A Day in the Life
of a Staff Member
Each day at Cheley is unique and wonderful. Below you can preview a Day-in-the-Life at Camp for counselors and support staff.
|The Equipment & Clothing Guide (Packing List) for 2021:|
MONDAY – SATURDAY
Rise and shine, get ready for the day, make your bed, clean the cabin
Breakfast in the dining hall
Program groups meet for all-day, multi-day and half-day programs,
Lunch on the trail or in the dining hall
Afternoon activities or continuation of all-day programs
Visit the store, shower, hang out with your camp unit
Dinner in the dining hall or around the campfire on overnights
Evening campfire, songs + taps
Rise and shine
Breakfast in the dining hall
Unit Staff Meeting or Program sign-ups for the following week
Lunch in the dining hall
Unit Staff Meeting or Program sign-ups for the following week
Play Day, All-Camp Campfire, or "Lazy Sunday"
It would be almost impossible to list the Day-in-the-Life of every support staff position because your day is much different from counselors and varies across positions. Luckily, we tried our best in our Detailed Positions Listings Packet!
With the morning bell signaling rise and shine at 6:45, we start our mornings fairly early. You and your fellow cabin counselors will lead a cabin/wagon clean-up before breakfast, which is in the dining hall at 7:30 (unless you're on an overnight or EB, of course). We start breakfast with morning announcements in case there's something to share or a special happening. Typically, during breakfast or right after the meal, a director or assistant director will conduct a cabin/wagon inspection and grade your overall cleaning performance so make sure you do well!
The excitement really takes place once breakfast is over! Campers who need supplies are able to quickly stop by the camp store; however, once breakfast ends, program begins. Whether it's an all-day or half-day program, or an out-of-camp or in-camp program, you will spend the day with a specific group of campers for their activity of choice. Although you are most often scheduled to your specific program area, you will likely have opportunities throughout the summer to try another program area. Some of our daily programs include archery, backpacking, ceramics, challenge course, climbing wall, colts, crafts, fishing, high ropes, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, outcamping, rafting, riflery, sports, stand up paddleboarding, technical climbing, and woodworking. Obviously, not every unit will have every program on a given day nor necessarily over the course of the term, but each unit will have an opportunity for almost everything.
Following morning program, we have lunch at noon, unless you're out of camp then you can decide when to make "bulk" or start your fire and make lunch. Rest hour proceeds lunch; this is a time for silent relaxation in cabins or wagons where campers can write, nap, read, and sometimes play cards or another game. This is a great time for you too to catch your breath, check in with campers, and maybe write some of your reports. If you're on the trail or outcamping, we highly recommend you still find time for a rest hour, you won't regret it!
Just as we do in the morning, we have a variety of afternoon programs, whether it be a continuation of your morning one or another half-day program. Before concluding any out-of-camp activity, upon returning to camp you will visit Stuff-Inn to clean bulk, return your equipment, and/or mountain bikes. With the end of program around 4:15, it's free time! Campers (and most counselors) during this time will shower, pay a visit to the camp store for treats, and hang out around the unit before dinner. It’s important for you to have some time for yourself too! Whatever you would like to do to help you feel great, this is the time to set yourself up for success with your director. Some units before dinner have mail call where letters, packages, and emails are handed out (to you too!) while other units have mail call after dinner or before bedtime.
Dinner is served at 6:00 in the dining hall (unless it's a Thursday cookout) and hopefully around this time if you're out of camp! We eat family-style for every meal, which yields many benefits. Family-style meals are when the components of a meal are put on the table in bowls or plates so everyone can serve themselves. The bowls and/or plates are passed around and put back in the middle of the table where more can be eaten if desired. Not only does family-style enhance the experience of mealtime by mimicking a large family meal, but it also promotes responsive feeding and encourages better self-regulation. We try our best to accommodate most dietary preferences and restrictions, including allergies, vegetarian/vegan diets, dairy-free or lactose intolerant, and gluten-free. Counselors eat with their campers at all of our meals, which is a great opportunity to chat with your campers about their day and get some report writing material. Dinner ends with announcements and then it's off to campfire!
Campfire – our evening program – always promises a different sort of excitement! Some nights may be team-building exercises, like the Code of Living, Blue Kerchief Ceremony, Ball of Yarn, or PMA, or maybe you'll play some "get to know you games." Other nights might include a Scavenger Hunt, Dutch Auction, Mario Kart, or a game of Capture the Flag. We also have a "Java Night" in some units, when you might show off your talent and skit practice for All-Camp Campfire! Regardless of the campfire (and whether you're in camp or sleeping under the stars), we end each night with Friendship Circle. During this, each unit gets together and sings unit song and taps.
Once Friendship Circle finishes up with taps, it’s time to call it a day and put the kids to bed, anywhere between 8:30PM and 10:00PM depending on the unit. Once you put the kids to bed, you may hang out in your counselor cabin, Powwow, or Chip-Inn, assuming your cabin has coverage. Counselors are off twice a week – once being a day off from 8AM to Midnight and once being a night off from 5PM to Midnight – and often leave camp to decompress, do laundry, and finish reports. Then we get up and do it all again in the morning!
Sundays at Cheley look a little different than the rest of the week. For starters, we sleep in until 7:15ish because breakfast isn't until 8:00! Right after breakfast, each unit helps clean up camp in what we call a "Trash Sweep!" Then depending on the unit, you'll either have your weekly staff meeting or have program sign-ups for the next week when campers choose which activities they want to do using our free-choice system. At Cheley, we love program sign-ups because our counselors always come up with the most creative ways to "sell" their program. Often selling program involves a song, dance, skit, and more. At 11:00 (unless you go early for choir!), all of camp makes their way to Chapel for a time of reflection and inspiration. Lunch is once again at noon and is typically a little nicer of a meal. For Sunday lunch, campers must turn in a letter home as their entrance ticket. After lunch, you'll do the opposite of what you did in the morning: either sign-ups or have your staff meeting. And then it's fun time! Whether it's first Sunday (Play Day), second Sunday (All-Camp Campfire), or third Sunday (Lazy Sunday), Sunday nights and afternoons are full of cheer. Instead of having dinner in the dining hall, Sunday calls for cookout with brother/sister units (after Play Day), all of camp (before All Camp), or as a unit. Most Sunday's end with an evening Vespers or other campfire before Friendship Circle. With light's out, a new week is upon us!
More than half of our staff at Cheley are not counselors but are what we call supper staff, an integral part of the operation of camp. Within our Support Staff, we have eleven teams: barn crew, camp stores, childcare, food service, laundry, media, medical, office, stores, transportation crew, and program coordinators. Each team has a number of different positions and although some positions within a team don't directly work together, most do.
Rather than touring the day of each position or team, we'll give you an overview of camp life for support staff. Waking up when your position requires (which is often earlier for our food services team, laundry, barn crew, and others), breakfast is at 7:30 in both our dining halls. Support Staff sits separate from our units as they typically finish up faster, to get started with their day. That's not to say, you can't sit somewhere else: you are more than welcome to join a unit's table!
Put simply, both your morning and afternoon will be spent in your area, whether that's gathering content if you're part of the media team, facilitating a program with counselors to help if you're a program coordinator, running the Camp Store if you're a camp store manager, gathering mail or answering the phones if you're in the office, saddling and grooming our horses if you're on barn crew, driving to the Outpost if you're on CheDOT, or another duty specific to your position. Support staff most often work independently in their own area under the direction of their supervisor.
As your morning winds down, we have lunch at noon and after, most of our support staff are able to take a rest hour. This is a time for relaxation in your cabin or around camp where you can write, nap, read, and play cards or another game. This is also a great time for you too to catch your breath! Following rest hour, you will likely jump right back into your duties for the day. If you're on program, however, you'll start around 2:00PM with your afternoon program group as units end rest hour around 1:45PM. Program then ends around 4:15PM. Many support staff afternoons begin to relax around 5:00PM as camp and unit life moves into free time; nevertheless, some positions work later than others depending on your job's responsibilities. Dinner for all is at 6:00PM again in the dining hall unless we have a Thursday or Sunday night cookout.
Due to the nature of being on support staff and not living with campers, most have free time and are off in the evenings. Some nights do require different support staff positions to stay later. Because support staff don't have an assigned unit, you are free to join a campfire – evening program – with any unit assuming you've received permission from the campfire counselor and/or directing staff. And trust us, the campers love to see you at campfires! We also offer various support staff campfires (like a cookout at Rockstock, drive up Trail Ridge, or horseback ride) throughout the summer for you to partake in. To end the night, we have Friendship Circle where we sing the Support Staff song and taps, and then it's off to bed.