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Troutdales Cody Childs will benefit from work he did as the Youth Citizen of the Year

by: Jim Clark Cody Childs takes a break from performing service work in downtown Troutdale on Friday, July 1. He is the recipient of Troutdale's Youth Citizen of the Year.

From beautifying downtown Troutdale to volunteering to help freshmen get adjusted to high school, 18-year-old Reynolds High School graduate Cody Childs has demonstrated a strong commitment to the Troutdale community.

For his efforts, he was selected as the 2011 Youth Citizen of the Year by the Troutdale SummerFest Committee. Childs was nominated by Mayor Jim Kight.

'I was honored,' Childs said. 'I didn't even know that I was even up for it. It was just something else; I couldn't believe it.'

Childs participated in many school-related volunteering projects, including those through his membership in the National Honor Society as well as through his involvement in athletics.

Childs, who played both baseball and basketball at Reynolds, was involved with the Reynolds Athletic Leadership Council, which does 'little projects around the school to make the school look nice,' Childs said.

He was also a member of Link Crew, a group of upperclassmen that help freshmen learn about high school both before they arrive on campus as well as during the first part of the school year.

'I wanted to get involved in my school,' Childs said. 'Coming into freshman year, I asked every upperclassman, 'What piece of advice would you give me?' and they all said get involved, and they were right. It was a great experience.'

Some of Childs' other community involvements include helping move art for the Children's Healing Art Project, a group of teaching artists who work in Portland children's hospitals, as well as participating in a number of Relay for Life events.

Childs said he was inspired to volunteer with both of these groups because of his cousin, who died from leukemia.

Aside from his school involvement, Childs also participated in many beautification projects in downtown Troutdale. He said he first got involved in these projects when Mayor Kight asked him, his dad and family friend Bob Whipps to help beautify downtown before SummerFest one year.

The group painted buildings, power-washed the streets, did yard work and more.

'Cody was a huge part of it. He's a really hard worker, so it made it much easier,' Whipps said. 'Plus he would come up with suggestions on what we should do and how to make the lot work better.'

Childs said this was not only the largest Troutdale project he has been part of, but also his favorite.

'You see the difference right away,' Childs said. 'We spent a lot of time working down there, but within a month or two months we just saw this huge difference. To make that positive impact on the community was something else.'

According to SummerFest committee member Robert Canfield, Childs was not alone in his commitment to the community. He said that the competition for the Youth Citizen of the Year award was high, with about 12 nominations.

'It was so close,' Canfield said. 'Any one of them could have been Youth Citizen of the Year.'

For Whipps, Childs is 'very deserving' of the award because he is an 'all-American kid.'

'All of the mothers with girls his age would want him to be their son-in-law,' Whipps said.

Childs said he plans to continue his community service while at Mt. Hood Community College next year, where he will also play baseball.

Both the Citizen of the Year and Youth Citizen of the Year awards will be presented at SummerFest on July 16 about halfway through the entertainment at the stage in Glenn Otto Park, as well as at the following City Council meeting.

'It's a lot of fun,' Canfield said. 'There is usually a big crowd there when we do it.'

Troutdale SummerFest facts

• The 39th annual Troutdale SummerFest will take place all day Saturday, July 16, in downtown Troutdale and at Glenn Otto Park. The parade starts at 11 a.m. on the Historic Columbia River Highway. At the park, there will be live entertainment, music, food, vendors and kids' activities.

During SummerFest, the Association of Northwest Steelheaders will host a Ducky Derby to benefit fish at Glenn Otto Park. Attendees can purchase a duck for $10. Ducks can be purchased anytime before the event, and you need not be present to win.

The ducks will be launched off the Troutdale Bridge at 4:30 p.m. The first seven ducks at the finish will receive one of many prizes, including $500 and $250 in cash and an Apple iPad.

Proceeds from the event will go toward the association's efforts to improve cold-water fisheries in the Pacific Northwest. One of the oldest and most-cherished conservation organizations in Oregon, the Association of Northwest Steelheaders was founded in 1960. To learn more, visit nwsteelheaders.org. To pre-purchase tickets, call 503-653-4176; tickets will also be available at the association's booth at the festival.