
Being outdoors and spending time with other children is one of the antidotes to the increased levels of mental health issues, isolation, and soaring screen time that children across the country are experiencing. Every summer brings its own potential for risk. On any given day we have campers out on mountain bikes, on horses, and high up in the mountains. Every summer we rely on your trust and comfort that we will plan accordingly to minimize the potential for risk. This summer is no different in this regard and we are taking the utmost care and dedication to organize, plan for, surveil, treat, and mitigate in relation to COVID-19 at camp.

We were disappointed by Governor Polis’s announcement of delaying a decision for residential summer camps to operate in July and August. Monday was a disappointing day. Fortunately, Tuesday was uplifting with many encouraging conversations. We are still pursuing multiple options that would allow us to operate. Meetings are scheduled with both Larimer County Health Department and the Governor’s office to explore the upcoming guidance. We have a strong relationship with the Larimer County Health Department and have experience working together through other communicable diseases. As we have said before, we have experience operating within strict regulations and with a high standard. 

We will be in touch very soon as we start to know more.

Updated May 4, 2020

We continue to work diligently to navigate this current situation in hopes that we will be able to provide the Cheley Experience this summer. We are humbled by and grateful for your support: your calls, emails, and texts. Knowing your families are looking forward to camp gives us the inspiration to press on. We acknowledge this is a difficult time and we are hoping to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Our calling to partner with you in raising thriving young people is particularly powerful as we have watched our kids navigate through this spring, and how grateful they are for their time outdoors.
The wait for guidance from local, state, and federal agencies tests our patience, but we are being creative, thoughtful, cautiously optimistic, and adaptable as we work to see the decision to operate camp this summer all the way through. We are working closely with the Larimer Country Health Department, State of Colorado Health Department, American Camp Association, and the Center for Disease Control, as we consider nearly every aspect of camp, designing it to meet new requirements while remaining true to the Cheley Experience.
At this point, we believe it is best to push back our start by 2 weeks. We have modified our dates to accommodate two 3-week sessions, which will allow our staff to be at camp for at least twenty days prior to camper arrival. This affords us the time to complete an extensive staff training, focusing in part, on new health protocols in response to COVID-19. This time also allows us to monitor the health of our staff while helping ensure that they are ready to welcome campers. As of now, Quarter B-4 camp dates will remain the same, August 10th-15th. 
Modified Dates
First Term: Tuesday, June 30th to Saturday, July 18th
Second Term: Tuesday, July 21st to Saturday, August 8th
Reduced Tuition: $4800
Camp has always been a place for deep meaningful friendships. As we move into our 100th summer we know we can adapt and continue to provide a magical experience. There is power in coming together- even with modifications. The culture and spirit of Cheley will not waver. We want to be transparent that in some ways camp will look and feel different as the health of our community requires it. We have begun to plan for some of these changes in that our typical all-camp events will be held within each unit. Furthermore, we are looking to maximize the number of program days and offerings considering a condensed session. For your planning purposes, sadly we will not be hosting our typical Final Weekend for visitors.

In the meantime, the American Camp Association has released the table of contents for their Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of the Center for Disease Control Guidance for 2020

As we have said from the beginning, our partnership with your family is a long-term one, whether this is your first year or you have been with us for many summers. The trust you have in us is crucial. If you are unable to attend this summer, we will hold you close until your return, with full understanding that you need to make the choice that is best for your family at this time. 

We will have more detailed communication on health protocols, and camp changes and procedures by mid-May before our May 21st billing date. Our thoughts continue to be with you all and we will do the best we can with updating you in the coming weeks.

Jeff Cheley, Brooke Cheley Klebe, and the Cheley Staff



We have made the difficult, but necessary decision to postpone the start of camp by two weeks. As a result, we are postponing pre-camp, wrangler training, director training, and staff training as well. We will send you a more detailed email with implications for the summer in the coming days. Our thought is to have a much longer staff training period which will incorporate pre-camp, director training, and wrangler training into the overall staff training schedule with the majority of staff arriving on June 10th, just four days later than originally scheduled. We are not planning on cutting any staff positions.

Staff Arrival Dates
Head Cooks: Monday, June 1
Disco Staff: Thursday, June 4
Medical Staff: Monday, June 8
D/AD Staff: Tuesday, June 9
All Staff Arrival: Wednesday, June 10

We will notify you of arrival times and other considerations in the coming days. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this time.

Updated April 21, 2020

Our hearts go out to those of you who have been impacted by COVID-19. We would also like to extend our deepest gratitude to healthcare workers, first responders and essential services around the country who’ve put themselves at risk helping others. We recognize this has been a very challenging time for everyone. If your family is like ours, we’ve had our good days and our tough days. Emotions can run high as much of what was familiar has been upended, and there are still countless unknowns. Many of our campers have missed out on the numerous opportunities the spring school year affords. Cheley provides a formative experience for campers who may need camp now more than ever. If there is anything we could possibly do to help in your current situation, please don’t hesitate to reach out. During these times we hope to be able to provide some semblance of normalcy for you and your family.

Our commitment to you is unchanged, if it’s realistic to have camp, camp will happen. We are hopeful that the reality of having camp is closer to happening as just last week the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has said that camps should be considered “essential businesses” as they are necessary for many parents to be able to return to work.

By the end of April, we anticipate the CDC issuing their “guidance for summer camps.” After reviewing the CDC guidelines, our goal is to make a determination as to the implications for this summer by the first week of May. We are grateful for your patience throughout this challenging situation.

The American Camp Association has partnered with the CDC to create an expert-backed “game plan” by engaging an independent team of public health experts, pediatricians, epidemiologists, and camp health experts to develop educational and operational resources for camps to assist with adhering to CDC COVID-19 guidance. We are hopeful that these resources will offer much-needed clarification and direction for the summer.

We anticipate that these guidelines will be helpful in tailoring our plans for the summer, including practices for the screening of campers and staff, health monitoring during the summer, guidelines for handling emergent cases, disinfection procedures, potential programmatic impacts and other aspects of camp operations.

We are cautiously optimistic about the prospect of Cheley being able to deliver its 100th summer. While it is likely that this summer will indeed look different, our goal is to offer an experience as close to the one that our campers, families, alumni, and staff have come to know and value. At camp we are used to being creative, adapting to our environment and the needs of the community. To that point, this summer will be no different.

Thank you for your understanding and continued patience during this time. Please know that we are working hard to provide accurate information to our families and staff as soon as responsibly possible. As always, our commitment to the health of our campers, families, and staff will continue to be a top priority.

Take care and be well,
Jeff Cheley, Brooke Cheley Klebe, and the entire Cheley Staff

Updated April 1, 2020

We hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and well. While our current situation was certainly not in our plans for celebrating our 100th summer in youth development, it’s hard to imagine the position which we find ourselves as a nation, let alone as a world. Understanding that this situation changes drastically by the week, as of now, camp will happen this summer! Young people (and families) need camp now more than ever. Young people need normalcy. They need to reconnect with friends and make new ones. And they need the valuable lessons of resiliency and strength during challenging times. Families need camp. Working, homeschooling, and managing our children 24/7 is taking its toll on many.

We want to thank you for all the support and encouragement we’ve received. It is humbling that in our 100th year we face what may be our greatest challenge yet. We continue to work diligently to prepare for yet another impactful summer experience while also creating contingency plans. Creating plans for different situations is what we do all summer long. It just started early this year.

Our commitment to you is that if it’s realistic to have camp, camp will happen. We also realize for many people, the next two to three weeks of news will likely be much worse before it gets better. We are steadfast in our commitment to the Cheley Experience. Someway, somehow, and with your help, we are determined that Cheley will celebrate its 100th summer by doing what we’ve always done – creating unique life experiences in a challenging and nurturing natural environment!

Understandably, we have had some questions regarding cancellations. From now until May 20th, we have decided to hold our cancellation fee at $700 which is the March 1st cancellation rate. In addition, we will not process the May 1st auto bill payment until May 21st. We will touch base with families that had earlier payments scheduled to see what they would like us to do.

We will continue to communicate as the situation becomes clearer. The vision of young people spending time in the outdoors developing as thriving young adults is what we look forward to during these times. In the meantime, stay safe. We will all come out stronger in the end.

Jeff Cheley, Brooke Cheley Klebe, and the entire Cheley Staff

Updated March 11, 2020

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

The Cheley mission statement shapes each and every decision that we make. As a leader in the camping industry, we are honored to play such a meaningful part in youth development.

The past two weeks have been full of conversations, per usual. Conversations about staffing, programming, planning, etc. One topic of conversation that has been brought to the forefront is that of COVID-19 (coronavirus). We had an email regarding COVID-19 prepared to send last Thursday, but we were waiting on additional information. By Monday, the email was irrelevant because much had changed.
As a 100-Year-old camp, we have experienced many threats. Even during our time in leadership, we have experienced 100-year floods (2013), swine flu (H1N1 in 2009), nearby forest fires (2002 and 2006) and other challenges that could have severely impacted us and our families. During the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, we worked diligently with Larimer County Health and they complimented us on how the situation was handled.

With camp over three months away, the situation is still very fluid. We are not sure what it will look like three months from now, three weeks from now, or even 30 minutes from now. However, as we teach campers and staff, we must be resilient and focus on solving problems with as much information as possible. We are talking with and/or getting information from government agencies (CDC, Larimer County, and Colorado Health Depts., etc.), colleagues, experts, and other resources daily to track the situation.

Whether this is your first summer or you have been with us for many generations, nurturing the trust you have in us is of the utmost importance. We are honored to be a trusted part of partnering with you to raise healthy, responsible youth. We take our partnership with families seriously.

As this health crisis continues, trust us to do the right thing regarding how this develops. We value each of you and wouldn’t want to do anything to jeopardize our partnership. While there may or may not be implications for our 100th summer, we are acutely aware that how we handle crises now will impact our future and our planning for our 101st summer.

We promise you this, we will act with integrity. Our camp families and our staff are the reasons for our success over the past 100 years. We will be in touch with you should it be a necessity of delivering information that impacts you, our campers, or the overall Cheley Experience. As we continue to prepare for camp, we will send information about how/what we are doing differently to keep our campers and staff as healthy as practicable.

Jeff Cheley, Brooke Cheley Klebe, and the Cheley Staff
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