From Camper to Counselor: Chase’s First Paycheck

All Variety programs empower kids and teens with the skills, confidence, and independence needed to achieve their goals for the future.  For many, that future involves transitioning into the workforce.  During Disability Employment Awareness Month, Variety acknowledges the valuable contributions of workers with disabilities.  Today, we celebrate Variety Teen Chase who earned his first ever paycheck this summer as a Camp Counselor!   

Chase connected with Variety as an eight-year-old at the recommendation of his occupational therapist.  Variety has been making a profound impact on Chase’s life ever since through unique enrichment programs like Performing Arts and Adventure Camp. 

Chase has performed centerstage as a Munchkin in Variety Theatre’s production of The Wizard of Oz, and even sang with the Variety Children’s Choir alongside Grammy Award-winning artist, Sting.

Now at age 14, Chase has matured into a confident young man, thanks in part to his experiences with Variety.  As his mom Katie shares, “Variety has been such a part of Chase’s journey as he’s grown into such an amazing confident young man.”

This summer, instead of participating as a camper, Chase decided to work as a counselor.  Inspired by his close relationship with his longtime counselor Danny, Chase felt he was ready to take on this new role.

Chase worked four weeks of Adventure Camp, providing one-on-one support for a new camper each week.  “I enjoyed getting to hang out with all the kids in my group and see them having a good time, it was fun!” expresses Chase.

For many years now, Danny has served as an enduring example to Chase of what he can accomplish. “I watched Danny gain confidence over the years and now I’m seeing that in Chase too,” shares Katie.

Aspiring to be a preschool teacher one day, Chase felt starting out his career with Variety was a good step in the right direction.  He received his very first paycheck during the summer while also gaining valuable work skills like time management and responsibility.

“Seeing the look of pride on his face as he received his check was indescribable” Katie recalls.

“It’s just cool to watch him grow over the years and not need his mom as much anymore.  It feels good to see him that confident.”

Your support can empower other Variety Teens with the skills needed for their next step.


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