Cheley Colorado Camps

Embrace Adventure: Work, Play, and Thrive in the Majestic Rocky Mountains at a World-Renowned Summer Camp in Estes Park, CO!

Since 1921, Cheley has provided summer camp experiences for children ages 9-17 in Estes Park, Colorado. In 2022, we were selected as one of Outside’s Best Places to Work – the only traditional overnight summer camp to make the list.

Nestled in Estes Park Valley, just 75 miles from Denver, Cheley offers breathtaking views of the Rockies. With 750 acres at Land O'Peaks Ranch and five additional sites like Trail's End Ranches, Blue Valley, and Pierson, each adds unique charm from covered wagons to stargazing at the Outpost.

About Cheley Colorado Camps

An Update on our Application Process as of January 18th, 2024: Currently, we are prioritizing applications for counseling staff positions from individuals who identify as male. Please note that limited spaces are available for individuals who identify as female.

Cheley Colorado Camps is a longstanding family-owned co-ed summer camp with a rich history dating back to 1921. Nestled in the picturesque Estes Park Valley, we offer a distinctive youth development experience. Surrounded by the stunning landscapes of Rocky Mountain National Park, the Indian Peaks Wilderness, and the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, campers and staff can engage in a wide range of activities, from hiking, horseback riding, rafting, and mountain biking, creating lifelong memories.

Our Mission: We build the lasting character and resiliency of young people, creating unique life experiences in a challenging and nurturing natural environment.

What truly distinguishes Cheley is our unwavering commitment to character development through the camper-inspired Code of Living. These values, encompassing responsibility, integrity, trust, and empathy, are woven into the fabric of the Cheley experience. We cherish our rich history and tradition while consistently striving to enhance our camp, ensuring that we remain a top-rated summer camp. Accredited by the American Camp Association, we emphasize personal growth, responsibility, and self-reliance, making Cheley an exceptional choice for both campers and staff.

We offer a wide range of programs, including two 4-week terms, a 4-night program for younger campers, family camp, and more. Each summer, we welcome over 1,200 campers and a dedicated team of 220 seasonal staff, supported by a small year-round team. Campers return year after year, with some staying as long as ten summers, forming nurturing relationships with our counselors who serve as positive role models and help uphold the Code of Living.

Our location is an outdoor enthusiast's dream, with over 600 miles of trails in Rocky Mountain National Park alone, along with an array of amenities such as horseback riding rings, a climbing wall, a gymnasium, mountain bikes, and more. Our facilities, steeped in tradition and history, seamlessly blend with the surrounding natural beauty. We are committed to preserving our rugged, rustic character while offering opportunities for personal growth. At Cheley, we believe in creating not just an adventure but also future leaders, making our camp an extraordinary place for campers and staff alike. Join us in the heart of the Rockies for a transformative summer experience that transcends typical camp adventures, shaping the leaders of tomorrow. For more information, visit our website:

The Employee Experience

Our Staff Experience is a unique and enriching journey that extends beyond just a job. When you work at Cheley, you become a part of the close-knit camp community, where you'll not only work but also live in a picturesque natural landscape. We value the transformative power of the Cheley Experience for both campers and staff alike. Here's what you can expect during your season with us:

  1. Community and Inclusivity: At Cheley, we create an inclusive environment where everyone can bring their authentic selves to camp. Our staff comprises more than 200 individuals from the United States and abroad who share a common goal: making summer fun, empowering, and enriching for all, including campers and staff.

  2. Recruitment and Screening: We take our staff recruitment seriously. We interview candidates from around the country and hire international staff through placement agencies. All applicants undergo a rigorous interview process, provide three references, and complete a background check to ensure we have dedicated and diverse staff who are excited to work with youth and positively impact children's lives.

  3. Location and Natural Beauty: Cheley is nestled at the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest, and the Indian Peaks Wilderness. You'll wake up to breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks and pine forests and fall asleep to stunning sunsets. Our location offers an unforgettable summer in the Colorado mountains, where the natural beauty is truly inspiring.

  4. Lifelong Friendships: Working at Cheley means forming deep and lasting friendships with people from various backgrounds. These relationships extend beyond your time at camp and often lead to staff returning year after year to reconnect with this unique community.

  5. Personal Growth and Development: The Cheley Experience isn't for everyone, as it requires personal sacrifices. Living in rustic accommodations, sharing living spaces, having limited personal time, and adhering to a structured schedule with long hours are part of the package. However, the rewards are life-changing. You'll develop countless skills and gain valuable experience that will benefit you in any future job or organization.

  6. Unique Skill-Building: Throughout the summer, you'll have the opportunity to learn and develop skills that go beyond a typical job. These skills include flexibility, integrity, empathy, judgment, initiative, effective communication, work ethic, leadership, and emotional intelligence. Camp experiences will enhance your job marketability and offer you benefits beyond just a paycheck.

  7. Perspective and Lifelong Memories: A summer at Cheley will provide you with perspective and help clarify your long-term goals. Most importantly, you'll leave with lifelong memories and strong bonds with remarkable people. This rare combination of experiences makes Cheley an extraordinary place to work.

At Cheley, we have been offering outstanding summer camp experiences since 1921. Our success is built on the dedication and enthusiasm of our staff, who uphold high personal standards. As a staff member, you will be an integral part of the camp community, with opportunities to support and engage with campers in various ways beyond your job description.

Whether you are a counselor, a member of the leadership staff, or part of the support staff, you'll play a crucial role in creating a safe, fun, and enriching environment for our campers. Your dedication to guiding campers, maintaining discipline, and leading activities will help them have a memorable summer. Moreover, your hard work and commitment will contribute to the Cheley Experience, where personal and professional growth is celebrated.

If you choose to join us for a season at Cheley, you'll embark on an adventure filled with challenges and rewards. Your journey will be marked by friendships, personal development, and the opportunity to make a real impact on the lives of the youth we serve. We look forward to having you as a part of our community, and we guarantee that your Cheley Experience will be a remarkable chapter in your life.

Ideal Candidate

Being a counselor is a very important position and the choices they make affect the campers’ entire camp experience. The goal of the counselor is to give each camper a safe, fun, and memorable summer where they learn about themselves and learn to “act spontaneously in the right. The ideal Cheley staff member embodies:

  • Passion for Youth: Genuine desire to positively impact children's lives.
  • Dedication and Flexibility: Commitment, hard work, and adaptability.
  • Team Player: Ability to collaborate closely.
  • Communication Skills: Clear and effective communication.
  • Empathy and Patience: Understanding and a nurturing attitude.
  • Leadership Potential: Ability to guide and make sound decisions.
  • Outdoor Enthusiasm: A love for outdoor activities.
  • Shared Values: Alignment with our values and mission.

We are looking for staff members who are excited to work with youth, have experience working with children or in a particular program area, and are willing to work hard and impact children's lives. 

Inclusion at Cheley Colorado Camps

We live by our core values and beliefs, which embrace harmonyhonestyintegrityunselfish love, and concern for human dignity. We’re passionate about creating an inclusive camp community that celebrates, supports, and thrives on diversity: in race, color, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, disability and mental health, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, national origin, family status, veteran and military status, and any other category people use to define themselves or others. The Cheley Experience thrives on creating an environment where everyone is comfortable bringing their authentic selves to camp. All are welcome and encouraged to apply!

Room and Board

At Cheley, we provide room and board to all staff members. The specific living arrangements may vary depending on your position and age group:

  • Counseling Staff: Typically, counselors live in cabins with 6-14 campers and 1-2 fellow counselors. For those at the Trails' End Ranches, you'll share cabins with 3 other counselors. Our cabins are rustic, but they become cozy and personalized with staff members' touches. We provide linens, including sheets, pillows, pillowcases, and blankets.
  • Leadership Staff: Our leadership staff members enjoy private or shared rooms with other leadership team members, providing a more private and comfortable space.
  • Support Staff: Support staff members reside in shared housing designated for support staff roles, creating a sense of community among team members.

Our accommodation offerings are designed to ensure that you have a comfortable and enjoyable living experience during your time at Cheley. Most staff members, including all counseling staff, a few leadership staff, and some support staff, share bathhouses with campers, equipped with cubbies for storing toiletries, private stalls, and individual showers, ensuring privacy and comfort

Meals: Our kitchen staff is exceptional, and we take pride in providing delicious and nutritious meals for campers and staff throughout the summer. We offer three meals daily, ensuring you have the sustenance you need for your active days at camp. If you have time off or prefer a to-go option, you can grab a packed lunch from our out-of-camp kitchen to meet your needs.

We understand that finances are important – Housing and meals, valued at over $2,000 for the summer, are provided at no additional cost to you. This not only ensures you have a comfortable place to stay and nutritious meals to enjoy but also allows you to save on essential expenses, fully immersing yourself in the camp experience.

We understand that a comfortable living environment and satisfying meals are integral to your overall experience at Cheley, and we're dedicated to providing both. We look forward to having you on our team and making your time with us enjoyable and memorable.

Note that hourly staff have a weekly deduction of $200. 

Employee Perks

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

  • Competitive Salary: As the highest-paying summer camp in Colorado for counselors 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 hourly staff have a weekly deduction of $200.
  • Certification Bonuses: We recognize the value of skill development and certifications. Staff members receive bonuses for relevant, nationally recognized certifications from established organizations. Please note that certifications earned at Cheley during Staff Training in 2024 are not eligible for additional certification bonuses. We also welcome discussions about other certifications you may find valuable for the Cheley Experience during the interview process.
    • Teaching (Counseling/Leadership Staff only): $200 (1-3 years) or $400 (4-10 years)
    • Wilderness First Aid (WFA): $100
    • Wilderness First Responder (WFR): $200
    • Outdoor Emergency Care Ski Patrol (OEC Ski Patrol): $200
    • Wilderness EMT (WEMT) or EMT: $250
    • CDL License (CheDOT drivers only): $350
    • Climbing Wall Association Climbing Wall Instructor (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 recommend considering this bonus for equipment insurance.)
  • 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 ten 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 is a commendable asset on resumes, showcasing practical experience and fostering teamwork, leadership, and interpersonal skills. Furthermore, we provide the Cheley Advantage, a dedicated resource for ongoing professional development, ensuring our staff members have continuous learning opportunities to enrich their careers further.
  • 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. Outside has recognized our commitment to creating an outstanding workplace. Cheley was 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.

Getting Here and Getting Around

We want to make your journey to camp as smooth as possible! Here are some transportation options to consider:

  • Bringing Your Vehicle: We encourage staff to bring personal vehicles. Many of our team members drive or carpool to camp, and having your vehicle provides flexibility for exploring the nearby areas during your time off.
  • From Denver International Airport (DEN): If you're flying to camp, we recommend using the Estes Park Shuttle, which offers a reliable, daily scheduled service between Denver International Airport and the Estes Valley area. The shuttle can drop you off directly at Cheley.
  • Travel Stipend Assistance: We understand that traveling to camp is a significant part of your adventure. You will be eligible for a travel stipend when you work the entire duration outlined in your offer letter and maintain good standing. The amount varies based on your home address and is designed to help offset your travel expenses.

Please note that staff members are responsible for their transportation to and from camp. While we do not typically provide transportation from Denver International Airport, we may make exceptions in rare circumstances, primarily for international staff.

Additional Information:

  • Slack Channels: We have dedicated Slack channels to help you plan your transportation to camp and coordinate time off with fellow staff members. These channels are a valuable resource for sharing rides or getting travel tips.
  • Bicycles: If you have a bicycle, bring it along! Cheley spans 1400 acres, and a bike can be a convenient way to explore our properties and nearby areas.
  • Entirely Walkable: It's worth noting that the camp is entirely walkable, making it easy to move around and enjoy the area's natural beauty without the need for additional transportation.

For Fun

As a staff member, there are plenty of fun activities to enjoy during your time off Here are some of the exciting things you can do in and around Cheley and Estes Park, Colorado:

  • Hiking and Backpacking: Embark on scenic hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • Outdoor Adventures: Enjoy mountain biking, horseback riding, and rock climbing in the stunning Colorado wilderness.
  • Camping and Campfires: Experience the magic of camping under the starry Colorado skies and sharing campfires with friends.
  • White-Water Rafting: Brave the Cache la Poudre River for an exciting rafting adventure.
  • Stand-up Paddleboarding: Try this water sport on local lakes.
  • Estes Park Exploration: Visit the charming town of Estes Park with its shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. Don't forget to check out the Stanley Hotel, famous for its role in "The Shining."
  • Scenic Drives: Take leisurely drives along the picturesque routes surrounding Estes Park, with breathtaking mountain views.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park: Experience the park's many attractions, from the Trail Ridge Road to Bear Lake and the Alpine Visitor Center.
  • University Town Experiences: Venture to Boulder or Fort Collins for the vibrant atmosphere of university towns.
  • Denver Excursions: Head to Denver to catch a Colorado Rockies baseball game or attend a concert at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
  • Wildlife and Birdwatching: Observe the diverse local wildlife and bird species.
  • Local Events: Join Estes Park community activities, art shows, and festivities to immerse yourself in the local culture.
  • Photography: Capture the natural beauty of the Colorado landscape with your camera.
  • Friendship and Camaraderie: Forge lasting friendships with fellow staff members, creating memories that can extend beyond your summer at Cheley.
  • Learning and Personal Growth: Develop valuable skills and gain leadership experiences through your camp employment.

How to Apply

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 and on your application, please note your availability.

  • Thoroughly read our website, employment information, and other resources for staff to understand the Cheley Experience and what to expect as a staff member and in each position.
  • Fill out and complete our online application. Please take time to thoughtfully answer each question and select the appropriate position preference(s) for your age, skills, and interests.
  • If we decide to move forward with your application, we will contact you via email to schedule a time that works for your interview.

Ready to join our staff?

Click "Apply Here" below.


Contact Cheley Colorado Camps