Personal Development

Expand your horizons while developing individual interests, social and life skills. The Congressional Award challenges you to pursue a new interest or advance to another level in an ongoing interest, through Personal Development activities. In your Record Book, be sure to include your present level and then identify specific skills or new knowledge, which you will achieve.


Your Record Book should include a goal which identifies a definite task to be completed and activities which require the application of specific skills.

Acceptable goal: “I will improve my acting skills and learn more about working behind the scenes in a theater.”

Acceptable activities: “I will perform in community theater, work as a stage hand, and learn about lighting, props and costumes.”

If you are a full-time student, a part-time job could count for Personal Development. In order to qualify, the goal must indicate the development of vocational and/or work skills and the activities must be performed without school credit. Similarly, if you are employed full-time, educational activities could serve as a Personal Development activity.

Part-time work pursued by a full-time student as Personal Development: “I will work part-time at a bank where my duties will include: answering telephones, filing, word processing and operating photo copiers and fax machines. This will allow me to explore careers in banking.””

Education pursued as Personal Development by a person employed full-time: “I will attend classes to prepare for and take the exam for a General Education Diploma. In addition, I will explore jobs that I will be qualified for at a hospital and practice writing letters to apply for those jobs.

Your Personal Development goals can be pursued either individually or as part of a group. If your goal is within a group activity, your individual contribution to the planning, execution, and completion of the activity is the basis for assessment. Your individual progress should be measured against your goals, not other teammates.

Personal Development goals as part of a group: “I will pursue my interest in photography as a member of the school newspaper staff. I intend to produce at least 10 photos, which will be published during the next school year.”

Your Record Book should show an intended improvement level from where you stand now in a particular skill or hobby to where you intend to be at the completion of your goals. If no obvious way to measure your progress exists, include extra activities.

Personal Development additional activities to show improvement: Baby-sitting-include child safety or choke prevention course. Reading -develop a vocabulary list and write book reviews.

Activity Ideas

These are just some of the activities that young people have participated in to earn the Award. Remember – it’s about your interests and your own challenges.  If you have a question about a specific activity and want some feedback please contact us!

Amateur radio
Arts and crafts
Automotive science
Career development
Clerical and office
Collecting (stamps,coins, etc.)
Creative writing
Cross cultural programs
Dog training
Electrical engineering
Fashion design/tailoring
Floral art

Job training programs
Language study
Leadership training
Learning For Life
Literacy programs
Model building
National Guard
Part-time work
Speech and debate
Video production


Bronze – 15 hours & no min. months required
Silver – 30 hours & no min. months required
Gold – 45 hours & 6 months

Bronze – 50 hours & 7 months
Silver – 100 hours & 12 months
Gold – 200 hours & 24 months

Personal Development requires an extended commitment to one’s goals.  Months of activity are as vital to the program as hours dedicated to the program area. Please see our Program Requirements Page for further explanation.

Once you are registered, you can click here to get your copy of the Record Book. Work with your Advisor and Validator to set goals in each program area, then set out to achieve them.

You may also print out the Personal Development page here.  Note – when you submit for an Award, you must submit an entire record book including cover page and goals in all four program areas.