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Junior Chloe Bullock gives last-minute instructions to clinic youngsters before a run.

The current success of the cross country program at Hood River Valley High School is directly attributed to the way coaches, including  current Eagle coach Brandon Bertram, have fostered development of young runners coming out of middle school and elementary school.
Meanwhile, a current member of the 5A State second-place HRVHS team worked with Bertram and her teammates to lend her own hand to developing the program.
Junior Chloe Bullock combined her love of running and of kids to lead a five-week elementary school cross country clinic at HRVHS this fall. She fulfilled her junior year community service project, known as Extended Application, to carry out the clinics, which served more than 70 kids in grades K-5.
In Extended Application class, juniors must carry out a community service project and then document it and give a presentation before judges, in the  spring.
Bullock (CB) answered a few questions about the experience.
CB: I’ve been running since sixth grade. They didn’t have this when I was in elementary. I did lacrosse and dance, and swimming. I wish they would have had something like this.
How did this EA project come about?
CB: Coach (Bertram) brought it up to me, and I thought it would be cool to give back to the community, not just the sport of cross country, I thought it would be cool to be a part of bringing up the next generation.
What’s the main outcome of your project?
CB: I’m going to make information cards that they can pass on to coaches of different groups, cards for how to deal with things like  kids with a behavioral problem for the practices.
I’ll make laminated cards, and I’m hole-punching them to put into a binder but they can be taken out and be used separately, easier for everyone.
I’m making sure it’s a uniform practice, showing how to divide into groups and exactly what to do.
What was your biggest lesson from the project?
CB: What I learned the most was how to help kids with behavior difficulties. That as definitely the hardest part for me. I was doing the exercises, I was running around and making sure if someone was crying, if they were crying about this, or that and what to do.
What did you do to prepare?
CB: I had helped with a couple of practices last year. It was student led, other juniors and seniors who helped.
You set it up through Community Education, right?
CB: Yes, Community Ed sign up, $25 for the series. Communications through them, and at the camp, was so important. I definitely was reaching out to the parents, sending them emails, such as in the last (practice), I mentioned elementary track, and I talked with fifth graders about middle school program they can go into next.
When you keep the parents informed that’s really helpful and then making sure the kids have having a good time so when the parents ask, ‘“Do you want to do this next year?” the answer is “Yes.”
You didn’t have to manage the whole camp yourself, though right?
CB: I had a lot of teammates who volunteered and all of them stayed the whole time, and I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do any of it without them, I wouldn’t be able to manage 80 kids.
With first-time runners, what did you focus on?
CB: I taught them how to warm up. Before every practice, we did a small warm-up lap and dynamic warm-ups, and showed them how to stretch before a race, and then after, they would go on their run on Indian Creek Trail, then we would play a game, and if we had time after we would do another stretching circle.
What will you say when you present your EA project?
CB: I’ll start with how I’ve really enjoyed cross country and it’s been such a big part of my life, and then talk about what I’ve learned the most, like learning how to deal with and help kids.
Does this give you any ideas about pursuing coaching in the future?
CB: We take personality tests in Pathways (To Careers) class to help you figure out what you’d be good at in the future. I told my teacher I’d never considered it, but  thought this would be a cool opportunity to see if that’s (coaching) a career path I’d be interested in.
I really enjoy working with kids but I don’t know if it’s something I’d enjoy doing long-term. I babysit and being able to show kids and open up an opportunity for them was awesome.

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