The John Austin Cheley Foundation

Your support matters! We truly appreciate your investment in the future of the youth that we serve. What will your donor dollars go toward? Your support will help provide funds for equipment, transportation to/from camp, fund a camp bank account, and help to pay for a child to go to camp.

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General Information

Official Name
John Austin Cheley Foundation​​​​​​​
DBA/Trade Name(s)
A Thousand Summers
Former Name(s)
Date Established
Offers Additional Colorado State Tax Credit
Tax ID
Headquarters Address
1420 N. Ogden St.
Denver, CO 80218
Colorado Location
1420 N. Ogden St.
Denver, CO 80218
Mailing Address
1420 N. Ogden St.
Denver, CO 80218
Other Address
Main Phone Number
720-981-2532 x100
Voice Calls Only
Fax Number
Other Phone Number
Social Media Links

Mission Statement

The John Austin Cheley Foundation (now A Thousand Summers) changes kids' lives through transformative summer camp experiences.

Organization History

The John Austin Cheley Foundation DBA A Thousand Summers is a 501(c)(3) foundation that was established in 1989. The Foundation is dependent on the stewardship of hundreds of individuals, as well as other foundations, to provide young people with the experience to be away from home, to be close to nature, and to grow as individuals. The Foundation provides a multi-week residential summer camp experience which offers outstanding personal growth opportunities, including: responsibility, teamwork, perceived competence, affinity for nature, interest in exploration, sense of family citizenship, problem-solving skills, sense of independence and friendship-making skills.

Campers attend one of our eight Associate Camps. Each camp is rigorously reviewed and monitored by the Foundation to ensure that the camp provides powerful growth opportunities for campers. Our eight Associate Camps are:

Cheley Colorado Camps--Estes Park, Colorado
Colvig Silver Camps--Durango, Colorado
Sanborn Western Camps--Florissant, Colorado
Camp Kawanhee for Boys--Weld, Maine
Camp Thunderbird--Bemidji, Minnesota
Camp Kooch-I-Ching, International Falls, Minnesota
Camp Ogichi Daa Kwe, International Falls, Minnesota
Clearwater Camp for Girls, Minocqua, Wisconsin

Over the past 32 years, the John Austin Cheley Foundation has awarded over 1,400 camperships. The Foundation covers the cost of enrollment, equipment, and travel for the economically underserved and highly motivated youth whom we serve.


When asked what Nina would tell the donors who helped send her to camp she said: "I do not know where I would start. I would probably hug them and start crying. I would tell them about all of the fun activities I did, the people I met and the ones who I got really close to, and all of the food I ate. I would tell them about making fires on outcamps, the bruises on my hips from backpacking, the scrapes on my knee and arms from the mountain bike, and show them the cool necklaces and earrings I made in crafts. How they basically saved the life of this 16 year old girl from St. Louis, Missouri. If it wasn't for them, I'm really not sure where I would be right now. Probably still in bed. How camp is that first breath after being underwater for too long. That big breath after being saved from drowning, when you finally let your lungs fill with air after fighting against the current. I would tell them how they let me breathe again. Cheley Camps isn't just a place, or a family, or even a home. It is truly part of the soul. My soul." - Nina - Cheley Colorado Camps

"It's hard to imagine what my life would be like now without the influence of camp. The integration of camp in my life expanded my world view and engrained in me the idea that I can do anything I put my mind to. I am who I am today, I live a life of true joy, I work toward my highest potential, I take intelligent risks, and I experience true passion because of my experiences at camp." - Camper

"A Thousand Summers provides an incredible opportunity for youth who otherwise would not be able to, to go to incredible summer camps. I feel so privileged to have been awarded a "campership" to go to camp and to have been cradled by its care, love, and support for many years." - Camper

"As a single mom, I can't thank you enough for supporting JACF and making camp a possibility for my two children. I have seen firsthand the impact of their time at camp. They return home more motivated, in-touch with what really matters in life and with a true love of the great outdoors. Camp is making a profound difference in their lives! I give you my deepest gratitude." - Parent of two campers

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.