Colorado summer camp

Pack Rat

Get all of the latest Cheley news in our Pack Rat newsletter.

Holidays 2021
During this time of year, we are reminded to count our many blessings. We are truly grateful to be doing the work that we do. It is an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to spend quality time with youth in the Colorado mountains. Thank you for your partnership, trust, support, and friendship. These last couple of years have been challenging, inspiring and busy and we could not have accomplished what we have been able to accomplish without you all... [More]


Winter 2020
A fellow camp director made this comment the other day. It is his interpretation of a passage from one of his favorite authors, Kahlil Gibran. As soon as he shared this quote, I immediately went to the idea that for our children to succeed, we as parents need to be stable. But it can be interpreted many ways..... [More]


Fall 2019
The spirit button this summer was The Power of Moments at Cheley. I think we forgot to share what it stood for during Second Term Chapel. This theme was created during a session at the American Camp Association National Conference. Chip Heath, author of The Power of Moments, was speaking about how we create experiences at camp that will be remembered forever.... [More]


Fall 2018
Building a community of respect and trust at Cheley. Imagine if we all focused on building communities that were fostered in respect and trust. Imagine if our young people were presented daily with examples of respectful behavior. Respecting other people’s views, beliefs, backgrounds, and aspirations. Rather than the responses of negativity and disdain for opposing views, we could all improve in our responses to differing views and demonstrate respect. This would make a huge impact on our communities.... [More]


Camp Opening 2018
I have had multiple experiences over the past few months that continue to deepen my commitment to the mission of Cheley Camps. About a month ago, I had the chance to spend about 45 minutes with Chancellor Rebecca Chopp at the University of Denver. She is an amazing woman. We talked about the future of education and what she is observing about her students.... [More]


Winter 2018
As I write this, I am sitting next to my eight-year-old son as we return from his 1st Cheley promotional trip. Jackson accompanied me to Washington DC and New York to promote camp. I am starting early to sell him on the idea of "joining the family business." It was an amazing trip.... [More]


Fall 2017
The spirit button for 2017 was LTASITRAC – Learning to act spontaneously in the right at Cheley. Frank Cheley said in 1921, "Cheley aims to help boys and girls cultivate the ability to act spontaneously in the right, and by doing this to contribute definitely to the creation of a better world." ... [More]


Camp Opening 2017
I stood there about six feet from our youngest son Hayden, four years old, and watched while he played in his own little world. The cars were everywhere. There were voices, sound effects, and he had no idea I was even in the room. I thought to myself, “so this is the state of flow the speaker was talking about?” ... [More]


Winter 2017
I had a wonderful conversation recently with one of my favorite people (don’t tell Elizabeth Dumanian I said this). Elizabeth is a psychotherapist and I always enjoy talking with her about the condition of our youth and what she is seeing in her profession. We talked about multiple conversations I have had over the past few months about the childhood resumé that is beginning at a younger and younger age.... [More]


Fall 2016
DTRC – Disconnect to Really Connect was the spirit button for 2016. I have had so many conversations recently with parents and friends about how busy and distracted everyone seems to be.Years ago, we were all excited that we could check our email on our phones. I know I thought, “I can be so much more effective because I can answer emails at any time during the day.” Now, we can’t get away from it. We have heard that teenagers are waking up in the middle of the night to check Facebook, Instagram, and other social media to make sure they aren’t missing out. We have become too connected... [More]


Camp Opening 2016
During Peyton Manning’s retirement speech, he shared a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.” I think Frank Cheley could have said this as well. This quote has stuck with me since I heard it. What a wonderful attitude to take into so many aspects of our life. I printed the quote and it is now in the center of my bulletin board. Our goal as managers, coaches, or parents is to focus on what someone can do, not what they are doing... [More]


Fall 2015
The spirit button for 2015 was NFYOFITR: Ninety-Five Years of Fun in the Rockies. Ninety-Five Years!!! I think Frank had plans for Cheley Camps to celebrate 95 years of success. He built the lodges and cabins with quality and a vision that Cheley Camps would impact children for years to come.... [More]


Winter 2015
As we celebrate the holiday season, I am so thankful for the support we have received over the last year. As you know, Cheley was devastated by the September 2013 floods. Our roads were washed out, our water systems were destroyed, some buildings were impacted, and we lost a few wagons at GTE. Throughout the experience, we were grateful that we didn’t have the destruction that we witnessed in so many other families and businesses.... [More]


Fall 2014
After the September 2013 floods, the town of Estes Park adopted the motto “Mountain Strong” to inspire everyone to work together towards a full recovery. We loved the motto so much that we decided that our motto for 2014 would be “Cheley Strong”. It took the help from many people to open camp for the Summer of 2014. Alumni, staff, campers, and the year round staff contributed to the rebuilding of the roads, infrastructure, and buildings to allow us to continue the Cheley tradition... [More]


Camp Opening 2014
I have had the opportunity twice in the past six months to spend some time with Madeline Levine, the New York Times bestselling author and co-founder of Challenge Success, a project born at Stanford’s School of Education. Madeline’s two most recent books are Teach Your Children Well and The Price of Privilege. During both presentations, I had an opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with Madeline... [More]


Winter 2014
Over the holidays I saw a poster that was labeled “Things Jean taught us by example” at a children’s center in Denver. The poster included comments like: * Find positive attributes in all those who are part of the school * Be first to arrive and last to leave school * Communicate wisely * Listen & To do your best gives your life meaning... [More]


Fall 2013
“Instilling values and skills in the leaders of tomorrow” was the theme for this summer. The foundation for this theme was an article by Pat Bassett that I referenced in the Holiday 2012 Packrat. Pat talked about the 5 C’s needed for success. These values are critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, character, and the bonus C of cosmopolitanism.... [More]


Camp Opening 2013
Last Saturday, Jackson played in his first soccer game. Jackson has played a few times at school and we have kicked the ball around in the yard but this was his first experience with an organized game. All of the children stretch out together with the parents and then each team goes to their own small field for some practice before the game. The coach of the Gray Hawks is amazing. He is an educator and a professional in youth development so he understands how to work with young people. He ran them through a series of drills and games to help them work on their skills. After about 15 minutes, it was time for the Gray Hawks to play the Yellow Bees.... [More]


Holidays 2012
Recently, our oldest son Jackson started school at the Montessori School of Denver. Before school started, MSD offered an orientation to introduce the parents to the principles and practices of Maria Montessori. Throughout the day, they kept referencing "The 5 Cs" needed for success in the 21st century.... [More]


Fall 2012
At Cheley, We Respect Ourselves, Nature and Others. This was the spirit button for 2012. Since 1921, Cheley has been dedicated to introducing young people to nature and teaching them to work together in a community. Frank Cheley felt that "Great things happen when youth and mountains meet."... [More]


Camp Opening 2012
I recently gave this summer's incoming CILTs an assignment to take an influential leader in their community to lunch. With that assignment, I decided that I needed to make a regular effort to have lunch with leaders in the community because I always walk away from conversations with new inspiration.... [More]


Holidays 2011
Three different times during the last month, I have come across a study done by Dr. Jay Geidd regarding the teenage brain. I was first informed of Jay during a presentation by Phil Miller, a retired Air Force Chaplain. Phil was talking to parents about building character and leadership in middle school and high school students.... [More]


Fall 2011
Let's All Create Meaningful Relationships at Cheley was the spirit button for this summer. As we looked at the goals for the summer during the spring, we realized we have a wonderful opportunity to teach young people how to create meaningful relationships. In today’s world, so much of our communication is in short bursts. Whether it is a text message, a tweet, or a Facebook post, people are not taking the time to connect meaningfully with each other.... [More] [Trigger Bill Says...]


Camp Opening 2011
I watched a wonderful video of an interview with author Seth Godin, author of Linchpins - Are you Indispensable? During the interview he talked about the beauty of summer camp. Seth states, "I learned so much at camp about what our world needs from us. When camps are at their best, they create linchpins" (people who are an essential element to the success of a team or a plan).... [More] [Trigger Bill Says...]


Holidays 2010
At the writing of this article, Erika and I are preparing for the arrival of our second child. We have enjoyed every minute of parenthood so far (or almost every minute). Erika is spending the final two weeks creating a comfortable, warm, inviting environment for the baby to come home to. I am putting to- gether cribs, moving desks, moving dressers, and measuring for rugs. We have all heard about expecting mothers "nesting" as they prepare for the arrival of the baby.... [More] [Trigger Bill Says...]


Fall 2010
The spirit button this year stood for Celebrate & Honor the Experience, Love Every Year. Since 1921, Cheley Camps has been dedicated to youth development and providing a nurturing environment for young people to create unique life experiences.... [More] [Trigger Bill Says...]


Camp Opening 2010
The other day I read an article on "Ten lessons learned on being a 'balanced dad.'" As a new father, I am always looking at ways to balance work, family, exercise, marriage, and personal time. The author of the article, Jeff Prouty, had some wonderful ideas about building a family. He talked about teaching your children how to plant and grow tomatoes (there will be a tremendous learning experience about "nurturing"). He also talked about his method of allowance.... [More] [Trigger Bill Says...]


Holiday 2009
We received an email from Margaret Rietano at the end of this past summer. She said, "I too was so blown away by the Cheley experience. I have a "Ch"-"Omance" with Cheley. Our family realizes the importance and value of organized sports and we embrace soccer, lax, skiing whole-heartedly..... [More] [Trigger Bill Says...]


Fall 2009
The Strength Of Tomorrow Lies In The Hand Of Today was the spirit button this year. (Thank you Jennifer Wall, mother of Payton and Guy Wall, for creating this phrase last year). We truly believe we are a vital part in the development of tomorrow’s leaders. Each of us was given the opportunity to spend part or all of our summer in a supportive, nur- turing environment that allowed us to grow and work on becoming a better person....[More] [Trigger Bill Says...]


Camp Opening 2009
I received an email from the woman who is directing Leaders for Life at Cheley, Teresa Huggins, talking about a new strategy she has been using re- cently. She read a book called “Manifesting for Non-Gurus” by Robert MacPhee. Teresa says she spends a few minutes each morning answering the following questions. She then takes action during the day with increased awareness. The questions are....[More] [Trigger Bill Says...]


New Years 2009
For nearly nine decades the Cheley camps have followed Frank Cheley's dream. When Frank was in his 20's he was the first director of Camp Eberhart in Three Rivers Michigan, the South Bend, Indiana, YMCA camp. Then in 1921, at age 31, he started his own camp in Colorado. He learned first the influence that nature has on the development of the whole child. Over the years as young people enjoyed the Cheley Experience they would also get in touch with the power and beauty of nature.....[More] [Trigger Bill Says...]


Fall 2008
Spread your Cheley Attitude to the Entire World was the spirit button this summer. Each of us that were fortunate enough to spend some time at Cheley this summer had the opportunity to live in a supportive, nurturing environment surrounded by people who cared about our success....[More] [Trigger Bill Says...]


Camp Opening 2008
Why do you choose the leaders you follow? Do they support your values and morals? Do they have integrity? Are they leading you in a direction you want to go? Are you a leader for others? Are you leading with integrity and strong moral values? We will all choose many more leaders in our lifetime. Make sure you are choosing your leaders for the right reason....[More] [Trigger Bill Says...]


Holidays 2007
Are you one of those people who accepts the challenge of getting things done or do you look around when people are looking for volunteers to do the work? Do you take the initiative to solve the problems and look around for solutions or just complain about the situation? Each summer, we enjoy watching the staff who see what needs to be done and take it upon themselves to complete the task...[More] [Trigger Bill Says...]


Fall 2007
The theme for this summer was "Live in the Mountains, Live in the Moment" (LITMLITM). Each one of us had an opportunity to spend part or all of our summer enjoying the beautiful Rocky Mountains. We had a chance to live in the moment as we watched the sunset with a friend, sang songs around a campfire, stood on top of a peak, or just hung out with some fellow campers at treats... [More]


Camp Opening 2007
This edition of the PACK RAT seems to be about the circle of life. As you can read later in this issue, both Sheila Tallmon and Bo Winslow have moved on with their ca- reers. We are sad to see both of them go. Sheila has such a wonderful spirit. Bo has such a high level of commitment to everything he does. They will both be missed... [More]


New Year 2007
As human beings we are faced with choices and decisions every day of our lives. It is a given that we will make good ones and bad ones in our life time. As a small child we rely on our parents to make these choices for us, when to eat, what to eat, what to wear, what time to go to bed, etc... [More]


Fall 2006
The other day I received an email from Nathan Wilson with re- search he has compiled for a grant request he is writing. He is working to build an outdoor classroom at his school and has done research on the positive im- pacts of nature. As campers, you know what it is like to sit by a campfire with your friends and just talk, or how rewarding it is to stand on the summit of a moun- tain after a long struggle to get to the top.... [More]


Camp Opening 2006
A few weeks ago the cover story in Time Magazine was Are kids too wired for their own good? It talks about how often the new generation of children these days is constantly multi-tasking and how they have so many things going on... [More]


Holiday 2005
The holiday season always seems to bring us around a table of yummy food, good friends and family. One of the great things about camp is sitting in the Dining Room sharing meals together. And now that it is winter, my hope is that you and your friends and family are sitting down together around the table... [More]


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