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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

John Austin Cheley Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Camps, Children & Youth, Education, Sports, Student Services, Youth Development

Mission: Changing kids' lives through transformative summer camp experiences

Results: Over 1000 children served representing over $7million in camperships (camp scholarships) calculated in today's dollars. Summer 2019: - 105 camperships awarded at a value of over $585,000.

Community Stories

76 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While spending a summer working at a JACF camp, I became aware of the tremendous work that JACF was doing for youth at camps across the US. They were funding scholarships and allowing kids the ability to go to camp-I was amazed! That summer, I watched campers transform in a few short weeks, and I wanted to extend that opportunity to youth whose financial situation excluded them from a camp experience. At the end of that summer, I made a paycheck contribution to JACF without hesitation. Since then, I have continued to contribute financially as well as volunteer my time reading applications. When I was unable to go back to camp to work, I was still able to impact youth through my volunteer work. JACF campers are more than one time campers. This organization works with them throughout the year(s) to make further changes to help them into adulthood. I am proud to be a part of JACF, even in the smallest way. Camp is a special place, and JACF is making camp a reality for so many more youth around the nation.

Board Member

Rating: 5

So proud to be affiliated with this foundation for many years and now humbled to serve on the Board. Both our children have benefited and been shaped by their time at camp and in nature. Our foundation, now known as A Thousand Summers, worked hard this past summer to replace the irreplaceable - time at camp and in nature - and help our youth make the most of the Covid-19 summer. We provided a variety of opportunities and offerings to them, and their families, to help their journey as they develop into young adults. We are all so hopeful that these kids, and many more, can return to camps next summer, and for a thousand more. Please help us fulfill our mission of changing kids' lives through transformative summer camp experiences by donating today. Thank you for your support.

Board Member

Rating: 5

There is nothing greater than climbing a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado, or spending a week in a canoe paddling through the wilderness, or even spending a night out under the stars watching the meteors zip past. And more than a terrific memory, time at summer camp builds character, self-confidence and the soft skills that can help a kid get ahead in life. I am delighted to be a part of JACF and A Thousand Summers because we make experiences like this available to great kids who might otherwise never get the chance.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The John Austin Cheley Foundation literally saved my daughter - her heart, her soul and her life! During Nina's 6th grade year she was beginning to struggle emotionally, as many middle school children do. She asked to get away in the summer, but our family just has never had the means for a vacation or to send a child to camp. I was desperately searching online and came across the Cheley Foundation. In less than a week my daughter was awarded a Cheley scholarship and was looking forward to a camp only two months away. Since that time Nina has struggled with severe depression. The Cheley Foundation has continued to bring Nina to camp in Colorado, and given her the space and atmosphere to heal and find her balance.

This scholarship, this camp, provides a strong foundation for Nina that lasts throughout the year. It has brought her intensely close to nature and has taught her the value of putting technology down and living. Nina looks at her future differently now as she uses nature as her great equalizer and hopes to have a career that involves the outdoors. The peace she has found at camp has allowed Nina to become a 3.9 GPA student, a balanced, hard working and respectful young woman. She already has held two jobs and spent several months working a internship - and she is only 15. We owe this, truly, to the Cheley Foundation. We could never have provided this opportunity for Nina, not even for one summer. I can only imagine how many children's lives have been changed by this opportunity that they would not have otherwise been afforded.

If pictures are truly worth a thousand words, then these few photos say it all. Upon returning home from camp in 2019, Nina wanted to start to implement family nights free of electronic devices. She had come to realize at camp how destructive the devices are to family, friends and relationships. To start the new approach to family time she set up and decorated our living room for a picnic and game night. She hung a sheet over the entry, covered the television, prepared dinner and decorated. We had an amazing evening with no interruptions and full family attention. Again, her life has been changed...

Client Served

Rating: 5

If it wasn't for jacf I wouldn't have been able to go to camp at all so they have made a huge difference in my life and I can't tell them how thankful I am and how much I appreciate their work. I got to do so many things I wouldn't have gotten to do if it wasn't for them I even had some once in a lifetime opportunities. I loved white water rafting and not many people get to do that. So it organisations like the jacf that we need so I thank them.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is a non profit that shows up in over-the-top ways for the kids they serve. It's personal, and the mentors and foundation staff really truly care about the kids that make up their program. My daughter attended camp through a campership just a few months after her father died. This time away to process was invaluable for her. But I remember most the personal phone calls to make sure everything was in order, the way her mentor got her excited about camp, and helped me navigate what was needed as a parent, and the absolute growth we saw in her from the time she left and when she came back a month later. She came back ready to face life's challenges again. When COVID-19 closed camps last summer, JACF stepped up to challenge kids to face this challenge and disappointment the same way they would any other challenge on the trail. They changed their perspective, but not their vision, and send the campers a summer of "camp in a box" - providing hours of guided fun and projects, as well as significant support for us parents. The foundation builds into kids in a unique and lasting way and those who have benefitted no doubt continue to enrich their communities through what has been imprinted on them along the way. Life-changing!

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a Trustee, I am proud that we sent over 100 campers to outdoor wilderness based summer camps around the country in 2019. We are planning for summer 2021 and know that kids need to get outside more than ever. Our Board of Directors and staff devote their time and energy to making sure kids have this invaluable experience!

Board Member

Rating: 5

In these strange and trying times - with so many unknowns - I have often circled back to what I DO know for sure; that a life filled with creativity, rewarding work, laughter and love with family and friends, and new opportunities to learn, contribute, take risks, explore and grow are at the crux of what matters most to me.

I am a JACF/A Thousand Summer's supporter and Trustee because I know that camp can help teach kids what matters most… and that magical summers spent in the wilderness can make a real and enduring difference in a young person’s life. I believe that this organization's commitment to helping build confidence, character, grit and soul - for a lifetime - reaches well beyond each camper we get to know and winds its way deep into their families and communities. If only every child could experience the challenging, joyful, awesome experience of attending a fantastic wilderness camp, our world would be changed for the better.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

As a kid, I was lucky enough to attend an extended-stay wilderness camp in the Rocky Mountains for three glorious years. This was made possible through the generosity of a family friend, as my own family would never have been able to afford it. As an adult -- knowing how much camp had shaped and inspired me - I become a donor to the John Austin Cheley Foundation. In addition to being a donor, I am now a proud board member of JACF. I am honored to be able to "pay it forward", helping send wonderful kids to wonderful camps through this organization that runs so incredibly effectively and efficiently with a tiny and committed staff, big hearts, smart strategies, dedicated volunteers and generous donors!
As Edward Abbey wisely noted, "Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit" and the John Austin Cheley Foundation is providing this necessity to deserving kiddos, nationwide.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

The John Austin Cheley Foundation is a wonderful organization that changes kids' lives through transformative summer camp experiences.

Their staff is excellent--extremely professional and dedicated. They communicate regularly and positively about the work of the Foundation and they take the time to get to know their donors, community partners, and their campers and their families.

Everything they do to get the campers ready for their summer camp experience is spot-on. The application process, the mentoring/preparation for the time away from home, the travel arrangements, and the post-camp follow up are all done in a timely and helpful way. They go out of their way to make the experience very positive and something that kids will want to do again. They commit to their campers for multiple years, knowing that each year of camp creates greater personal growth.

The staff and the Board of the Foundation share a passion for the summer camp experience and the personal development that occurs when kids are away from home and in the outdoors for several weeks. Being away from technology and daily involvement in challenging outdoor adventures help kids discover their strengths and reconnect in meaningful ways. At a time when so much has been taken away from young people and they have been forced to spend so much more time online with remote learning and the Covid pandemic, summer camp has become even more critical in helping kids develop confidence, grit, responsibility, and leadership skills. The camps that the Foundation chooses to partner with are top-tier youth development programs that offer amazing wilderness experiences for kids.

I have been involved with the John Austin Cheley Foundation as a volunteer for over 10 years, and I couldn't be more proud of the work that they do. They are making a positive difference in the lives of young people across the country!

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Donor

Rating: 5

The John Austin Cheley Foundation (JACF) is a highly impactful organization that changes kids' lives through transformational summer camp experiences. Their dedicated staff and board of trustees are professional, experienced, and committed to the mission and vision of the organization and the wonderful kids and families they serve. JACF is an inspiring non-profit organization that is truly making a difference!

Kimm Buettner L.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been fortunate to experience first hand the power of a residential summer camp experience having both attended camp as a child, sending my own kids to camp, and seeing the impact of camp on children of all backgrounds in my work as an educator.

The John Austin Cheley Foundation brings the opportunity of a residential summer camp experience to a wide range of children from different backgrounds, experiences, values, and more. It's not just a one-off summer at camp, but a commitment to its recipients of the camp experience scholarship to multiple years of transformative experiences that will impact them for a lifetime.

What is particularly unique to this foundation is the opportunity that campers have to continue their experiences of camp through the Capstone initiative. Participants are expected to find a way to participate and contribute to the communities where they live. For the foundation to want to extend the experience of camp beyond the one month each summer shows tremendous foresight and thought about how to broaden the reach of the impact of what they do.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In response to the impact COVID-19 had upon summer camp programs in 2020 and the loss of opportunities for kids to socialize and grow and play out in nature, the John Austin Cheley Foundation found a way to lift the spirits of the kids they would have typically sent to summer camp via their Campership Program by providing them with alternative programming over the summer. They adjusted their service to ensure that the kids they serve were not forgotten but instead were connected as a community and had the opportunity to remain physically active and engaged with camp style activities. Additionally, they recognized that with the camp program option taken away these low income camper families would be shouldering additional unanticipated financial responsibilities for their kids over the summer. The Foundation stepped in and provided financial support to all of these families - going above and beyond.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thanks to this Organization my daughter was able to participate in a summer camp and had great experience I hope this Organization keeps helping other children to get this kind of experience.

Thank you Cheley Foundation!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The people of John Austin Cheley Foundation made possible life changing experiences for both of our sons.The attention,follow-up and hard work from JACF created a corridor for our family to attend camp and flourish in the Rockies and helped to create memories and lessons we're still discussing at our dinner table,many years later.
Without the assistance of JACF,our family would not have been able to participate in one of the most important family gifts any parent could wish for.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cheley Foundation positively impacts children’s lives by introducing them to and supporting them in the experiences of high quality summer camps.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter received a Cheley Foundation scholarship to go to Camp Thunderbird for Girls in 2016. She was 13 years old and shy, she told me she wanted to go away to camp to make friends and try to get to be less shy. I was terrified shed never even been to a sleep over. My daughter returned with such excitement. Telling me of the beautiful sky with millions of stars not the same we have here in the city and of her new friends shed met and how much fun shed had. I seen a change in her she had more confidence. The following summer she went away to camp again, with the same group of friends this time I was not terrified just so grateful. If it wasn't for the Cheley Foundation I would never be able to offer my child this wonderful experience. My daughter is now 16 years old she is no longer shy and she tells me all the time how much she loved camp and hopes to return to work there one day. I am so grateful to the Cheley foundation for giving my family this opportunity.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had imagined sending my kids to camp Cheley since before they were born. Life circumstances put me in a position where that was financially out of reach. I was heart broken. When I found out about JACF, I had hope again. He was able to make it though the wait list and get a campership. The staff was patient and encouraging with us throughout the process and when the good news came, I think they were as excited as we were. His experience at camp was life changing and he is excited to to now pass along this good will to his community though a capstone project this year. He now desires to keep going back and becoming a counselor himself one day. I can not express enough joy at what JACF has done for our family.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization is a wonderful organization it has given my son zahir a life time opportunity to experience natural inhabitants and also make him a better person I’m sure it’s an experience he will cherish so i say go John Cheley foundation you’re the best on behalf of my family we say big thank you

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Client Served

Rating: 5

JACF provided an amazing experience for our daughter Sophia, giving her the opportunity to go to sleep way camp. She always asked, but we didn’t have financial conditions for it. It was the first time this year that she has ever done it. Sophia is 12 years old, and came back much more independent, listening, and giving much more value to her family and friends she made at camp and outside of camp.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our family has a long history with the JACF and we are thankful that it will continue for another generation. The last couple years have been tough financially for our family and this last summer our daughter was old enough to attend Cheley Colorado camps. We had a rough time getting the funds together and without the help of the JACF my daughter would not have been able to attend. Summer camps are a luxury, but at the same time they can be life changing. My wife was changed at an early age when she attended Cheley and I can honestly say my daughter was a better person after coming home from camp. We have the JACF to thank specifically for these transformations. My son will likely attend this next summer and we cant wait to see him mature with the help of Cheley camps and the JACF. What an amazing group of people and a positive influence for our family. Thank you guys so much from the bottom of our hearts.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The camp experience is vital to the development of our youth. Children have the opportunity to disconnect from social media and devices, they learn how to connect with others, live without their parents, and become their "best selves". JACF is giving over 100 children an opportunity they wouldn't otherwise experience. And by doing this, changing the trajectory of their lives. As one of the camps where children attend, we trust that JACF is vetting quality children that value the experience and contribute to the camp community. After 30 years, they are quietly changing the world.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a former teacher and camp director, the Cheley Foundation taught me to mentor young people who could not afford, but would benefit from, attending a summer camp. I witnessed the growth and self reliance these young people acquired from returning summer after summer to camp. Not a one time thing, a camper may return every summer until they age out.

Then I volunteered as a board member and watched the organization blossom into sending over 100 campers to 9 established and vetted summer camps around the country. No longer a board member, I continue to volunteer to evaluate new camper's applications, and coach mentors on their camper's Capstone Service Project. Once a camper reaches high school, they are encouraged to 'give back' to their communities with a service project. Each camper must document the initiation, progress, and results of their project through a web presentation. These are available for you to view online at the Cheley Foundation website.

In the past 20 years, I have seen my donations of time and money produce phenomenal young people whom I hope will one day run our world.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a former teacher and have worked in summer camps for over half of my life. When I joined the John Austin Cheley Foundation, I found that I could provide the volunteer skills needed to help recruit qualified young people to attend summer camp for free. We managed to increase the number of young people the Cheley Foundation sent to camp from 25 to 100 while I was on the Board. And the growth and personal development I witnessed from these young adults was simply astounding. Not even one of my classroom students showed as much growth and personal development as those young people who attended the summer programs which the Cheley Foundation endorses. I truly believe every child should attend a three to four week overnight camp. And the Cheley Foundation provides the safest, most secure, summer enrichment programs that you can find almost anywhere in the United States.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

My has ADHD & mild Autism diagnosis. He is an awesome kid, and uniquely him. I saw him lose his spark when he kept getting bullied at school and didn't have friends.  He only played video games, spent many hours and weekends watching inappropriate youtube videos (without my permission) and was getting depressed. As a parent I had to do something about this.  

This is how we discovered JACF, we applied for the scholarship and couldn't believe we got it. He was really scared to go and I wasn't sure this was right for him.  I am an anxious parent and I was amazed at the support Karen (JACF program director)  has given me as well. She listened to me and calmed my nerves regarding the thought of letting my son go away for such a long time.  When he returned from camp that summer I saw an amazing transformation in him. He was calmer and didn't rush to his X-box or Youtube right away, which were his go to activities. That year was his first year in middle school and as expected he still had a hard time with his peers but he handled bullies differently, advocating for himself and started to make friends and keeping them.  He wasn't sure he wanted to go back to summer camp because he missed being away from home and I missed him too until Karen and Tim invited us to a JACF gathering. When we got there he was so, so happy to see his buddies from camp that he changed his mind. We re applied and were lucky enough to go another year.  He has since then made friends from other states and texts/ calls them often. His father and I are separated and it's also been very hard for him to deal with too. The only place in the world where he feels like a kid, safe & emotionally stable is in the mountains at summer camp. He can forget the struggles of school and his issues of home life. He really holds Cheley Camp as a special place in his heart. He is so blessed and lucky to have had these opportunities, thank you for your support!

P. S. His new favorite activities are no longer online gaming or youtube, he'd rather play outside and go hiking!:-)

Client Served

Rating: 5

The John Austin Cheley Foundation is GREAT!!!! My son has been going to overnight camp (Camp Kawanhee for Boys) for the past 3 years thanks to this foundation and their donors. He has made friends from all over the world and had experiences and memories that will last a lifetime I am forever grateful.

Advisor

Rating: 5

As the Development Director of Boys Hope Girls Hope of St. Louis-a residential program for scholars with high academic potential, who come from adverse settings that might not allow them to reach their full potential--our scholars have experienced the ultimate camping experience at Camp Thunderbird. Because of the generous scholarships, Javon, Karl and most recently Aniya have returned from camp with new leaderships skills, stories to share and the biggest smiles ever! Their first time experiences of swimming in a lake, rock climbing, sailing and more allows our scholars opportunities placing them on a more level playing field in life. Thank you John Austin Cheley Foundation for all you do to support so many!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have worked with the John Austin Cheley Foundation for 10 years and currently serve as Board Chair. JACF provides transformative experiences at residential summer camps for kids who could not otherwise afford to go. Camp is not a luxury. It’s essential. Camp gives kids a chance to be unplugged, in the outdoors, creating meaningful relationships and developing the confidence and perseverance they’ll need to be productive and happy adults. In this digital world of screen communication and isolation, camp is a must.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is by far one of the best nonprofits I have ever felt with. For 3 years my daughter has been able to experience a once in a life time chance at a summer camp. Being a mother of 5 is hard to send even one child to a month long camp. I HIGHLY recommend John Austin Cheley Foundation for helping those in need and giving a child a lifetime experience. I would also like to add how smooth the process is and how understand they are for those that may not understand or unable to work technology.

Matthew David S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is a great opportunity for any and all children. It has opened my daughters eyes to see what life is all about. She has learned new skills, she has made new friends from across the states. Our daughter has learned to explore new adventures. She did things that she would have never got the chance to do in a lifetime for some kids. She learned how to ride horses. And to hike and mountain climbing. That’s just to name a few things. I would recommend this foundation to anyone who would love to see there son or daughter have and adventure they’ll never forget for the rest of there lives. Thank you all from the John Austin Cheney Foundation for all you have done for my daughter.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a teenager from a troubled home. Fortunately, with help from extended family, I was able to attend Cheley Camp. Over four summers at camp I was guided and mentored. I learned leadership skills and responsibility, I became tougher mentally and physically and I made friendships that have been life-long. I believe if you ask anyone who has had the opportunity to attend a good organized camp, their story will be similar to mine, no matter their circumstances or background.

I have followed the Cheley Foundation from its beginning. Their impressive goal of providing a camp experience to as many underprivileged children as possible is one that is most worthy. I am also highly impressed with the Foundation's small but very dedicated staff, with the outside directors and with its tight fiscal management. Seldom can one talk in glowing terms about all aspects of a charitable foundation, but such is the case with the John Austin Cheley Foundation.

Now retired, it's my privilege to be a volunteer and offer what assistance I can in evaluating prospective campers. Those selected I know will benefit beyond words with their camp experience, an experience that would not be possible without this foundation.

1 Jessica R.7

Client Served

Rating: 5

The John Austin Cheley Foundation helped my kids in every way imaginable. They provided scholarship money so that my children could attend camp and grow as individuals. I believe that the experiences that my own children had at Colvig Silver Camps helped them to have the confidence and leadership skills that they display now at their schools. I could not have done it on my teacher's salary. I love Cheley and what they did for my family!

1 Elizabeth Harrison L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I have four children, all boys, and there is six years between the first and the last. Our household is busy and can be overwhelming with all of the energy that flows through it. We are caring and thoughtful parents, but our family has a lot of struggles. If you have ever read Ross Green's "Explosive Child," then you would understand our second born. He is easily frustrated, a black and white thinker, has low frustration tolerance, can swear like a trucker when angry, and can be physically aggressive. He is also the funniest member of our family, highly intelligent, witty, generous, and very physically capable. I have always been especially worried about him. I have read every book, tried every type of therapy, briefly tried medication, and done everything under the sun that I could think to do to help him in the places that he is challenged. And then I found JACF. Our son has attended Camp Kanwanhee for two Summers. The first year for two weeks and the second year for three weeks. After his first time we got his counselor report and, as I suspected, there were a few things that had come up during camp that they were concerned about. The second Summer you could tell that they were having a hard time finding anything negative to say. He has blossomed under the leadership at that camp in a way that I couldn't have dreamed of. It is an all boys camp which is the perfect fit for him. He is able to be challenged physically with all of the wonderful activities that they offer: soccer, basketball, baseball, climbing, swimming, kayaking, sailing, and so much more. This camp is saving his life. And I mean that. He is a child with enormous potential but so many hurdles in his way because of his wiring. This camp experience gives him the best springboard for change. It shows him that he is capable of doing hard things like when he learned a barrel roll in his kayak for the first time. It shows him he can follow through like the "Ten Mile Swim" club he earned a spot in.
This camp has made and will continue to make a difference for our son and it would never have been in reach were it not for the JACF Foundation. Never in a million years would we be able to send him to a camp of that caliber. Because of JACF, we have more hope for our son's future. We are forever grateful.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a mentor for a camper who benefited from the John Austin Cheley Foundation, I want to share a brief moment about the connections made this camper through the camp experience. I just heard from the young man recently and he was telling me about his high school graduation (he lives in Florida) and that he was so excited to be able to visit a college in California ( I knew that this kind of travel would be a financial stretch for this family), I asked him where he was staying and he said with his friend T. from camp. He was so happy to be able to spend time with him and visit a school he was interested in attending. I asked him if he was still in touch with his other friends from camp and he said yes, many of them. I believe he will have lifelong connections that will enrich the lives of him and his friends from the experience provided to him by the John Austin Cheley Foundation and Camp Thunderbird.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have a son who struggles with depression and anxiety. He is also a verified SPED student with mild autism. The John Austin Cheley Foundation provides him with a scholarship to Camp Koochiching and also provides him with transportation there and back. They provide you with service and support year round as well answering any questions or concerns and helping you problem solve. We are so grateful! Camp does something for him that I cannot do! He comes home more confident, independent, and responsible. He tells me every year how Kooch is his favorite place on earth and the one place he always fits in. The John Austin Cheley Foundation is helping mold today's youth into tomorrow's leaders!

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Client Served

Rating: 5

JACF and their support was absolutely essential in allowing my son to have the best summer experience of his life at Colvig Silver Camp in July 2019. Karen has been so helpful and easy to work with, and I can tell she genuinely cares about Brayden's success at camp as well as his future. Even when Brayden was scared to go to camp right before the session started, Karen was able to offer advice and suggestions that were ultimately successful in encouraging him to go. We truly appreciate JACF's help in starting Brayden on a path of what will hopefully be many summers of significance with Colvig Silver Camp. We are so grateful!

Maggie A.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My underrepresented students are provided incredible summer campership experiences through JACF. My students come home learning new skills and demonstrating social skills that level the playing field compared to their more affluent peers. Staff at JACF are professional, friendly and timely. We appreciate everything JACF does for students!!

Donor

Rating: 5

Adopt-a-Camper program allows one to ensure the funding for a camp experience for five years. Offering the hope in providing a multi-year experience has been exquisitely rewarding. The life-changing impact of a multi-year wilderness experience is shared with the donor as the donor receives a "letter from camp" and feels intimately involved with the delight and growth that only a camp experience can provide. The John Austin Cheley Foundation selects incredibly wonderful kids who would not otherwise be able to afford the summer camp experience. Not only do the campers benefit from being unplugged and challenged in the wild, but so do the affiliate camps, and the communities to which the child returns. "My" camper was offered a leadership position in the camp he attends, validating what I believed: that this camper gave as much to the camp as he, in turn, received.

The John Austin Cheley Foundation is a tremendously inspirational nonprofit, with a very dedicated and caring board and staff. I cannot think of a better organization to support, and I hope that you will join me as I continue to contribute to the John Austin Cheley Foundation.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

As a board member of a nonprofit camp associated with the Cheley Foundation, I give them my highest rating. For one thing, having Cheley Foundation campers attend our camp very importantly adds diversity of background. In this way it is a great benefit not only to the Cheley campers but to all who attend our camp. I think more importantly, the campers sponsored by Cheley are great kids! Cheley does a wonderful job in their selection process. We have been an affiliated camp for several years now. We are very pleased with what they and we together have done. We are proud to have been chosen by Cheley as a participating camp and we are glad to be a part of what they offer.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The John Austin Cheley Foundation sends us boys each year to attend Camp Kawanhee. We are very impressed with the character of the boys they have sent to us and the success of them in assimilating into the Kawanhee environment. This speaks to the very thorough and meticulous process followed in selecting the boys and in matching them to our program. The staff at the Foundation are caring, extremely competent and organized. They take their work very seriously and believe in the mission of the organization and this is evident in every thing they do. Extremely well run organization!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The John Austin Cheley Foundation sends underserved youth to wilderness-based summer camps to give them access to experiences they would otherwise be unable to have that offer them the opportunity to grow, learn leadership skills, form friendships, and develop resiliency and confidence. The Foundation works with a network of camps and community organizations to form meaningful mentoring relationships for the campers it serves. By maximizing all of its resources, the Foundation is very efficient in the use of its funds, its staff time and its volunteers.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The John Austin Cheley Foundation has a clear purpose and mission, and works efficiently and passionately in its unique space to change the lives of individual children. It works with community-based you organizations to identify highly-motivated, under-privileged kids to send them to extended-stay wilderness summer camps, a life-changing experience for all children. The Foundation promises to fund these summer experiences for every single summer the young person is interested in participating, allowing each young person to form lasting friendships and bonds that will carry over a lifetime.

At bottom, the Foundation changes lives. It directly and permanently improves the life of every single kid that participates. Not many organizations can claim such a direct and profound impact!

1 Todd N. L.

Donor

Rating: 5

As a donor to the JACF for nearly a decade, I've seen the changes to kids lives that a dedicated group of volunteers can make when they focus on long-term impact. It's not just the kids the camperships impact, but the families and surrounding communities. Extended stay summer camps are a fantastic learning environment for today's kids that need time away from technology and everyday stresses. I'll remain a donor because kids matter and camp delivers!

Board Member

Rating: 5

The John Austin Cheley Foundation supports youth development in an extremely unique and effective manner. They are changing the lives of children by sending them to high powered, impactful summer camp programs across the United States. Their reach into all corners of the country proves that this organization is making a real difference for so many people. I'm really proud to be a part of such a wonderful organization!

Please join me in supporting the John Austin Cheley Foundation!
John Boylan
Chairman

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Board Member

Rating: 5

As our planet and society confront the rising environmental crises, no action is more powerful than developing the future generations relationships to nature. We are in the midst of the largest transformation to urban culture ever in the human race. JACF helps lower the walls between our kids and nature to get us all in touch with what is most important to create a sustainable future together.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The John Austin Cheley Foundation makes it possible for kids to go to wilderness based summer camps. I've heard the testimonials of campers - They love it and state it's been life changing. Some outcomes include increased confidence, increased appreciation of the out-of-doors and exposure to leadership opportunities. We've noticed that the campers and alumni go on to continue to push themselves out of their "comfort zone". So important!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Cheley Foundation sent 91 deserving kids to summer camp this year! They do an outstanding job of identifying kids that would greatly benefit from a residential camp experience. Top notch organization.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Cheley Foundation changes lives by making it possible for inner-city children to spend time in the natural world. Summer camp gives kids the opportunity to challenge themselves and to explore who they will become in a safe and exciting environment. The Cheley Foundation which, so generously, gives camp scholarships has allowed several children I work with to burst out of their teenage selves and develop into fantastic people with a new found respect for themselves, those around them, and the beauty of the world we live in. There is magic in play and through the dedication of those at the Cheley Foundation, deserving kids are finding out there are no limits to just where that magic will take them.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been able to experience so many wonderful, fun, and exciting things that he would normally never have had the opportunity to do otherwise. The John Austin Cheley Foundation has graciously and selflessly offered my son an opportunity of a lifetime by providing him with a JACF camper scholarship! He has been able to perfect his sailing skills and more, learning from some great loving leaders who really care about his success and growth. I can not say enough about the John Austin Cheley Foundation! I am forever thankful to the John Austin Cheley Foundation from the bottom of my heart for making his dreams come true. He has made many good friends and shared memorable experiences together which will last his lifetime. My son has become more fearless, more confident, and more daring thanks to the John Austin Cheley Foundation's gift. My son has been blessed to also experience quiet and peaceful time in nature and on water, camping for three wonderful weeks, away from the big-city life and noise. Thank you so much John Austin Cheley Foundation for all that you do in making dreams of a lifetime come true for not only my son, but for all children who normally would not have this opportunity otherwise!! My son comes home very happy and sharing with me so many great stories and experiences. He also does not have time to miss me while he is away because he is too busy learning, growing, and helping others. You are wonderful people at JACF . In all that you do, John Austin Cheley's legacy lives on through the empowerment of our youth and his positive outlook on the future of our young people. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! John Austin Cheley Foundation, WE LOVE YOU!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

The JACF has been a great investor of my daughter's future. They have supported her dream to attend summer camp in SW Colorado for the last two years. She has grown immensely in her confidence and independence. Attending camp would not have been possible without the generous gift the Foundation provided to us. My daughter loves camp so much that even after a month she wants to stay on! She talks about wanting to become a counselor there as soon as she is old enough and this to me is the biggest praise of all. The JACF provides children an opportunity to interact and enjoy nature in a safe environment, at the same time teaching them valuable lessons about life, relationships, communication, leadership, and group effort. I highly recommend this organization as a great investment into our children's futures. Thank you JACF and all future donors!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

The John Austin Cheley Foundation provided my son with an opportunity of a life time. Summer Camp at Cheley Colorado Camp. The staff at camp, the experience as a whole, changed my child's life for the better.

The Foundation was there to help answer questions every step of the way, from the application process, to transportation, packing, everything.

These are wonderful people doing wonderful work, and I will be grateful to them for what they have provided to my son.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

The John Austin Cheley Foundation has provided an opportunity for my son that he would never have dreamed of otherwise. By providing a scholarship, Alex has been able to attend the Big Springs Summer Camp for boys for the past three summers, and looks forward to attending again next summer. While at camp Alex has been unplugged from all his tech devices while being plugged into nature. He has learned leadership skills, social skills, and the fellowship of young men. He has hiked 14,000 foot peaks, learned to rock climb and paddle board, foraged for food, and studied the stars. The memories and skills he has gained with be with him for the rest of his life, and for this we are most grateful.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has received a camper-ship from the John Austin Cheley Foundation to attend Colvig Silver Camps. This has been the best experience for her and would not have been possible without the help of this foundation. She has become a well rounded, solid teenager, ready to tackle new experience and has developed a new appreciation for nature and the world around her. THANKS!!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What an amazing organization this is! The John Austin Cheley Foundation gives children from low income families a chance to experience a wilderness summer camp.
The staff is fantastic! They were always quick to respond and help with any questions we had. They truly love and care about children and the effect that camp has on their lives.
It has been a pleasure to work the foundation and I hope to be able to continue as a mentor in the future. This foundation has bought so much happiness into my life.


3

Client Served

Rating: 5

JACF is such an amazing foundation. Without them my daughter would not have been able to experience Cheley Colorado Camp. She received a campership for the first term this summer. She came back a changed young lady with new friends that will last a lifetime. Thank you JACF, we will be forever grateful!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The John Cheley Austin Foundation enabled our daughter to attend Colvig Silver Camps in Durango, Colorado for the past three years. I thank and highly recommend the organization.

Michael Brown
Parent of camper in 2013-2015

3

Client Served

Rating: 4

JACF gave our daughter an unprecedented opportunity. The Staff, along with our daughter's mentor, got everything we needed processed in a timely manner. This was our daughter's first time away from home on an extended trip. The camp made her feel welcome, cared for, and challenged by all the fun activities. She hardly had time to be homesick. If she got bored or changed her mind, she quickly found something else to spark her interests. She came home with many stories and a HUGE smile on her face and wants to know when she can go back. My other children are asking about when it will be their turns. I hope for many summers with this fantastic organization.

3 Brenda Vieths S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

A friend has asked for a few years to be a mentor to our children to go to a Cheley camp. I resisted because they were so young. However, last summer I decided that the following summer, after 5th grade, would be a good year for my eldest to go to camp. We began the process to apply for the grant in October. It was well worth the time and effort! She left in early June and came home 4 weeks later. She had so much fun! I could tell that the time away had changed her, in small ways. She was even more confident in her decisions. She seems so relaxed and happy. She made a lot of new friends.

She would like to go again next year and try out one of the other camps. She wants to see what other experiences the camps can provide. She has inspired her younger siblings to attend in a couple of years. We will see what happens but I really hope that all 3 can eventually experience a Cheley Summer camp.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 4

My grandson has attended camp using John Austin Cheley Foundation scholarships. The John Austin Cheley Foundation makes a point to find children who can benefit from going to camp who may not be able to afford camp on their own. The paper work is quite extensive and can be difficult to negotiate for novice computer users, but does guarantee qualified campers in need to receive available scholarships. The John Austin Cheley Foundation also requires returning campers to create, execute and complete community service, serving a need in their community by fostering volunteer work.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

The John Austin Cheley Foundation has become responcible for offering our son the most significant life experiences in his life time thus far. In his words, "There are no words to describe how wonderful camp is." Every single of the four years that he has attended, Savian returns from camp stronger, more confident, more compassionate and thoughtful and more in love with nature than before. In our community, Savian is known as a great kid. I believe that we have the John Austin Cheley Foundation to thank for that. He certainly takes as much as he can from his experiences at camp and applies them right back into his life on the whole and I know that he is not alone. Colvig Silver Camps has a strong and impactful reputation, so much so, that many of the counselors were once campers themselves. I can't thank the John Austin Cheley Foundation enough for their support in getting our son to camp. It truly makes a big difference in Savian's life and all those that come into contact with him. The benefits are at least, exponetial!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son was given a life changing gift when he received a scholarship from the John Austin Cheley Foundation. Camp Cheley is something my son talks about daily. He has made friends from all over the country; and, all over the world. He has been exposed to new activities, he has learned to be a better person and he has grown a great deal from his time at Cheley. We will never be able to say thank you enough for all the foundation has done for our family.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

The John Austin Cheley Foundation has been a remarkable organization that has, without a doubt, played a significant role in my son’s quality of life and in reinforcing strong values and instilling a sense of self-confidence and independence as he grows into his teens.

The services proved by the Cheley Foundation have provided him the opportunity to discover more about others as well as himself within the natural setting of camp, and with exceptional leaders, administrators, and counselors.

The Cheley Foundation also provided me help along the way too, with the application process, with smoothly working out modifications to the schedule in order to support a last-minute medical situation, with answering questions whenever I had them, and also having timely and consistent email updates and information all along the way - from the initial application submission to preparation and even packing for camp!

It’s because of the John Austin Cheley Foundation that my son’s life has been impacted in ways I know will last his lifetime. With the camp experience, he was given the opportunity for things like meeting new people from all over the country, discovering new activities he loves to do that he wouldn’t have the chance to otherwise -- like how much fun it is to camp under the stars… cooking his own meal over a campfire… discovering he loves to do carpentry and wheel pottery... taking the canoe out on the lake when it's late in the day and the water is calm…. realizing the pride he feels when he sweeps up the cabin or makes his bed or helps another camper out... learning he's not afraid of horses after all, even wondering if someday, he would make a good counselor, just like his own counselor was.

Because of Cheley, my son’s life is richer, with experiences that will help guide him as he grows through his teen years into a young man. Sincere thanks to an organization that has impacted our lives in a beautiful way.

- Sandy Banker (for David)

5

Former staff

Rating: 5

The John Austin Cheley Foundation has been instrumental in the development of our teenage twins. Our oldest son, Jon, grew in so many ways through his camp experience. Socially, he enjoyed the many activities offered by camp. He connected with other campers through experiences such as camping, backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, etc. He challenged himself physically by participating in 4 day backpacking trips. He conquered his fear of heights by utilizing the rope courses at camp and participating in repelling activities.
Ben benefited from the social activities at camp. He is a shy young man. Every year, he has come home with more friendship stories. Ben likes to challenge himself physically and camp is great for that purpose. This year he did a two-day, 30 mile mountain bike trip followed by a Mount Princeton hike followed by a 36 mile hike. The wonderful thing about camp is that there is something for every one. Horseback riding, crafts, archery, drama,swimming, river days, service days, and much more provide opportunities for campers to appreciate one another in the beautiful outdoors.
The John Austin Cheley Foundation enables children, who don't have the necessary means, to experience camp. This foundation is fundamental in growing great kids. Leadership, compassion, service, courage, wisdom, perseverance and resiliency are character traits that are cultivated within the camp experience.

2 Mary358

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great camp for both kids and parents. 2nd time and 1st time campers. More than happy to do it allover again.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been a recipient of a scholarship to summer camp through the John Austin Cheley Foundation for 4 years. This opportunity is helping to shape him into the man he is becoming. The values and camaraderie he receives from going to camp makes him want to be an even better person than he already is. His father died while I was pregnant and I have not remarried. He gets to spend time with boys and men that are all working toward becoming better people. He doesn't want to leave camp when I come to pick him up, which means the camp did their job and I have done mine. My son is so confident and happy. He looks forward to camp every summer. We have received so much as a family with the opportunity for my son to go to camp. I will be forever grateful for the JACF.

4 Liz_69

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Cheley foundation help a lot families kids grow in many ways. Personally I saw A big Change on my daughter's decisions she is making better choices she became more confident and caring for others.THANK YOU JOHN AUSTIN CHELEY FOUNDATION FOR MAKING THIS POSSIBLE FOR US.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cheley Foundation was literally a dream come true for my son. He is a 15 year old city boy who has never had the experience of being in an environment like Colorado and participate in male bonding and amazing experiences like horse back riding, riflelry, archery, sleeping a yurt, etc. The Cheley Foundation has made this all possible. The staff are so amazing and easy to talk to, providing all the information one can need to make it a wonderful experience. They even helped me go through the process of "letting go" and gave me the confidence to do so. Their philosophies and approach to giving children a life affirming opportunity is seen in every step of the process and in the staff themselves. My son is an only child, and as a struggling single parent who could never have provided my son with what the Cheley Foundation has, I am so very grateful. My son has an opportunity to meet children from all over the world who share the same love of outdoor adventure and nature that is so difficult to get in a city environment. These shared experiences are helping my son grow into a young man with constructive and healthy challenges that will make him stronger mentally, spiritually and emotionally... this can only lead to success in an ever changing and difficult world, wherein it is so important that he learn to work through problems and not be given immediate satisfaction. My son has all my love and support, but the Cheley Foundation totally had his back! Thank you so much Cheley Foundation for giving my son a chance to know what life can be!