Volunteering, exercise could lead to big award

Volunteering in the community, exercising, drawing a picture and visiting a historical site can get you congressional-level recognition and a medal.

The Congressional Award is a self-paced program that presents you with certificates and medals as you reach goals in Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness and Expedition/Exploration.

“The program fosters principles of citizenship and encourages goal-setting, both important traits for youth to carry into adulthood,” said Derek Doyle, director of communications and strategic outreach for The Congressional Award.

Time begins when you register at www.congressionalaward.org. As activities are completed, accumulated hours are carried on up to the next level of participation for earning the Bronze, Silver and Gold Certificate and then the Bronze, Silver and Gold Medal. This program is only available for people ages 14 to 24, so goals must be reached by the participant’s 24th birthday.

“The Congressional Award carries a certain level of clout and reputation and is a worthy superlative and differentiator for students on college, scholarship, internship, and career applications,” Doyle said.


Volunteer service must help the community at large. Some examples are spending time with the Gulf Coast Humane Society, Animal Care Services, Beautify Corpus Christi Association, Downtown Management District, YMCA/YWCA, Goodwill, and/or Boys & Girls Club. 


Learn something new or improve upon something you are already doing. Whether it is photography, guitar, magic, painting or sewing, demonstrate an improvement in a skill or hobby in this area of the program to get your certificate or medal.


Daily exercise is a lifestyle, not a chore. Sample activities are bicycling, running, sports, SCUBA diving and weight training. In this area, emphasize is on improvement in time and/or strength.

Physical fitness activity completed for a grade cannot be counted. You must do this on your own. The gym at East Campus includes a 25-meter indoor pool, four racquetball courts, six tennis courts, a jogging track and a weight room. For hours of operation call 361-698-1947 or 361-698-1334.


Choose between an expedition or an exploration activity. You must plan these trips on your own so participating in summer camp, workshops or going on a cruise will not count. Some expedition ideas include a bicycle tour, camping and kayaking/canoeing. Or if you would like to explore, you can visit a state or national historical site like the Lexington Museum on the Bay or take part in a re-enactment like the annual Old Bay View Cemetery Reenactment, here in Corpus Christi, every November.

“The Congressional Award was founded by Congress nearly four decades ago to recognize initiative, service, achievement in America’s young people. It’s a platform for young people to engage with members of their community, challenge themselves personally, and make a measured impact,” Doyle said.

For more information and to download and print your Program Book, visit www.congressionalaward.org. You may also call Doyle at 202-226-0130 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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