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The Congressional Award. America’s Award for Youth. The Congressional Award . The Congressional Award is a public private partnership created by Congress to promote and recognize achievement, initiative, and service in America's youth.

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the congressional award

The Congressional Award

America’s Award for Youth


The Congressional Award

  • The Congressional Award is a public private partnership created by Congress to promote and recognize achievement, initiative, and service in America's youth.
  • Youth ages 14 - 23 set and achieve personally challenging goals that build character and foster community service, personal development, and citizenship.

Initiative, Achievement, Service


Why participate?

  • Non-competitive, Voluntary program
  • Well – balanced, with four diverse areas
  • Provides tangible, formal recognition
  • Establishes community networks and links
  • Builds self-confidence, Esteem booster
  • Empowers young people
  • Fun! Youth choose their own activities
four program areas
Four Program Areas
  • Voluntary Public Service
  • Personal Development
  • Physical Fitness
  • Expedition/Exploration
voluntary public service
Voluntary Public Service
  • Sharing your time and talents with others is an important part of The Congressional Award program.
  • This requires sensitivity, perception of need, and determination.
voluntary public service guidelines
Voluntary Public Service Guidelines
  • Up to Four Different Goals
  • Spread Out Your Hours
  • Activities Must Benefit Community at Large
  • Public Organizations
  • Non Partisan
voluntary public service sample activities
Voluntary Public Service Sample Activities
  • Animal Care shelter work
  • Camp Volunteer
  • Beautification Projects
  • Library Work
  • Hospital Volunteer
  • Red Cross
  • Tutoring
personal development
Personal Development
  • Expand your horizons while developing individual interests, social and life skills.
  • Pursue a new interest or advance to a higher level in an ongoing interest.
personal development guidelines
Personal Development Guidelines
  • Up to two Different Goals
  • Measurable, Definite Task
  • Part-time Work if you are a Full-time Student
  • Educational Activities, if employed Full-Time.
  • Plan Individually or Part of a Group
personal development sample activities
Personal Development Sample Activities
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Career Development
  • Conservation/Environment
  • Leadership Training
  • Creative Writing
  • Theatre/Acting
  • Language Study
physical fitness
Physical Fitness
  • Improve your quality of life through participation in fitness activities.
  • The Congressional Award challenges you to achieve a measurable goal in a team sport or individual physical activity.
physical fitness guidelines
Physical Fitness Guidelines
  • Up to two Different Goals
  • Goals cannot be Competitive
  • Goals should be Specific and Measurable
  • Include Current Fitness Level
  • Remember, Fitness Activities do not have to be Strenuous in Order to be Challenging
physical fitness sample activities
Physical Fitness Sample Activities
  • Team Sports
  • Weight Lifting
  • Running, Jogging, or Walking
  • Skiing
  • Dance
  • Golf
  • Develop Your Own Work-out Routine
expedition exploration
  • Challenge yourself through an interaction with the wilderness or by immersing yourself in an unfamiliar culture.
  • The Congressional Award allows you to choose between an Expedition or Exploration.
expedition exploration guidelines
Expedition/Exploration Guidelines
  • Develop a Spirit of Adventure and Discovery
  • Organize, Prepare, Plan, Execute
  • Work Individually or as a part of a Team
  • Be Self-Sufficient
  • Inexpensive
  • Be Safe!
expedition exploration sample activities
Expedition/Exploration Sample Activities
  • Camping / Wilderness Hiking
  • Bicycle Tour
  • Visit a Museum
  • Study Abroad
  • Outward Bound
  • Visit a new city
  • Explore a new Environment
program requirements
Program Requirements
  • There are six levels of Award—Bronze, Silver, and Gold Certificates and Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medals. Each level is cumulative. Time spent on one Award is carried on to the next level.
program requirements certificate level
Program Requirements - Certificate Level

Bronze Silver Gold

  • Voluntary Public Service 30 60 90
  • Personal Development 15 30 45
  • Physical Fitness 15 30 45
  • Expedition/Exploration One Two Three (number of days)
  • Minimum Total Hours 60 120 180
program requirements medal level
Program Requirements - Medal Level

Bronze Silver Gold

  • Voluntary Public Service 100 200 400
  • Personal Development 50 100 200
  • Physical Fitness 50 100 200
  • Expedition/Exploration One Two Four (number of consecutive overnights)
  • Minimum Total Hours 200 400 800
how can i participate

How Can I Participate?

Register & Choose an Advisor

Set Your Goals

Achieve Your Goals

Receive Your Award

Move to the Next Level

  • Fill out the Registration Form and Waiver. Mail to the National Office with the $10 Registration Fee
  • Or Register online at and follow the instructions
choose an advisor
Choose an Advisor
  • Select an Advisor to help guide you through the Congressional Award program.
  • Advisors can be anyone other than a parent or relative that is over the age of 18.
  • Examples of Advisors include neighbors, teachers, scoutmasters, guidance councelors, youth leaders, or coaches.
set your goals
Set Your Goals
  • Set goals in each of the four Program Areas with the help of your adult Advisor
  • Goals should be measurable, achievable, worthwhile, challenging and fulfilling
  • Use the Program Book as a guide when setting your goals
achieve your goals
Achieve Your Goals
  • Work at your own pace toward your goals
  • Keep accurate records such as timesheets, journals or write-ups
  • Record your hours and a description of your activities in your Congressional Award Record Book
  • Record Books are mailed directly to the participant and can be found on our website
receive your award
Receive Your Award
  • Once a participant has earned the Bronze or Silver Medal, a ceremony is planned locally in which the participant's Member of Congress presents The Award.
receive your award26
Receive Your Award
  • Gold Medal earners are invited to come to Washington, D.C., to receive their Award in an annual ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.
move to the next level
Move to the Next Level
  • Work with your Advisor to set new goals for the next level of the Award
  • You may select new activities or continue with your current goals and activities
  • Remember, all hours are cumulative