Staff FAQs

At Cheley, we are unwavering in our dedication to creating an exceptional and fulfilling work environment for all our staff members. We firmly believe that each member of our staff plays a vital role in shaping the success and spirit of camp. This page is tailored to provide essential information and answers to common questions typically posed by our staff.

The Right Fit

What does it take to work at Cheley?

A sense of adventure, a desire to be with amazing people, and leadership skills. Tolerance and patience are necessary, and tons of energy. You spend your days and evenings with 7 to 17-year-olds, doing all kinds of activities. Some campers are homesick. Some are hesitant to try anything new, while others are carefree and outgoing. At Cheley, we gently and lovingly push everyone to challenge themselves. You’re a role model for campers and support for your peers. You also must be prepared to live and work with children for 9 weeks of camp plus 1-3 weeks of training, depending on the position, and should have the ability to communicate conversationally in English.

How old do I need to be to work at Cheley?

Typically, counselors are expected to have graduated high school, while support staff must be at least 18 years old. However, for positions that involve driving (such as hiking and backpacking), the minimum age requirement is 20 years old, and you must also be approved to drive by our insurance company.

What are the benefits of working at Cheley?

You’ll learn skills throughout the summer that are vital to success in any organization. A successful camp experience helps you develop flexibility, integrity, and empathy. You’ll gain experience in exercising judgment in many different situations, taking initiative, communicating effectively, and strengthening your work ethic. You will also have the opportunity to enhance your leadership skills and emotional intelligence.

Where do campers/staff come from?

Each year, campers and staff come from over 45 states and at least 10 foreign countries. You will create friends from around the globe. Many staff form friendships here that last for years. A lot of our campers and staff return to Cheley year after year, which is why the place has the warm, familiar feeling of family at this gorgeous mountain summer camp.

How is staff training conducted?

Most staff arrive in early June for a 10-day orientation: Staff Training. Depending on your position, you may have additional days of training in your specific area (e.g., leadership staff, horseback riding counselors, hiking counselors, and backpacking counselors), prior to Staff Training. Staff who work in positions that require certifications such as WFA, CPR, First Aid, CDL, or ACCT Level 1 or 2 may have additional days of training prior to Staff Training in order to receive those certifications.

Staff Training is designed to help you get oriented with the Cheley Experience and help you feel comfortable with your co-counselors and at camp. During this time, counselors learn about their particular group as well as their designated activity area. You’ll spend time with professionals in the fields of child development, program areas, psychology, wilderness medicine, and more. Each staff member is given the knowledge and tools they will need to effectively work with children. Our goal is for you to grow as employees, team members, leaders, and as people.

Our Staff Experience

Where do staff members live?

We provide housing for all staff; however, living quarters vary among positions and age groups. Generally, counselors live in a cabin with 6-14 campers and 1-2 fellow staff. At the TEs, counselors live in cabins with 1-3 fellow counselors only (campers sleep in wagons next to these cabins). Leadership staff enjoy their own room or a shared room with a fellow leadership staff member. Support staff live in shared support staff housing. All cabins are rustic in nature and are quite cozy once staff add their personal touches. Linens (sheets, pillow, pillowcase, blanket) are provided as well.

What are meals like at camp?

It’s a known fact that food tastes better at camp and at elevation! We have an excellent kitchen team in our four dining halls, keeping our campers and staff well fed over the course of the summer. Three meals are provided per day. To-go lunches can also be prepared during time off.

Will I have internet access and cell phone service?

Part of the Cheley Experience is disconnecting from technology. We have a few desktop computers that staff can use; however, most bring their own laptop, iPad, or other tablet device. Wi-Fi is available in certain areas. Limited cell service is available at Land O’Peaks, depending on your provider. Cell service is not available at the TEs. Staff should never be seen actively on their phone, nor should the use of a cell phone interfere with their job. Cell phones should have a passcode and remain in “do not disturb,” airplane mode, or turned off.

Can I have a car?

Yes, staff can have their cars. Staff cars must be parked in a designated staff parking area. While many staff bring their car to camp, you do not necessarily need one. We provide a shuttle to and from town daily for days off. If you prefer the freedom of controlling your own time-off, then bringing a car is probably a wise decision!

Can I bring a pet?

Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate any pets at camp. Please make arrangements for your pet(s) throughout your time working for Cheley.

Does Cheley allow visitors?

Friends and family are a great source of encouragement, and it’s difficult to give them the time they need when you are focused on your responsibilities as a staff member. Friends and family are welcome to visit you during your time off when you can focus on them, and on a limited basis final Saturday as you will have other responsibilities that day. Exceptions for visiting with family may be made with approval from your supervisor. 

If you have family members/friends visiting, please check with your supervisor when scheduling your time off. We are unable to give extra time off when family members/friends visit nor do we have the ability to house/feed them while they are here.

All visitors must check-in at the office. 

Do I get time off?

Our staff time off during Summer Camp can be divided into three categories: days off, nights off, and 36s. One day off (8AM to midnight) and one night off (5PM to midnight) per week is standard for counselors, as they are on activities five days a week. The first week of each term, counselors are only able to take a half-day off (8AM – 3PM) or night off. Staff may also request a 36 once a summer: a combo of a night off/day off, where you do not need to sleep in your cabin – perfect for if you have family or friends visiting. On Sundays, all counselors and most support staff remain in camp. Time off for support staff varies by position but includes one day off and one night off at a minimum. Staff who are at camp longer than Summer Camp get additional time off. During Staff Training, Quarter B-4, Family Camp, and other programs, time off varies.

What can I do during my time off?

During time off, many staff go into town (four miles from LOP and seven miles from TEs). Whether you visit Kind Coffee for a morning cup of Joe, go for a day hike in RMNP, or read a book while hammocking by Lake Estes, there are many options for rest and relaxation. Staff will also often visit surrounding cities, such as Boulder, Longmont, Loveland, and Denver. There is a counselor cabin in each unit with a refrigerator for staff to use during their time off. For those without a car, we offer a daily shuttle to town in the morning that returns in the afternoon.

Will you do my laundry?

Yes, we provide laundry services on-site at no cost to staff! Counseling staff members send their laundry to be washed on their unit’s assigned laundry day with camper laundry. Support staff will have access to laundry facilities or will have their laundry washed for them weekly. Otherwise, you may do your own laundry on time off.

Staff who want to take care of their delicate clothes may consider bringing mesh laundry bags. Our large commercial washers and dryers can be harsh on delicate fabrics, causing damage, pilling or snagging. By placing delicates inside a mesh laundry bag, you can protect them from being caught on other items or rubbing against rough surfaces. The mesh material also allows the water and detergent to penetrate the fabric and clean it properly. Using mesh laundry bags is a simple and effective way to ensure that delicate clothing items remain in good condition while at camp.

Is there a curfew?

Maintaining safety and security is extremely important to us, so we have a curfew of midnight for our staff. Those living in cabins should stay in their cabins after lights out while on coverage. Chain Gate (at LOP only) is locked at 10:00 pm for security. Before that time, staff may drive into camp and park in their designated areas. After that time, staff park their cars at the gate and walk to their cabins. Cars parked at chain gate must be moved before breakfast. When not on coverage, counselors are free to be in the counselor cabins until midnight. We understand staff members want to have fun, however, getting enough sleep is necessary for staff members to function well in their role at camp and to be good role models for campers.

What is your policy on alcohol, marijuana, and vaping?

Camp is a smoke-free, vape-free, and marijuana-free environment. The possession or use of any illegal substance (including marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms although legal in Colorado) is prohibited during a staff member’s contract. Absolutely NO alcoholic beverages may be brought onto camp property, nor can anyone return to camp under the influence. We also have a zero-tolerance policy with respect to underage drinking and intoxication. We reserve the right to conduct drug or alcohol testing.

Do you have a uniform or required clothing?

No, we do not have a uniform at camp. All staff members will be given an official red staff t-shirt and Blue Kerchief to wear on opening and closing days and at the airport. We ask that you bring comfortable and appropriate clothing for the activity you will instruct. Use our packing lists as a guide for what to bring to camp.

Staff Packing List

What is your philosophy regarding personal appearance?

As written in the Seasonal Employee Handbook, “an image must be maintained that instills confidence in the minds of our campers, parents, and the public. Your personal appearance should not impact your ability to be a strong role model for youth.”

Dress Code Philosophy

During your summer at Cheley, we want you to have the best experience possible! By planning ahead and packing appropriately, you will be contributing to a positive Cheley Experience; therefore, our dress code reflects practicality and the values of camp. It is written in a manner that does not reinforce or increase marginalization or oppression of any group based on race, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, household income, or body type/size and shall be enforced consistently.

  • All campers and staff should be able to dress comfortably for camp and engage in the camp environment without fear of or actual unnecessary discipline or body shaming.
  • All campers and staff should understand that they are responsible for managing their own appearance without regulating another individual’s clothing/self-expression.
  • All campers and staff should be able to use body-positive language.

We expect all campers, staff, and visitors will dress in a way that is appropriate for camp. Dress choices should respect Cheley’s intent to sustain a community that is inclusive of a diverse range of identities. We are responsible for seeing that attire does not interfere with the health and well-being of any individual at Cheley nor contribute to a hostile or intimidating atmosphere for anyone.

The Application Process

How do I apply to work at Cheley?

To apply, please complete our online application. After creating an account, please select your application type. If at any point you want to save and/or exit your application to complete it at a later time, click ‘Save my progress.’ Once you have completed each section and are ready to send it to Cheley, click ‘Sign the Application.” After submitting your application, please upload your resume / CV. This will automatically parse your work experience, education, skills, and relevant certifications from your resume / CV into your candidate profile. If we decide to move forward with your application, we will contact you regarding next steps by email. Our interviews are scheduled on Zoom, typically from 8AM – 3PM mountain time. We will be in touch within two weeks after your interview to let you know if we have a position available.

How can I prepare for the interview?

The interview isn’t just for us to get to know you better, but it’s also for you to decide if camp is a good fit for you. Ultimately, we want all our staff to be successful! Prior to your interview, please read the job descriptions for your position choices and prepare any questions.

Do you have any interviewing tips?

Be on time. Dress appropriately. Be careful not to overstate your abilities. Don’t make disparaging remarks about yourself or anyone else. Plan ahead. Think of questions to ask. Make sure you understand exactly what the job involves. Is the position you’re offered right for you? Is Cheley right for you?

Three Quick Tips for our Virtual Interview:
  • Test Your Technology: Ensure your internet connection is stable. Verify that your camera and microphone are functioning properly. Don’t wait until the last minute to fix issues.
  • Set the Scene and Minimize Distractions: Find a well-lit, clean, and distraction-free space. Turn off other devices and/or mute notifications.
  • Sit Down Prepared: Avoid doing anything else during the interview; be ready to have a conversation with us.

Do all my references need to come from previous employers?

Nope, the choice is yours! Choose people who have knowledge of your character and experience and of your ability to work with children in a camp environment. You can use a variety of sources for your references: a teacher, professor, pastor, employer, or volunteer supervisor. References should not be submitted by your family members. One can be a character reference (friend, roommate, co-worker, etc.) and two should be professional references (teachers, coaches, employers, supervisors, etc.). Click here for the reference link.

What happens if I’m offered a position?

If you are offered a position via email and accept that position, you will receive a “Welcome!” email from our Human Resources Manager detailing how to self-on-board through Paycom. After completing this self-on-boarding, they will approve your profile. You will be notified when the following paperwork items are ready.

  • Signed offer letter, noting your position, dates of employment, salary, and other important info.
  • A completed fingerprint card for the background check. If you are in Colorado, you will go to an “Identogo” facility to be fingerprinted. If you are out of Colorado, we mail you the card and you take it to your local police station to be fingerprinted and then mail it to them. The cost is typically around $10.
  • Completion of the online course on Sexual Abuse Prevention.

Depending on your position, there will be additional paperwork. If you are hired (not applicable for International staff), you will be responsible for the following fees: Driving record (for CheDOT) available through your state DMV; certifications necessary for your position (Wilderness First Aid, First Aid, CPR); fee for your transcript (if applicable); travel to and from camp (travel stipends are received after successfully completing employment through the end date noted on your job offer).