The Congressional Award National Office is located in Washington, D.C.
Office hours are Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET. | (202) 226-0130
The national office operates in a hybrid format, so staff may not always be available to answer office phone calls. For quicker responses, please send an email or use the form below.
For participant questions or program inquiries, contact email@example.com
EXPLORE OUR FREQUENTLYASKED QUESTIONS
The Congressional Award is for ANY young person who is interested in earning the Award. Young people may register when they turn 13 1/2 years old. They are eligible to submit activities starting at 14 years old and must complete their activities by their 24th birthday. Any young person under the age of 13 ½ does not yet qualify for The Congressional Award. Register here.
You may begin counting hours once you have submitted your registration and your goals have been approved by your Advisor.
When earning an award, goals achieved by activities requiring intense hours over a short period of time, e.g. 100 hours in 14 days, should be extended over the requirement for the level (for example, 7 months at the Bronze Medal level), either with follow up activities or by choosing a second goal. Part of earning a Congressional Award is making a commitment to your activities over a period of time. In order to earn an award, you must demonstrate that you have completed activities during at least the number of months required at your current level.
You may begin with any level that you choose. We consider every participant to be on the road to the Gold Medal, and we’ll give you everything you earn along the way. Simply submit a Congressional Award Record Book for the level that you’d like to pursue once you fulfill those requirements. Once you’re approved, we’ll be sure to also send you any lower levels that you qualify for. For instance, if you choose to start with the Silver Medal level, we’ll send you the Bronze Medal and all three Certificates as well. However, we strongly recommend that participants start at one of the lower levels. As the work is cumulative, the only cost will be the short time taken to fill out a Record Book and the money for postage. Plus, if you submit at a lower level, you can be sure that you understand the Congressional Award’s program requirements.
In order to earn a Congressional Award, participants must complete hours for all four of the Program Areas. You cannot choose to pursue only certain ones. The Congressional Award program is about exploring new and different activities, thus becoming a well-rounded and balanced individual.
Often, they do. If you belong to groups such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Venturing, 4-H, etc., your activities may often by used to achieve a particular goal. The activities used for The Congressional Award program, however, are to be consistent with the guidelines of the Award program.
Yes. Adjustments to the requirements can be made to suit the individual needs of participants with physical or mental disabilities. However, the degree of challenge and effort required to earn the Award is not diminished.
No. When earning the award we encourage participants to complete activities that will challenge and push them. These activities, although challenging, must be different in every area. The participant cannot complete an activity in one area and use the same activity and hours to complete in another.
Advisors & Validators
Yes, but to do so he or she must be knowledgeable in the particular activity.
Teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, club leaders and Scout Masters would all make excellent Advisors and Validators. The only guideline in choosing an Advisor or Validator is that they cannot be your parent, relative or peer.
Yes, you can change your Advisor if schedules change or you need to for some other reason. All you have to do is note the change of Advisor on your next Record Book submission.
Voluntary Public Service
Training and planning hours for Voluntary Public Service work for the Congressional Award must consist of less than 25% of the total hours completed. All other Voluntary Public Service hours must consist of a direct service to the community at large.
At the Certificate levels, the Expedition activities are cumulative and carry over from one level to the next. However, for the Medal levels, please note that the required overnights must be consecutive. Therefore, you can not add your overnights together from previous levels.
Expeditions are typically outdoor excursions that include camping, hiking, and wilderness activities. This usually forces the participant to forgo the comforts of home and learn to pack and prepare equipment, set up a tent, and cook food over an open fire. Participants should always take safety precautions and consult an adult when necessary.
Explorations are trips that provide the participant with a new cultural experience. These may include living on a farm, traveling to a foreign country, or exploring a new environment. Explorations involve preliminary research and preparation. Challenges may include language barriers, traveling great distances, or learning new tasks. You may want to consider an overnight stay with a local family if possible.
Whether alone, or as part of a group, everyone’s personal Challenge Level is different. Be sure to plan an Expedition or Exploration that’s right for you.
The presentation of your Record Book is very important. Be sure to provide as many details as you can, and be specific. There are three questions to consider when you are writing-up your Expedition or Exploration in the Congressional Award Record Book.
1) How did you prepare or plan?
2) How is this different from anything you have ever done before?
3) How were you self-reliant? Include details of how you were able to think on your feet and provide examples of how you took initiative.
The National Office Review Committee will look for this information, especially at the medal levels.
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 as a Congressional Award Expedition. School band trips, sport camps, conferences, cruises, leadership workshops or competitions are examples of these pre-planned type trips that will not qualify. There are three exceptions to this rule that may be acceptable due to the time commitment, total immersion into a new environment and the level of physical and mental challenge required. These include:
Philmont Scout Ranch, BSA
People to People Student Ambassador Trips
Also note that 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 or Exploration. All Expedition/Exploration activities are reviewed as submitted.
Submission & Approval
It may take several weeks to approve Record Books. Please be patient. Participants should hear back from their Program Manager regarding their Record Book within 4-6 weeks. Gold Medal Record Books are reviewed by a committee and take about 6-8 weeks for approval. Note – these timelines do not include turn around time if your submission needs revisions.
Record Books are accepted all year. There are no deadlines. Work at your own pace. Just make sure you achieve your goals by your 24th birthday. If you are interested in attending the annual Gold Medal Ceremony in Washington, DC you must submit your Gold Medal Record Book by February 1st each year.
Please submit your Record Book on Submittable, the Award online submission website.
If it’s your first online record book submission, you’ll need to make a Submittable account.
Sign Up and Create a Log In
Participants will need to create their own log in and password. Please use the same email for the new account that you listed on your registration form. Keep this log in for future access.
Note: participants were not given a log in from the Award and they must sign up to create an account.
If we have any questions or need additional information, you will receive a revision notification through Submittable. Simply respond to the revision, addressing all of the points in your Submittable application.
If you add activities or hours, please make sure to have the activities approved by the Validator or Advisor.
If you do not address all of the points in a revision letter or your responses lead to additional questions, you may receive additional questions from the office.
Please make sure to be as detailed as possible and re-review the guidelines in the Program Book to make sure you understand why you are receiving the request for additional information.
Yes. Everyone is on the road to the Gold Medal. Hours are carried from one level to the next. Additional hours required at each level may be spent achieving your current goals or pursuing new goals. As you move from one award level to the next, you will work with your advisor to determine the best approach for exploring your potential.
Yes. If you fill out the School & Press Notification Form and submit it, we will notify your school and/or local press once your Record Book is approved.
Please take a look at our Preparing for Your Medal Presentation guide for tips on how to prepare for and what to expect from your presentation.
If you have been in the Award program for a while and have previously submitted Awards, you can still submit your next level online at Submittable.
You do not need to re-enter your previous levels, as those levels will still be in your file. Please only submit the new level you would like to submit for on Submittable.
If it is your first online record book submission, you’ll need to make a Submittable account, no matter if you have been registered in the program for a while.
In AmeriCorps NCCC, you accumulated a lot of hours. We need to see you continue working on the three main program areas in order to meet the higher months requirements. The first thing we recommend doing is contacting us to check in and see what you need to move forward. Note – you do not need to re-register if you have already done so through your Corps term. Next, begin working on your new goals. Again, we know you accumulated a lot of hours in AmeriCorps NCCC, we need to see the continued work on your goals for the months requirement. You can find the Program Book here and should plan on completing a detailed Submittable Record Book for your next submission. You may also need to complete a new Expedition/Exploration, especially if you are aiming for the Gold Medal and you are not able to show a high level of immersion, challenge and planning from your SPIKE submission at lower levels.
No, Submittable is just the platform for submitting Record Books. For participants to begin their Congressional Award journey they must register on this page on our website and pay the $25 registration fee. Once this registration form has been completed and you have received a welcome email you are then free to make a Submittable account.
Are you seeing a red error box that says you do not have access? This is a common error that we’ve seen participants encounter. From that error page that you have received, you may click on “View this organization’s submission page” and it should take you right to the Congressional Award Record Book.
Another option is to click on the “Discover” tab, search “Congressional Award” and it should also pop up from there. With either option, you can then click the tag button on the right to save it for later.
Due to the nature of the Submittable platform, we must set Record Book forms to expire at the end of the calendar year. However, we will create a new Record Book form for the following year and release it on the first day of the New Year. You will then need to transfer what you’ve written in the previous year’s Record Book into the upcoming year’s Record Book.
Please reach out to your Program Manager via Submittable. Or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will open your form for editing.
Please reach out to your Program Manager via Submittable. Or you can email email@example.com and we will open the validation forms for editing. Please specify what goals you need updated.
Yes, you can. However, please be aware that they will receive multiple emails and will need to open and validate each email they receive.
Once your submission has been approved, we send you an additional form. The additional form is titled “Next Congressional Award Level Record Book.” This is where you submit for a higher level of the award. If you did not receive one and would like to apply for a higher level, you can request the additional form here.
If you have been in the Award program for a while and have previously submitted awards, you can still submit your next level online at Submittable.
You do not need to re-enter your previous levels, as those levels will still be in your file. Please only submit for the new level on Submittable.
- Click “Submissions.”
- Click on the “Accepted” Record Book that was originally approved.
- Select “Forms.”
- Click “Continue” on your Additional Form (It will also have your previous submission shown directly above it.)
Your Program Manager must manually switch the review stage of your application. Once they have had the time to switch your application back to “In Review,” they will do so. It can take up to 2 weeks for re-submitted applications to be re-reviewed.
The review timeline is 4-6 weeks, or 6-8 weeks for Gold Medal submissions. The review of revisions can take up to 2 weeks.
Submit online Record Books with Submittable
Please submit record books on Submittable, the Award online submission website. For helpful resources, visit our current participants page.
Sign Up and Create an Account
If it is your first online record book submission, the participant will need to make a new Submittable account. Participants will need to create their own account and password. The Award recommends using the same email for the new account that participants listed on the registration. Keep this account log in for future access.
Note: participants were not given a log in from The Award and they must sign up to create an account.