Ask a Camp Director

How Does Music Define the Cheley Experience?


Music isn’t just a background soundtrack at Cheley; it’s the heartbeat of camp life, weaving its way through every moment and shaping the essence of our community. From the first light of dawn to the twinkling stars above, melodies fill the air, creating memories that last a lifetime. But what about music makes it such an integral part of the Cheley Experience?

Picture this: as the morning sun peeks over the horizon, campers across our eight units awaken to the gentle strains of music. It’s wake-up call time, and as they tidy their cabins or wagons and prepare for the day ahead, they’re serenaded by the sounds of their favorite tunes. It’s a lively start to the day that sets the tone for the adventures to come.

And as the day unfolds, music continues to play a central role in the Cheley Experience. Our non-religious Chapel gathering is a testament to the transformative power of music. Here, campers and staff come together to sing fun, uplifting songs that uplift spirits and inspire joy. It’s a time of camaraderie and reflection and it brings us closer together.

Every evening at Cheley, whether you’re in camp or camping under the stars, culminates in our cherished friendship circle—a ritual where campers and staff gather as a unit under the night sky to sing their unit songs, followed by taps. It’s a time-honored tradition that fosters unity, connection, and a deep sense of belonging.

But music isn’t confined to structured times. In every unit lodge, songbooks and chord books stand ready for impromptu jam sessions, while pianos invite campers to unleash their creativity. Whether it’s strumming a guitar by the campfire or belting out a favorite song with friends, music is a constant source of inspiration and connection.

And let’s not forget the dance parties! From square dances to disco nights, Cheley pulses with rhythm and movement. Whether it’s our famous all-camp campfire dance parties or a Zumba session, our counselors are always ready to lead the way, ensuring that every moment is infused with energy and excitement.

Even during out-of-camp activities, music remains a constant companion. Our counselors are renowned for their “van jams,” curating playlists that transform mundane journeys into unforgettable adventures. Whether we’re singing, dancing, or simply tapping our feet to the beat, music infuses every moment with energy and excitement.

But perhaps the true magic of music at Cheley lies in its ability to expand our horizons. As campers immerse themselves in new songs and melodies, they discover a world of musical possibilities waiting to be explored. Guaranteed, they’ll return home with a new favorite song and a deeper appreciation for the power of music to unite, inspire, and uplift.

So why is music so vital at Cheley? Because it’s more than just entertainment; it’s a language that transcends barriers, a catalyst for connection and community. Whether we’re singing around the campfire, dancing under the stars, or coming together in our unit circle, music reminds us that we’re part of something greater than ourselves—a symphony of laughter, friendship, and endless possibility.