Rising to the Challenge: The Congressional Award

February 26, 2021
Weekly Column

One of the best parts of my job is the unique opportunity I have to meet with outstanding young people from across the state. I am inspired by their energy and dedication to make a positive impact in their communities and across the country.

It’s easy to look at today’s political climate and feel discouraged, but as I am reminded every time I meet with young people, the future of this country is in good hands. 

I believe it is important to recognize young people for practicing good citizenship and contributing to their communities. That’s why I am excited to highlight Congress’s highest honor bestowed on a young person: The Congressional Award.

In 1979, Congress established the Congressional Award to highlight the service, initiative, and achievement of America’s youth. The Congressional Award is a non-partisan program where participants set and achieve challenging goals in four core areas: voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration. 

As participants reach their goals, they earn Bronze, Silver, and Gold Certificates and Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medals. The program is open to anyone between the ages of 14-23 and accommodates for young people with disabilities. In order to participate, individuals must register online. 

Community service makes states like South Dakota stronger, and I’m proud many of our youth are stepping up voluntarily. If you are interested in learning more about the Congressional Award or would like to register, visit https://www.congressionalaward.org. I look forward to honoring South Dakotans willing to take on this unique challenge.