August 5, 2022 – (Washington, DC) The Congressional Award Foundation hosted its annual Gold Medal Celebration honoring 549 youth from 41 states across the nation, making this group the largest Gold Medal class to date. This year’s theme for the virtual event focused on the individual medalists, their achievements, and their ability to affect change in the world – Class of 2022: Change Starts with You.
The livestreamed virtual celebration video took viewers through each state with pre-recorded congratulatory remarks from Members of Congress, both from the House and Senate, followed by brief highlights of the 549 awardees. Each young changemaker was highlighted on-screen with their hometown, the school they attend, and a few self-submitted words about the impact they’ve had through their 2+ year experience pursuing the Gold Medal.
A few of the words that medalists submitted to sum up the impact they feel they’ve made through earning their medal included compassion, inclusion, community, growth, education accessibility, connections, fitness mindset, opportunities, advocacy, confidence, and more.
The Gold Medal takes a minimum of two years to earn, as one of the key aspects of the program is instilling proficiency in long-term goal setting. Each participant must complete 800 activity hours across four program areas – 400 hours of Voluntary Public Service, 200 hours of Personal Development, 200 hours of Physical Fitness, and conduct a 5-day, 4-night Expedition or Exploration trip. While the hour and month requirement is uniform, individual projects within the four program areas vary from participant to participant, making the program totally customizable.
In addition to the livestreamed video, The Congressional Award is offering additional exclusive programming for the 2022 Gold Medal Class over the next three months. The main programming piece will feature networking sessions with members of the Board of Directors, Congressional Award staff, and fellow medalists. These meetings are a chance for recent Congressional Award alumni to build their networks and receive unique personal access to corporate leaders in a variety of fields. While all of the sessions will have a broad focus on the importance of networking and establishing relationships with mentors, each meeting will hone in on a specific theme in which the moderator has particular expertise. Some examples include working on a team, creating sustainability, strengthening college applications, exploring careers in the medicine, etc.
About The Congressional Award
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.