Scottsdale Sister Cities is proud to announce Kassidy Gardner of Chaparral and Des Traynor from Arcadia as our SSCA Outstanding Scottsdale Youth Award Winners for 2020, with a $200 cash award. This prestigious award selects students from throughout all of the City of Scottsdale for their leadership skills in their high school international clubs, their contributions through multiple student exchanges, and for their promotion of the mission of Sister Cities to bring about international friendship and goodwill.
Kassidy Gardner was involved with Chaparral's International Club for four years, and has been a part of SSCA's Junior Board for three years. She represented Scottsdale at the Sister Cities International Youth Summit. Kassidy has been a Scottsdale Youth Ambassador to both Marrakech, Morocco and Uasin Gishu, Kenya, and has hosted students from these countries. She has participated in some other notable activities such as speaking twice at our Annual Student Leadership Conference, speaking at the SSCA Annual Meeting, and speaking at the Arizona State Sister Cities Conference. She helped organize activities for student workshops and for the welcome and goodbye parties for foreign exchange students, carried flags in the Parada del Sol two years in a row, organized fundraisers for Liberation Through Education which included a trip to India, and led a fundraiser to purchase garden benches for a school in Alamos, Mexico, and much more. Kassidy said, "I have always adored learning about new cultures and making perpetual friendships despite differences, but Sister Cities gave me the resources and opportunities to do so, and I am forever indebted to this incredible organization. In the future I am planning on studying Computer Science, but rather than take the traditional route, I would love to incorporate that passion with my passion for international relations. I hope to work for an international company in which I can connect the world in a different way. Sister Cities gave me more than I ever could have imagined, and I am so grateful for the learning opportunities and friendships I have been given through my experiences."
Desmond Traynor is also an outstanding Youth Ambassador, now as Co-President of the Arcadia International Club. Like Kassidy, he has been a speaker at several conferences and a member of the Junior Board. He has been a Scottsdale Youth Ambassador to Alamos, Mexico; Interlaken, Switzerland; Uasin Gishu, Kenya; and Marrakech, Morocco. His family has also hosted other students for a total of ten different exchanges over the years. Des said, "Going on these trips has taught me to see the world in a broader sense and make so many connections with people that will help me throughout my entire life. On each trip my confidence and leadership skills have grown, and I believe that I have played a crucial role in the various aspects of each trip being more cohesive. On each trip I have been on, I made an effort to not only connect to the people in the foreign country, but also with the students from Scottsdale. I always tried to make each student from Scottsdale feel more comfortable being a part of the group as well as trying to make them feel more relaxed."