As a kid, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend my summers at Cheley Colorado Camps. I am a 4th generation camper as my Great-Grandfather, my Grandmother and her siblings, and my Dad’s cousin’s all attended Cheley before me. Camp had a MASSIVE impact on my life. I dreamed of climbing Everest as a kid, but I NEVER would’ve thought it was possible if it weren’t for the opportunities I had at camp and the confidence I grew in myself over the course of those summers I spent at Cheley. I am incredibly grateful to have had loving grandparents to help pay my tuition as a camper. Without them, I probably would not have been able to attend.
The most important aspect of camp was that the friendships made there were truly unique. I simply cannot describe how different the relationships built in that environment are. You see each other’s most authentic selves before you even know who you are yourself. You meet and learn from all kinds of people from all across the world, from different backgrounds and different experiences. You share and create the fondest memories of hiking, camping, climbing, biking, horseback riding, goofing off, and being free in the wild. I absolutely love and adore all my camp friends I made over the years. They are all amazing, beautiful souls I will never forget.
On December 31, 2021, my best friend from camp, Rowan Meredith, unfortunately passed away. She was someone I spent seven beautiful summers with and continued that friendship with for the remainder of her life. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding, and anytime we visited each other, it felt completely effortless. Our relationship was truly something different, something special, and something so indescribable I don’t think I will ever experience a friendship so profound again. She significantly influenced me growing up and was such a positive light in my life. Rowan was a camper at Cheley for nine summers and a counselor for three. She loved camp, and she loved providing that camp experience to the next generation of campers she cared for.
In honor of my best friend, Rowan Meredith, I am climbing Everest in her memory. In congruence with my climb, I am raising money to send kids to camp, so they can have the opportunity we had to grow confidence in themselves, build lasting friendships, and create memories to last a lifetime.
In 1989 the John Austin Cheley Foundation was launched by friends of John Austin (Jack) Cheley to honor his legacy and help fulfill his dream of making the summer camp experience available to kids whose families could not otherwise afford it. Founded to honor the vision of Jack Cheley and the dream that sparked A THOUSAND SUMMERS, the Foundation has sent over 1,400 kids to camp all across the country.
It currently costs $5,000 to send a child to camp for a month-long term. With such a heavy price tag, it is difficult for camps to offer the experience to kids from various backgrounds. Through the John Austin Cheley Foundation, my goal is to send at least ten kids to camp, which would be a total of $50,000. Whether I successfully summit Everest or not, 100% of the money raised through my Climbing for Campers campaign will go directly to the John Austin Cheley Foundation, and my climbing costs will be entirely self-funded. However, due to the expensive nature of climbing Everest, any seperate donations to my climbing fund are most welcome and appreciated. To contribute to my Climbing for Campers Campaign, click the link the image below to my GoFundMe. For personal climbing donations venmo me at @highelevationadventure.
This campaign means so much to me. Camp left such an incredible impact on my life, and so did Rowan. I wouldn’t be headed towards my goal of Everest without them, and I can’t think of a better way to honor Rowan’s memory.
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