This is America’s Award for Youth!
The Congressional Award provides opportunities for young people to unleash their potential by achieving personal goals focused on volunteerism, character development and fitness. Participants have accepted a challenge presented by the United States Congress to serve their communities.
Dr. Jeff A. Jacobsen said, “I must tell you with all sincerity that the Congressional Award program is the nation’s best-kept motivational secret for our youth! Over the past seven years, I have been personally involved with the Wyoming Congressional Award program and nearly fifty highly motivated Wyoming young persons who have completed requirements and have received Bronze, Silver or Gold Medals. These young people have included academically gifted and academically disadvantaged. The program has included outstanding all-state athletes and physically handicapped. I have witnessed participation by the healthiest of young people and those terminally ill. I have witnessed one award recipient who, as an abandoned child, received her award in the united presence of her original family, together for the first time in many years. The Congressional Award is truly available to ALL!”
Participants set individualized and challenging goals in four areas: volunteer public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration. Upon attainment of the goals and time requirements, participants are presented with a Bronze, Silver or Gold Certificate or Medal. Each person’s road to earning the Congressional Award is personal and individualized. Any young person aged 13 ½ to 23 can earn the Congressional Award regardless of prior or current achievement, life circumstances or physical ability.
Participant Kayleigh Skolnick is a 2013 Congressional Award Gold Medalist.
Skolnick has also received the Bronze and Silver Congressional Award Medals.
“My favorite part of the program is meeting tons of new people and working with my community,” she said.
For Voluntary Public Service, Skolnick volunteered at the Old West Museum and the local hospital. She also made blankets for children at St. Judes Hospital and participated in the youth service retreat in Sheridan.
Skolnick took piano lessons and worked on a History Day project for her goals in Personal Development. For Physical Finess, she trained for a 5k race and increased her batting average.
For an Exploration, Skolnick planned a two-week trip to Hawaii.
“I highly suggest this to everyone. It is a really fun program,” Skolnick said. “It is worth working every hour.”
Skolnick is originally from Denver, Colorado, but now lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming. She attends Central High School and is in the tenth grade. At school, Skolnick is a member of Art Club and the newspaper.
In the future she would like to attend an out-of-state college with the hope of becoming a pediatric oncologist, or children’s cancer doctor. She plans to eventually live out of state.