The Congressional Award Foundation recently 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. Among the honorees was Logan Taylor of Wellington.
The livestreamed virtual celebration video took viewers through each state with pre-recorded congratulatory remarks from members of Congress, 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 experience pursuing the Gold Medal.
“I learned that putting forth an effort to help others can make a huge difference in my local community and beyond,” Taylor said. “I did not realize how great this need was until I got involved with the Congressional Service Awards. It is extremely rewarding to see how small things can make a big impact on others in their time of need. This also makes me appreciate more what I have been given in my own life and how I can use my skills to give back to others.”
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 five-day 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.
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, the program recognizes initiative, service and achievement in youth ages 13 and a half to 23.