Why We Do It

“Our goal is to see children grow into competent young adults who have the confidence to go out into the world and succeed – personally, professionally, and as citizens of their communities; to see children imagine a future filled with ambition, opportunity and accomplishment.”

– Tim Lucas, Executive Director



To change kids’ lives through transformative summer camp experiences.




We BELIEVE spending time in the wilderness can transform our character and soul – building on who we are and preparing us for who we will become.
We BELIEVE the future is formed today by the experiences we provide to those who are still growing and exploring. That’s why we identify youth from every walk of life and help them navigate their own path. Our commitment is not for a week, a month, or a summer – but a lifetime.
We BELIEVE the opportunity to go for a hike, jump in a boat, enjoy the warmth of a campfire, make lifelong friends and count stars in the sky should not be limited. So we strive to make it available to as many youth as possible because we recognize the impact we have isn’t on one person or one family but ripples out into society as a whole.
For we KNOW summer camp is magical – it is challenging, breathtaking, fun and nurturing, all at once. And we want it to last forever.



The founders of the John Austin Cheley Foundation understood in their hearts that summer camp and time spent in nature have a profound effect upon the trajectory of children’s lives and they desired to carry this powerful opportunity forward to others. We continue to share that vested interest in the success of young people, particularly those who face significant barriers in our society.

We firmly believe that extended stay wilderness summer camp programs play a critical role in youth development, strengthening and reinforcing learning and allowing children to thrive. These types of highly impactful enrichment experiences are financially out of reach for the families we serve. We work to remove the barriers and make broadly accessible the significant growth that camp provides.

“It is so nice to have a place where I can just come and be myself and can be the person I feel I am meant to be.”
– Zahir,
3-time Campership recipient

“We believe this experience is too special and too life-altering not to share it with as many girls from as many backgrounds as possible.”
– Liz Baker,
Executive Director, Clearwater Camp for Girls