Meet a ray of sunshine.

It all started with pull-ups.

Wally Trotter has grown up in an active family, often competing in sports like his sister Olivia, so when he started attending summer camps at the PISE (Pacific Institute of Sport Excellence) at the age of six it was no surprise that he quickly became passionate about physical activity and went back every year. Pretty soon the 17-year-old was haunting the facility on the regular, becoming a familiar face to nearly everyone on staff. That’s when they decided to hire him.

“It’s been really great to see Wally get a job, because he was ready to find employment and he’s always loved sports and this facility,” said Ward, his father. “It’s a really healthy environment, and I’ve seen it give him a lot of pride. Like any teenager working their first job, he loves the responsibility that comes with it.”

Wally, meanwhile, described his reaction to landing the gig thusly: “Excited, happy, fantastic”. Because of Wally’s disability, it can be difficult for some people to understand some of the things he says. But according to the people who work with him, he always gets his point across just fine. And the sentiments he’s typically expressing are positive and affirming, demonstrating his passion for movement and for being part of the team.

He enjoys the small tasks, such as wiping down the change room benches or restocking the paper towel, but one of his greatest contributions is in customer service. The patrons and other staff all marvel at his easy-going charm and endless enthusiasm.

“Wally is a dedicated and focused person. Growing up we were always outside playing street hockey, basketball. I think PISE is lucky to have him,” said his sister Olivia. She often had the advantage as the older sibling, but now he gives her a run for her money.

When he was first hired, she was the first person he called.

“He called me so excited, and he really seems to love what he does. The other day he jumped up on the pull up bar and cranked out like six pull ups. It’s so awesome to see how passionate he’s become, and the impression he’s making on everyone around him.”

According to Chris Wright, the Head of Physical Literacy Development at PISE, having Wally on staff is an example of the organizations’ commitment to inclusion. “It is so wonderful for us to have watched Wally grow up and now have him working with us. He volunteers with summer camps as well and is great with the kids. We want to continue to empower people of all abilities to get involved in sport and physical fitness.”

Wally’s mother Wendy is intensely proud of what her son has accomplished. “He really is a ray of sunshine.”

~submitted by Will Johnson