The Congressional Award is the highest honor the United States Congress presents to America’s civilian youth. It is an individual challenge open to all youth between the ages of 13.5 to 24 -- regardless of background, ability, or grade point average. Arkansas 4-H is partnering with the Congressional Award to make sure our 4-H members receive this prestigious award for the work they do in 4-H.
Participants earn Bronze, Silver, and Gold Congressional Award Certificates and Medals by setting and working towards goals in four program areas: Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration.
Voluntary Public Service
- Serving without compensation
- Active volunteering with direct service to the community
- Activities must benefit greater community at-large (public organizations, non-partisan, non-religious)
- Example: “I will provide a minimum of 100 hours of service under the direction of my 4-H Agent.”
- Pursue a new activity or advance ability in an existing interest
- Consider your 4-H project and activities done within your 4-H project
- Examples: “I will improve my photography skills by competing in two photography contests, attending the State 4-H Photography Workshop, shadowing a photographer for 18 hours, and taking pictures at least ten hours every month.”
- “I will improve my poultry knowledge by learning the differences between the top five most popular chicken breeds, selecting my chickens, caring for them, and showing them at the county fair.”
- Goals cannot be competitive
- 4-H fitness projects are an excellent fit
- Include current fitness level and determine where you’d like to advance
- Examples: “I will improve my basketball skills so that my free-throw percentage will increase from 35 to 40 percent.”
- “I can presently jog 1 mile in 15 minutes and I intend to improve my time to 10.5 minutes per mile.”
Expedition/Exploration (See Virtual Expedition/Exploration Guidelines at Bottom of Page)
- Expedition: Discover the great outdoors
- Exploration: Experience culture, history, humanity
- Every Exploration/Expedition is reviewed for Planning, Immersion, and Challenge
- Expeditions and Explorations are all about adventure and discovery. Participants should plan, prepare, and be responsible. Pre-planned activities, or “Sign Up and Go” type trips would not qualify.
- Family vacations are fun and relaxing, but there must be a level of challenge and discovery involved with the trip to count as an Expedition/Exploration.
- Examples: Canoe trip, camping, shadow a person with a physical impairment, live the life of a ranch hand, explore a historical area or culture, spend a week living with a family from a different background than you
- "I will spend two days and one night in Hot Springs, Arkansas learning about the history of Hot Springs from the Civil War era to the modern age. Specifically, I will focus on Hot Springs as a former home to Major League Baseball spring training, illegal gambling, speakeasies and gangsters, such as Al Capone."
How to Get Involved
2. Provide completed waiver and $25 registration fee* to your County Extension Office
3. Meet with your County Agent or 4-H Program Assistant to set goals
4. Record your progress
5. Complete your Record Book and submit to your County Agent
*Registration fee can be waived for youth on free/reduced lunch. County Agent can submit a letter confirming status.
- Basic Informational PowerPoint
- Bronze Medal Examples: 1 2
- Silver Medal Examples: 1 2
- Gold Medal Examples: 1 2
- Congressional Award Flyer
- Example of how 4-H projects may fit into the four Congressional Award sections
- Virtual Expedition/Exploration Guidelines
- Virtual Expedition/Exploration Writing Template