Congress established the Congressional Award in 1979 to recognize initiative, achievement and service in young people. It began as a bipartisan effort in both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. The original bill was sponsored by Senator Malcolm Wallop of Wyoming and the late Congressman James Howard of New Jersey. The enabling legislation (Public Law 96-114) established the Congressional Award as a private-public partnership, which receives all funding from the private sector, and was originally signed into law by President Jimmy Carter. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have signed continuing legislation.
The Congressional Award is non-partisan, voluntary, and non-competitive. The program is open to all 14- to 23-year-olds. Participants earn Bronze, Silver and Gold Congressional Award Certificates and Bronze, Silver and Gold Congressional Award Medals. Each level involves setting goals in four program areas; Volunteer Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration. Earning the Award is a fun and interesting way to get more involved in something you already enjoy or something you'd like to try for the first time.
You move at your own pace - on your own or with your friends. This is not an award for past accomplishments. Instead, you are honored for achieving your own challenging goals. Regardless of your situation, you can earn the Congressional Award. The Congressional Award has no minimum grade point average requirements. It accommodates young people with special needs or disabilities who are willing to take the challenge.
For more information and directions on how to apply, please visit the Congressional Award website.