Voluntary Public Service

Sharing your time and talents for the benefit of others is an important part of the Congressional Award program. This requires sensitivity, perception of need, determination, perseverance and dedication. Voluntary Public Service activities must be performed without pay, compensation or school credit. You should provide a direct service, rather than focus on issues. When setting your goals, identify activities that benefit the community at large. Keep in mind that political activities are not eligible for voluntary public service.


A series of activities may be combined to achieve one goal. However, a collection of unrelated volunteer service activities would not be acceptable.

Acceptable goals with a series of activities: “I will provide a minimum of 100 hours of service under the direction of the Volunteer Office of Central Florida.” (A similar situation could be applied to service clubs, scouting programs, American Red Cross or other organizations).

In pursuit of your Award, if your volunteer activity requires you to spend several consecutive days, earning many hours in a short period of time, plan a follow up activity or continue other volunteer activities throughout the remainder of your program:

Acceptable goals with activity throughout the program: “I will volunteer as a counselor at a scout camp for 12 days. I also will serve as an assistant scout leader for one year.”

In order to qualify, activities coordinated by a church, synagogue or mosque must provide service to the community as a whole. Responsibilities related to membership in a religious institution (churches, synagogues, etc.) or religious teaching are not acceptable for voluntary public service, but many are acceptable as Personal Development activities.

Acceptable Volunteer Public Service activities: Assisting with food and clothing drives; Working at soup kitchens; Providing community-wide day care.

Unacceptable Volunteer Public Service activities: Singing in the church choir; Participating in religious education; Baby-sitting in the church nursery; Teaching religious doctrine; and Missionary and proselytizing work (preaching and converting).

Activities pursued, as a member of an organization or service club such as Key Club, fraternities or sororities must provide service to the community. Work related to internal, membership activities (such as recruitment, training or initiation) does not qualify for Voluntary Public Service.

Service volunteered at private businesses does not qualify for Voluntary Public Service, but may count as Personal Development. Voluntary service must be nonpartisan.

Unacceptable places for volunteer service: Volunteer work at a private office (such as a law firm or doctor’s office), working for an elected official and working for a political campaign are not acceptable Voluntary Public Service activities.

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!

Animal care shelter work
Aquatics/water safety instructor
Camp/outdoor school volunteer
Civil Air Patrol (leadership role)
Conservation projects
Crime Prevention
Day care center volunteer
Disabled citizens assistance
Fire dept. or Police volunteer
First Aid Instructor
Health service
Hospital volunteer
Immigrant services (bilingual tutoring, etc.)
Leadership (Scout, 4-H)
Library work
Meals on Wheels
Nursing home volunteer
Park volunteer
Peer counseling
Public housing services
Red Cross volunteer
Safety escort for young children
United Way volunteer
VISTA programs
YMCA volunteer


Bronze – 30 hours & no min. months required
Silver – 60 hours & no min. months required
Gold – 90 hours & 6 months of activity 

Bronze – 100 hours & 7 months of activity
Silver – 200 hours & 12 months of activity
Gold – 400 hours & 24 months of activity

Voluntary Public Service 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 Voluntary Public Service 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.