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The Congressional Award: An impressive honor Scouts can earn just by being Scouts - Bryan on Scouting article


CongressionalAwardsThe Congressional Award was created by the U.S. Congress to promote and recognize initiative, service and achievement in youth ages 13 1/2 to 24. It is non-partisan, voluntary, and non-competitive. Participants set goals with an adult advisor and earn Bronze, Silver and Gold Congressional Award Certificates and Medals. Medals are presented by a U.S. Member of Congress. Each level involves setting goals in four pro-gram areas:

  • Voluntary Public Service
  • Personal Development 
  • Physical Fitness
  • 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 setting challenging goals with an advisor and working to achieve those goals. 

The Congressional Award is open to all. There are no minimum grade point average requirements, and accommodations are made for young people with special needs or disabilities who are willing to take the challenge.

The partnership between the Congressional Award and Boy Scouts of America provides opportunities for youth to be nationally recognized for their accomplishments in service, leadership and fitness.

 While a Scout, Varsity Scout or Venturer pursues his/her Scout Advancement or Venturing Awards, many of those same activities can also count toward the Congressional Award. Here are examples of earning the Congressional Award within the BSA program:

Voluntary Public Service 

Providing voluntary public service to the community at large: 

  • I will provide service to Boy Scouts of America as a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, Den Chief, or volunteer Cub Scout Day Camp staff member.
  • I will provide service with Boy Scouts of America as I plan, coordinate and implement an Eagle Scout project (Note: project must benefit community at large, not a religious institution, to count hours toward the Congressional Award).
  • I will provide service to my community with my BSA troop in activities such as working at a food bank, a community clean-up day, or Habitat for Humanity.

Personal Development 

Developing personal interest, social or employment skills:

  • I will complete the merit badges required to earn the rank of Eagle Scout (or Life Scout, Star Scout, Eagle Palms, etc.)
  • I will earn the Boy Scout or Venturing Religious Emblem for my faith.
  • I will earn a Venturing Award (Bronze, Silver, Gold., Ranger, Quest, TRUST, etc.)

Physical Fitness

Improving quality of life through fitness activities: 

  • I will train for and fully participate in a 50-mile hike. Skills I will work to develop are backpacking, rock climbing, hiking and carrying a 40 pound pack for 10 miles a day.
  • I will earn the BSA Personal Fitness, Cycling, Swimming, Hiking, etc. merit badges. 


Undertaking a wilderness or venture experience: 

  • I will embark on an overnight hiking/camping expedition. I will be the leader in planning and preparation of my Boy Scout Troop on this expedition. 
  • I will plan, prepare for and lead my Venturing Crew on a 6-night backpacking trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.
The Congressional Award Medal Requirements

Certificate Levels

Medal Levels

For more information or to register online, please visit: www.congressionalaward.org External Link

Please note that you may only begin counting hours once you have registered. Hours accumulated prior to registration cannot be counted toward the Award. 

Participants must complete the activities in all four program areas.

The partnership of the Congressional Award & Boys Scouts of America gives you the opportunity to be recognized by Congress for activities you already do!

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