How the Summer Teen Employment Program Changed My Life: Nohemi Valencia’s Story

Nohemi Valencia first enrolled in the Summer Teen Employment Program (STEP) in 2013 when she was fourteen. During that summer, she worked as a STEP staff member helping with the Fun in the Sun (FITS) program at Anna Gimmestad Park. She learned several skills that carried over into her adult life, like leadership, problem-solving, and being a team player.

“What I valued most about that job was engaging with the children, learning responsibility, and having the ability to give back to the community,” Nohemi says.

That first job with the City of Greeley was instrumental in landing her future dream job with Greeley Recreation.

A Professional STEP Up

Nohemi’s first exposure to Greeley Recreation wasn’t as a staff member however. It was as a participant in Fun in the Sun (FITS) and After School Program (ASP), two offerings at the Rodarte Community Center (920 A St.). She comments now on how amazing it was that she had access to this community resource as a child.

“Growing up in Greeley, I am fortunate to have had that opportunity available. I idolized the Rodarte Community Center staff and always wanted to be in that position when I grew up.”

Nohemi understands how scary and intimidating applying for a job can be. (We all remember the nerves that come with applying for a new job, especially when it’s your first time!) She says, “Being in STEP helped with those intimidating early steps. Needing to call for interviews gave me great experience with the interview process and the confidence to apply for other jobs as I got older.”

Finding a Forever Job

Nohemi’s first part-time seasonal job with Greeley Recreation was assisting with the FITS and ASP programs. After being in STEP for two years, she continued to work as a seasonal staff member for five years. She was given more responsibility and promoted to seasonal lead for an additional two years.

“What I liked best about my position was being able to work with children and the connections and relationships I built with them.”

Often, the same students attended the after-school program and summer camp as she did. Working with the children all year long gave her a chance to get to know them better.

“It’s so much fun to watch their eagerness to return to the program each time.”

Nohemi is now a full-time recreation coordinator and has enjoyed employment with the City of Greeley since March 2022. You might see her at the Rodarte Community Center or in a local park running Greeley’s mobile recreation program, Play on the Way.

“I finally landed my dream job at the Rodarte Community Center,” Nohemi says. “I owe it all to my involvement with STEP – something I’ll be forever grateful for.”

How to Get Involved with STEP

If you’re 14 or 15 years old, you too can apply for STEP. There are several positions available with Greeley Recreation or Parks. Each position works 20 hours a week for 14 weeks during the summer break from school. Did we also mention it’s a great way to make some extra money?

Take advantage of this unique opportunity and apply for a STEP position online beginning March 9. You won’t be disappointed!

To learn more, attend the Young Adult Job Fair at Island Grove Regional Park (501 N 14th Ave.) from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, and look for the STEP booth. For more information, call 970-350-9430, or read more on