Congressional Award for Service

Office of AmeriCorps NCCC Seal




Public Law 96-114, The Congressional Award Act


Participants in AmeriCorps NCCC have a unique opportunity to also earn The Congressional Award. Signed into law by President Carter in 1979, The Congressional Award is the highest honor given to America’s youth by the United States Congress, rewarding community service and personal development. This flyer should help Corps Members understand the partnership as well as assist in filling out The Congressional Award Record Book. We look forward to working with all NCCC Corps Members!


Corps Members interested in pursuing The Congressional Award must register within two weeks of The Congressional Award briefing at the NCCC Campus. This must be completed online. Corps Members can follow the attached guide to registration in order to complete the registration. Corps Members must be registered prior to assignment and deployment in order to submit a Record Book for consideration. AmeriCorps NCCC, through its partnership with The Congressional Award, pays the registration fee for all Corps Members that are interested in working toward the Award. If a Corps Member does not properly identify their program through CNS (AmeriCorps NCCC and FEMA Corps) as well as their campus, the participant will be billed for registration. 

NCCC 18-24 | Congressional Award 14-23 

The Congressional Award is open to youth 14-23. If a Corps Member completes all requirements for an Award prior to their 24th birthday, they will still be eligible to receive the Award. Many Corps Members may turn 24 while in AmeriCorps NCCC; if a Corps Member meets the Bronze requirement of hours and months prior to their 24th birthday, they will earn a Bronze Medal upon completion and approval of the Record Book. They must be able to show at least six months of activity since initial registration with the Award in order to be eligible for the Bronze Medal; at least five months of activity for ALL Certificates, and at least one month of activity for the Bronze and Silver Certificates.

If a member ages out within the months below and has no previous submission or start date, they would qualify for the following:

  • Turns 24 years old within 4 months of registration – Bronze and Silver Certificates
  • Turns 24 years old within 5 months of registration – 3 Certificates
  • Turns 24 years old within 6 months of registration – Bronze Medal

Higher levels are based on previous service and how many months of activity logged before a Corps Member turns 24 years old.

Activities should be completed before a Corps Member turns 24 years old. This includes the Expedition/Exploration portion of the Award. Corps Members must be able to demonstrate an Expedition/Exploration activity before they turn 24 years old for ANY level of the Award. 


The majority of AmeriCorps NCCC participants who register with The Congressional Award will be eligible to earn their Bronze Medal at the NCCC/FEMA Graduation. The Bronze Medal requires seven months of commitment. By the time Corps Members graduate NCCC, they will only need two more months of activity for the Silver Medal and 12 more additional months of activity for the Gold Medal. Continuing with The Congressional Award is a great way to carry their commitment to community service “this year and beyond.”


The Record Book should be submitted to the NCCC/FEMA Congressional Award coordinator at least six weeks before graduation. The information below should assist Corps Members in filling out the Record Book. If they have any questions, they should contact their Campus Congressional Award Coordinator or the National Office at (202) 226-0130 or

First Page (Contact and Advisor Information)

  • Corps Member must list their permanent address information, NOT the AmeriCorps Campus information, as we will have follow up information regarding any award.
  • All signatures need to be included (this includes the Corps Member, Advisor and Validators, i.e. Team Leader or campus coordinator).
  • The Congressional Award recommends using your Campus Coordinator as Advisor and your Team Leader as Validator.

Second Page (Voluntary Public Service)

  • Under the partnership formed with The Congressional Award, participants are allowed to count exactly half of their 1700 hours toward this category with the other half being spread out over the other three categories. This comes to 850 hours, which is already filled out in the Record Book to make things easier. 
  • Participants should detail the service work they completed and the overall effect on the community and in their own lives.
  • Dates should be the arrival date on campus and graduation date.

Third Page (Personal Development)

  • Hours not counted towards Voluntary Public Service, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration activities should be logged here. This would most likely be anywhere from 300-400 hours. It includes trainings, ISPs, and any additional service hours.
  • Participants should detail what they took away from their time in AmeriCorps NCCC, focusing on new skills, experiences, outlooks, etc. 
  • Participants must show at least 50 hours of Personal Development for the Bronze Medal level.
  • Dates should be the arrival date on campus and graduation date.

Fourth Page (Physical Fitness)

  • Generally, AmeriCorps NCCC participants are required to complete PT three times a week for an hour. This should be approximately 120 hours. However, some participants do more, some participants do less. Corps Members need to get the most accurate number possible using 120 as a guideline.
  • Participants must show at least 50 hours of Physical Fitness for the Bronze Medal level.
  • Dates should be the arrival date on campus and graduation date.

NOTE:  The Personal Development and Physical Fitness hours may not total more than 850 hours.

Fifth and Sixth Page (Expedition/Exploration)

  • This should include the specific dates and closest approximation of hours for the shortest SPIKE.  The hours completed on this SPIKE should not be included in Personal Development. For example, if a SPIKE lasted six weeks we allot eight hours a day bringing the total hours to 336 for the whole activity. 
  • The dates completed should be the dates from the beginning of the shortest SPIKE to the end of the same SPIKE.
  • Corps Members should to include a brief write-up of what was accomplished on the SPIKE, and how they prepared for the trip. This must include answers and details to the following:
  • How the activity was unlike anything the Corps Member had ever done before.
  • How the activity was challenging.
  • How the Corps Member personally planned for the activity from start to finish.
  • Information about the service provided and skills/knowledge gained.

The basic requirements for The Congressional Award at all levels are listed below:

 Voluntary Public Service (Hours/Months of Activity)Personal Development (Hours/Months of Activity)*Physical Fitness (Hours/Months of Activity)Expedition/Exploration (Number of Days)
Bronze Certificate  30 Hours/ N/A15 Hours/ N/A15 Hours/ N/A1 Day
Silver Certificate           60 Hours/ N/A                              30 Hours/ N/A30 Hours/ N/A    2 Days
Gold Certificate90 Hours/ 6 Months of Activity45 Hours/ 6 Months of Activity                            45 Hours/ 6 Months of Activity                         

3 Days

Bronze Medal100 Hours/ 7 Months of Activity50 Hours/ 7 Months of Activity50 Hours/ 7 Months of Activity2 Days/1 Night

CORPS Members
(1 TERM)

850  Hours/ 10 Months of ActivityVariable Hours – up to 425 / 10 Months of Activity120 Hours/ 10 Months of ActivityShortest SPIKE
Silver Medal200 Hours/ 12 Months of Activity100 Hours/ 12 Months of Activity100 Hours/ 12 Months of Activity3 Days/ 2 Nights (consecutive)
Gold Medal400 Hours/ 24 Months of Activity200 Hours/ 24 Months of Activity200 Hours/ 24 Months of Activity5 Days/ 4 Nights (consecutive)

* Personal Development and Physical Fitness Hours are based on remaining hours from NCCC/FEMA (850), divided as appropriate. 

** Corps Members will overwhelmingly meet the hour requirements for the Gold Medal in their first tour, however they will need to continue their work in Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, and Physical Fitness in order to meet the month requirements, showing continued dedication to their goals.

Two exceptions to the basic eligibility of a new Corps Member for the Bronze Medal are:

  1. Participants who were active with The Congressional Award prior to enlisting in NCCC/FEMA, or anyone that registered for the Award during a previous tour in NCCC/FEMA, may be eligible for the Silver Medal after completion of the current tour, dependent on meeting the requirements above. To double check a registration date, please contact the National Office at Team Leaders, who have already earned their Bronze Medal in a previous tour of AmeriCorps NCCC, may be eligible for the Silver Medal.
  2. Participants that age out, or turn 24 years old, before a tour is completed, may only count hours, months, and activities until their 24th birthday. If they can only show up to five months of activity before turning 24 years old, then they would be eligible for the Certificate levels of the program, which are signed by the Leadership of Congress. If participants cannot show five months of activity, they may still be eligible for the Bronze and Silver Certificates, which do not have month requirements. If they can show at least six months of activity before they aged out of the program, they may be eligible for the Bronze Medal. If there are any questions about aging out, they may speak with their campus coordinator or contact


Congressional Award Medals are presented by U.S. Representatives, dependent on the Member’s schedule. At the National office we try to schedule the Representative from the Campus’s district to attend each graduation to present the medals. Members of Congress will also present Medals earned after leaving AmeriCorps in the Corps member’s home congressional district.

For more information about the Congressional Award, please visit their website at:


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