Summer Roundup

Senior Chipeta 2023


Greetings from the heart of the Rocky Mountains! Red dirt roads, once marked with footprints, now sit undisturbed under towering pines. The crunch of gravel and the echoes of laughter have faded as the days begin to grow shorter. The leaves haved turned gold and son snow will dust our tin roofs. Cheley’s gates have closed for the season and we have all said farewell. The memories, skills, and friendships that campers and staff have forged will remain in our hearts for years to come. 

This summer we strove beyond the goals of summers past: in 2021 we survived, in 2022 we revived, and in 2023 we thrived. We aimed to create a space where each person that came through the Cheley gates could feel comfortable and confident in their ability to thrive here. We made sure that campers were able to connect with nature, with others, and with themselves. Our campers spent the summer outside of their comfort zones and became more resilient individuals. There were days where the peak of the mountain was just out of reach, where their craft didn’t quite turn out how they wanted, where the road rash from the fall off the mountain bike stung a little more than usual, where their horse just wouldn’t cooperate, or where they just couldn’t find their balance on the paddleboard. Days like these allowed our campers to build a stronger sense of character   

This summer our hikers, led by Izzy Dunn and Eva Reiling, explored the magnificent expanse of Rocky Mountain National Park and the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Hikers had the opportunity to learn and practice responsible stewardship of the outdoors by following the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace. They focused on grace, grit, and gratitude during hiking and had the opportunity to push themselves to new heights. The following campers earned their Hiking patch: Annelise Sailer, Catherine Timko, Charlotte Gardiner, El Lishka, Eleanor Duff, Emmy Conrey, Fatima Soto, Karen Lamson, Nadia Stigereda Angelo, Parrish Kearney, Phoebe Zaniello, Regan Ellsworth, and Trilby Schmidt. 

Some campers chose a more immersive experience in the park and spent their time on backpacks led by Sara Litteken and McKenna Bomengen. Backpackers trekked through Rocky Mountain National Park’s peaks and valleys, saw the evolving beauty in light of the rising and setting sun, learned backcountry skills, and strengthening their connection with nature each day. The following campers earned their Backpacking patch: Amelia Klemme, Anya Vogel, Charlie Ballenger, Georgia Arnett, Katherine Ornelas, Koruna Ingram, Phoebe Zaniello, and Sunny Christensen. 

The following campers spent many days out of camp and earned their On the Trail patch: Catherine Breed, Delaney Funk, Emmy Conrey, LJ Brezine, Madelyn DiMaio, and Maggie Scarbrough.

Our wranglers, Rosie Wood, Nic Monnier, and Gabi Whitney, led horseback riders on treks to Pierson Meadows, Lion’s Gulch, and Chasm Junction. Campers learned how to tack up and care for a horse, the importance of proper riding techniques, and how to build an emotional connection with their horse. They participated in overnights where they got to care more closely for their horses while strengthening their friendships through nights around the campfire and under the stars. The following campers earned their Riding patch: Ally Danehy, Annie O’Meara, Emme Clark, Julia Caturegli Reims, Lucia Penick, Mariah Soby, Ruby Kalkbrenner, and Sydney Turner. 

Our bikers shared smiles and miles of adventures during their time at Stanley Park, Lily Lake, and Hermit Park. They trained throughout the term to work towards goals like making it up the Cheley Challenge and conquering Big Nasty. Nicole Day and Madi Doletzky also led campers on overnights to Pierson Forest, where they had the opportunity to explore new trails and search for unfound routes. The following campers earned their Mountain Biking patch: Chloe Novosel, Elizabeth Aramiants, Elizabeth Masraff, Ellie Struse, Emma Chave, Kendall Holmes, Madelyn DiMaio, Nora Codr, Samantha Egaas, Sequoia Holzmann, and Taylor Volckmann.

Campers also had a diverse and exciting spread of in camp programs. In the craft shop, Milo Maddocks led campers in a variety of creative and expressive art projects. Campers made some classic camp crafts such as friendship bracelets, tie-dye, and beaded animals. They also got to shake things up by making trebuchets, sewing their own stuffed animals, or going on a sketch hike and trying their hand at watercolor. As our general counselor, Kelsey Newton got to guide campers on some of our specialty programs such as the high ropes course, stand up paddleboarding, and whitewater rafting. 


Every evening, campers would wind down with a campfire led by Piper Jackman, where we built community and had fun. Campfire encouraged campers to put their most authentic self forward and allowed campers to end each day on a positive note. 

We want to extend a massive thank you to our Campers in Leadership Training (CILTs) this summer: Celia Gregg, Emily Gregg, Ellie Klebe, Hollis Toomey, Isabella Pendergrass, Emily Coleman, Ava Sutton, Riley Griffin, Harper Orr, Rian Ford, Eliza Thorpe, Madi Williams, and Greer Patten. These campers helped to serve the Senior Chipeta community in their final summer by helping to establish the tone of the unit and were able to develop their leadership skills in the process. 

Each term, Cheley campers open their summer by creating a Code of Living. Frank Cheley believed that people are more likely to uphold community agreements that they set for themselves, as opposed to ones that are imposed upon them. This set of values is what we aspire to throughout the course of the term and into our year beyond the world of camp. The Gold Key is a tangible representation of the Code of Living and is a testament to those values. First term Key recipients were: Cora Price, Celia Gregg, Alana Persons, Liz Byrd, Nora Codr, and Riley Griffin. Second term Key recipients were: Maddie Sellke, Abby Silberman, Greer Patten, Avery Thorpe, Phoebe Zaniello, and Micyla Sharp. We encourage those recognized to remember that this is not the destination, but part of the journey to continue to uphold the Code of Living. 

Our final unit circle has come to a close. In just a few months, we will reignite the memories of the summer when we light our friendship candles over the holidays to feel the ever-present warmth in Senior Chipeta. May the memories we’ve made sustain us until next summer. 

Thank you for an incredible summer!

Erin Bingaman, Director
Lily Lederer, Asst. Director