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Congressional Award

Military life has unique challenges, especially for the children of those who serve. Still, these young people find ways to adapt and thrive, even though they can experience high levels of instability due to frequent moves and their parents’ deployments.


young people working to earn a Congressional Award

5 Million

hours of public service


members of Congress recognizing, promoting, and delivering the program

Frequently Asked Questions
  • The Congressional Award program helps military youths become independent, strong, and caring community leaders.
  • The characteristics of military youths – including strong community ties, social skills and resilience – are reinforced through volunteerism.
  • The Congressional Award program offers opportunities for military youths to volunteer and to gain the support of a mentor who provides additional stability in their lives.

Promoting positive mental and emotional health is especially beneficial for military youths, many of whom experience high levels of instability due to frequent moves and their parents’ deployments. The Congressional Award provides participants, no matter where they live, with a structured, yet flexible, platform to achieve personal goals.

  • The program is open to Americans ages 14 to 24, including those with physical or developmental disabilities. Interested youths can register when they are 131/2.
  • Participants craft an individual achievement plan based on their personal goals.
  • The program offers six levels, with varying requirements and time commitments, providing built-in flexibility to accommodate the military lifestyle.
  • Military youths in the program may continue to participate even if they move or their parent separates from the military.
  • Involvement in the program can help set participants apart on college and job applications because it shows commitment to service and personal development.

Earning the Congressional Award can open many doors, academically and professionally. It empowers participants to take responsibility, discover new talents, and advocate for others.

Participating in the Congressional Award program enables military youths to set and achieve personally challenging goals. The Congressional Award is dedicated to the empowerment of young people through:

Through these four program areas, the Congressional Award offers young Americans the opportunity to develop leadership, citizenship, and planning skills. The timeline for each of the six award levels is flexible, and there is only one deadline: Participants must complete the activity to earn the Award before their 24th birthday.


  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Bronze


  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Bronze

The Congressional Award is a great opportunity for military youths to get involved in their communities and work toward goals that matter to them — and they can participate no matter where they live or if they move.

What is the Congressional Award?

The Congressional Award is a public-private partnership created by Congress to promote and recognize the achievements of young Americans, no matter where they live.

What are the age requirements?

Those interested in the program can register when they are 131/2 years old and can begin working on their activities when they turn 14. They must complete the program by their 24th birthday. Click here for the full list of program requirements.

Are there any limitations other than age?

The Congressional Award is open to all young Americans, regardless of physical or developmental disability.

What if my family PCS’s or separates from the military? Can I still participate?

Yes. One of the significant benefits of the Congressional Award is its flexibility — one of the key reasons that we at MFAN believe it’s a great match for military families. To ease the transition, find an advisor and a validator in your new area to continue working toward your goals.

How do I find an advisor, and what are his or her responsibilities?

Advisors are adults who help participants set challenging goals and assist them as they complete their record book. Teachers, coaches, neighbors,club sponsors, and civic leaders all make excellent advisors. To learn more about the advisor’s role and responsibilities, click here.

How do I find a validator, and what are his or her responsibilities?

Validators are adults who assist participants with individual activities. Participants should have multiple validators, and each one should be knowledgeable about the activities participants pursue to achieve a particular goal. To learn more about the validator’s role and responsibilities, click here.

Where can I find opportunities to fulfill the requirements for my goals?

Check these links:

How do I get my award?

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate honor youths who earn bronze, silver, and gold certificates and bronze and silver medals at local, citywide, and statewide ceremonies. Gold medalists attend the Congressional Award Gold Medal Ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.

What are the benefits of completing the program?

Involvement in the Congressional Award program can set participants apart on college and job applications because it shows commitment to service and personal development. On completion of the program, participants receive a certificate and a medal — and gain the satisfaction of a job well-done for their communities.

Where can I find more information?

For information on MFAN’s partnership with the Congressional Award, download our brochure here.

To register for the Congressional Award, visit

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