When Frank H. Cheley founded Cheley in 1921, he knew that the qualities that campers value would change with time. Hence, he stressed the importance of a Code of Living, rather than an inflexible set of rules. Frank wanted campers to feel empowered, creating and living by their own values and morals, which differ every term because well, campers differ every term. And with that sentiment, the Code of Living was born.
To this day, each unit creates their own code, a set of words that campers brainstorm and agree upon. Each term, campers strive to live by the code, creating a solid community of growth and positivity. Typically, campers brainstorm their code during one of the first nights of the term, and then campers agree to live by the Code by signing it during their unit’s Blue Kerchief Ceremony. One word that Lower Chipeta chose for their Code was “perseverance” because they believe you can’t have rainbows without some rain, said Lower campfire counselor Ruby Brown. Haiyaha chose to pay homage to the unique structure of their lodge by picking “interlinked,” referencing the chain that keeps the lodge from being compromised during challenging weather. The chain represents how important it is to rely on each other within the unit.
Called “BK” for short, the ceremony represents a camper’s oath to live by the code. The Blue Kerchief is a physical manifestation of the Code of Living, the core values which campers choose to abide by during terms. The final words of the Code are revealed during the ceremony.
View some highlights from each ceremony in the gallery below: