Application Info & Key Dates

Are You Ready to Apply for 2024?

While we have a rolling hiring process, be sure to get your application in early, especially if you have specific position preferences. We prioritize applicants who can work the entire summer. Review our dates for 2024 below and on your application, please note your availability.

Reapplications for Returning Staff Open: October 1
Applications for New Staff Open: October 18
Interviews Conducted: Starting November 1

Employment Dates 2024: June 1 to August 11
June 1Staff Training Begins
June 11First Term Begins
July 7First Term Ends
July 8Midterm
July 9Second Term Begins
August 4Second Term Ends
August 5Midterm
August 6Quarter B-4, Family Camp, and Teen Summit #1 Begin
August 10Quarter B-4 Ends
August 11Family Camp and Teen Summit #1 End

Some positions require additional training, whether it be specialty, program, or certification; therefore, contract dates may extend beyond the above dates and will be discussed in the interview process. Please review those dates below.

PositionTraining Start Date
Head CooksMay 15
CheDOT and Outcamping CoordinatorMay 16
Ropes Course FacilitatorsMay 20
Horseback Riding Counselors and Barn CrewMay 24
Directors and Assistant DirectorsMay 28
Hiking, Backpacking, and HBO CounselorsMay 28
All Staff Arrival by Staff TrainingJune 1

Application Process

What We Need

Application Review

Other Information

Certification Requirements and Bonuses

Staff members must obtain required certifications depending on their position prior to the start of Staff Training. While we offer courses (CPR, First Aid, WFA) during Staff Training for a cost, we highly encourage getting it done prior to then. If hired, you will receive a list of ACA-approved certification providers.

Staff members are also eligible to receive bonuses for relevant certifications based on current, nationally recognized certifications and organizations. Certifications earned at Cheley Colorado Camps during Staff Training in 2024 are not eligible for the additional bonus. If you do not complete the work dates as specified in your offer letter, you will not receive any certification bonuses.

  • Teaching (Counseling/Leadership Staff only): $200 (1-3 years) or $400 (4-10 years)
  • WFA: $100
  • WFR: $200
  • OEC Ski Patrol: $200
  • WEMT/EMT: $250
  • CDL License (CheDOT drivers only): $350
  • CWA CWI or ACCT Level 1 (Ropes Course Staff only): $200
  • ACCT Level 2 (Ropes Course Staff only): $250
  • Media Equipment (Media Team only)*: $300

*We strongly recommend that you consider using this bonus to secure insurance for your equipment.

If you have other certifications you feel will be valuable to the Cheley Experience, we would be happy to discuss those with you during the interview process.


From exclusive discounts and convenient laundry services to unique recreational access and bonding opportunities, the Cheley Experience is enriched with a variety of benefits. Explore the details below and get ready for an adventure that goes beyond just a job.

  • Competitive Salary: As the highest-paying summer camp in Colorado and one of the highest-paying in the country, we value your contributions and invest in your experience.
  • Financial Savings: Working at Cheley offers significant financial savings. Housing and meals, valued at over $2,000 for the summer, are provided at no additional cost. This allows you to save on essential expenses and fully immerse yourself in the camp experience. Note that for hourly staff, there is a weekly deduction of $200.
  • Laundry Services: We offer complimentary on-site laundry services for all staff members. Counseling staff can conveniently send their laundry to be washed alongside camper laundry on their unit’s assigned laundry day. Support staff can utilize on-site laundry facilities, ensuring their laundry needs are effortlessly met.
  • Employee Discounts: We partner with local businesses for staff discounts on goods and services, ensuring additional cost savings. Additionally, staff members enjoy exclusive access to Outdoor Prolink, securing professional deals on outdoor gear, and receive discounts from reputable vendors like Chaco.
  • Camp Merchandise: Staff members receive a 30% discount on merchandise and a 50% discount on treats at our Camp Store.
  • Recreational Facilities Access: Staff enjoy exclusive access to a fully-equipped gym (featuring free weights, a bench/squat rack, and a cable machine), a climbing gym with seven top-rope walls and a bouldering wall, on-site trails, and convenient access to Rocky Mountain National Park for scenic hikes. For more active pursuits, running trails and mountain bikes are available. The proximity to the Estes Park Community Center provides additional recreational options, including an aquatics center, golf course, and marina for staff to enjoy during their time off.
  • Travel Opportunities: Our staff from 45 states and 10 countries creates a vibrant cultural tapestry, offering exciting travel possibilities. Beyond the rewarding camp experience, staff can explore Estes Park’s picturesque landscapes, delve into Boulder’s vibrant culture, and immerse themselves in Denver’s dynamic urban scene.
  • Experience for Resume/Career: Working at a summer camp stands as a commendable asset on resumes, showcasing practical experience in fostering teamwork, leadership, and interpersonal skills. Furthermore, we provide the Cheley Advantage, a dedicated resource for ongoing professional development, ensuring our staff members have access to continuous learning opportunities to further enrich their careers.
  • Staff Events and Bonding Activities: We actively organize events and activities exclusively for our dedicated staff, fostering a strong sense of community and camaraderie.
  • Positive Work Environment: We take pride in fostering a positive and supportive work environment that resonates with our team members. Our commitment to creating an outstanding workplace has been recognized by Outside, with Cheley being selected as one of Outside’s Best Places to Work in 2022 — a testament to our dedication to providing a fulfilling and satisfying experience for our staff.


Staff are responsible for their transportation to and from camp. If you have a car, we recommend you drive to camp. If you are flying to camp, we do not provide transportation from Denver International Airport (DEN) except in rare circumstances and for international staff. We recommend utilizing the Estes Park Shuttle, which offers a reliable, daily scheduled shuttle service between Denver International Airport and the Estes Valley area (including drop off directly at Cheley).

If you work the entirety of the days in your offer letter, and are in good standing, you will receive a travel stipend to assist with travel expenses. The amount varies by location and is based on your home address. This is intended to help with some travel expenses and may not cover the full cost. If you do not complete the work dates as specified in your offer letter, you will not receive any travel stipend.

Note: First-year international staff do not receive travel stipend, and we will meet them at the airport. Returning international staff receive a $230 travel stipend. Staff only working Quarter B-4, Family Camp, or Teen Summit receive a $100 travel stipend.

Please note that the travel stipend is designed to offset a portion of your travel costs and may not cover the entire expense.

Salary Information

Base salaries are specific to each position and are either a weekly rate or hourly rate. Housing and meals are provided, and staff members are expected to live at camp. We provide bonuses for each additional summer that staff return. All staff members receive a daily rate until 6/1 (the start of Staff Training), except for D/ADs, whose daily rate is effective until 5/28.

Hourly Staff: Our goal is to provide around 40 hours per week. $200 per week is deducted from hourly staff for room and board.

Being Paid: The pay schedule varies and staff are paid via direct deposit. Typically, paydays are at the end of designated camp periods for those specific staff. For 2024, the paydays are*:

  • May 25th (Discovery)
  • May 31st (Discovery, Pre-camp)
  • June 10th (Staff Training)
  • July 8th (First Term)
  • August 5th (Second Term)
  • August 19th (Quarter B-4/Family Camp/Teen Summit/Burn Camp)
  • September 2nd (Post-camp)

*Schedule is subject to change, but will be confirmed before the start of the season.

International Staff

Due to J-1 Visa regulations, we are unable to hire internationals directly without the use of a certified visa sponsor agency. These agencies will help you through the rigorous screening process in your home country before interviewing with us. Please contact one of the following visa sponsor agencies who may work in your home country: Camp Counselors USACamp LeadersCamp AmericaInternational Exchange of North America, and Wild Packs. Staff should have the ability to communicate conversationally in English.

Returning Staff

On October 1st, the reapplication for returning staff will open. The priority deadline is November 1st for all returning staff to submit their reapplications. December 1st is the priority deadline for Directors and Assistant Directors. We will begin placing (non-leadership) returning staff on November 3rd, then we can assess which positions are available for returners wanting to move into a new role. We aim to complete offers to returners by December 15th.

In most cases, returning staff are guaranteed their previous position. If you are interested in a new position, we may contact you for a brief interview or we may simply facilitate the change without needing a conversation.

Our base salaries increase annually. In addition to this raise, we offer an increase in salary for each additional year worked at Cheley.

Years on Staff Salary Increase
2nd Year $50 per week or $.50 per hour
3rd Year $65 per week or $.65 per hour
4th+ Year $80 per week or $.80 per hour

Leadership Staff receive an enhanced salary increase reflecting both their cumulative years as a counselor/support staff and/or their tenure as a D/AD.

Join our Pre-Camp Crew

If you’re interested in working at Cheley before our official staff training begins in the spring, consider joining our Pre-Camp Crew and playing an essential role in preparing our facility for the upcoming summer season! As part of this team, you’ll be responsible for various tasks, such as raking, cleaning, landscaping, furniture relocation, and other hands-on manual labor activities, ensuring that our camp environment is in top-notch condition before the season begins. This opportunity not only allows you to be a vital contributor to our pre-camp preparations but also offers a unique chance to connect with fellow staff, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Cheley Experience.

PositionArrival DateSalary
Pre-Camp LeadersMay 15$80/day
Pre-Camp CrewMay 16$70/day

From Summer to Fall: Additional Job Opportunities for Staff

In August, as summer winds down, many of our staff members transition back to university/college, embark on study-abroad adventures, pursue new employment opportunities, or engage in other ventures; Nevertheless, a dedicated few choose to remain with us as our programs continue to flourish into the fall and offer exciting opportunities for staff.

Additional OpportunitiesDatesSalary
Burn CampAugust 10 – August 18$575
Teen Summit #2August 12 – August 17$615
Post-camp Work CrewAugust 20 – August 30$70/day
Fall DiscoveryAugust 18 – October 7 (anticipated end date)$70/day

Internship Opportunities

Due to the demands placed on you as a Cheley staff member, you will not be able to complete online classes, extra work, or any additional responsibilities outside of the Cheley Experience.

We are happy to provide an internship within the framework of our typical available summer positions. If you are interested in earning internship credits while at camp, please let us know. Internships at camp can provide meaningful work and life skills, such as leadership, problem-solving, teamwork, communication, work ethic, flexibility, and more, as well as professional tools. We can work with your university/college as needed to coordinate this arrangement and fulfill your internship requirements.

Join Our Team

What does it take? A sense of adventure, a desire to be with people, and leadership skills.