Spotlight on 2019 Gold Award Girl Scout Twins Claire & Grace Genis
Reaching for Gold is the ultimate goal for every young Girl Scout. However, achieving the Gold Award is much more difficult than one might expect. Gold Award Girl Scouts must take all they have learned from their time as a Girl Scout and develop a project that will create sustainable lasting change in their community.
To earn a Gold Award, Girl Scouts epitomize what it means to be a G.I.R.L., by being a go-getter, an innovator, a risk-taker and a leader. These are the reasons the Gold Award is the most prestigious award for Girls in the world! Grace and Claire Genis are two Girl Scouts in the 2019 Gold Award class who have a special sisterhood beyond the Girl Scout community. They are twins!
When asked to describe their sister in three words, Claire describes Grace as “intelligent, hardworking and kind.” Grace describes Claire as “bubbly, creative and happy”. Since joining Girl Scouts in kindergarten, Grace and Claire have gone on to earn all three of the Highest Awards in Girl Scouting, the Bronze, Silver and Gold Award.
The girls still look back at the beginning of their Girl Scout journey fondly, recalling a visit to the fire station as Daisies. “The firefighters talked to us and we got a tour […] I just thought it was super cool,” Grace said. “I really liked the camp outs when we learned about astronomy and the telescopes,” Claire said.
The idea of two girls Going for Gold in one household seemed impossible but these Go-Getter Girl Scouts and their family worked together to help their local community. Claire and Grace have grown up inspired by their mother who followed her heart and works with special needs students. Her suggestions helped the girls use their own passions to form strong and innovative project plans.
Grace’s project, titled Operation Explore the World, addressed the lack of materials in her community for visually impaired students. Grace is visually impaired and built four light boxes, which are used to develop awareness of light, color and objects for students also challenged with a visual impairment. As a student who has faced the same obstacles, Grace knows the power this project will have on young kids who are just beginning their educational journey.
Claire’s project, titled Music for Everyone, addressed the lack of clubs and activities offered to special needs students in her high school. Claire developed a music club for these students and received 12 donated instruments; a total value of over $10,000 dollars. A majority of the instrument donations were supplied by Band of Angels, an organization that collects donated instruments and distributes them to children in need.
Claire and Grace implemented their leadership skills by getting their community members involved with their projects. Grace successfully recruited high school students and family members to help build lightboxes that are sturdy and will last for years. Claire recruited and organized students at her high school to teach music to special needs students each week. “Once I told [other band students] about my project, they immediately jumped in and said, ‘Hey I want to help!’” said Claire. She also inspired students to become leaders themselves and continue the music club next year after Claire graduates from high school.
By stepping out of their comfort zone and being risk-takers, the girls were able to meet people from all different walks of life. “I have made connections and relationships with people I may not have known if not for Girl Scouts” Grace said. Girl Scouts has given the Genis sisters friendships and a life-long sisterhood. “I am so humbled that I could be part of this organization from such a young age.”
After Claire and Grace graduate high school in May they plan to attend college together in the fall at Johnson County Community College. Claire plans to pursue her passion of playing music and Grace will pursue a career in nursing. The twins hope Girl Scouts who plan to Go for Gold will find a project they are truly inspired and passionate about. Claire says, “The amount of work you put into it WILL pay off! Keep [Girl] Scouting!”
Learn about all 47 of our 2019 Gold Award Girl Scouts and what they did to make our world a better place at gsksmo.org/inspire