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The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation (the Council) was established in 2003 to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers are making in our communities and encourage more people to serve. The Council created the President’s Volunteer Service Award program as a way to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service.

Recognizing and honoring volunteers sets a standard for service, encourages a sustained commitment to civic participation, and inspires others to make service a central part of their lives. The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes individuals, families, and groups that have achieved a certain standard – measured by the number of hours of service over a 12-month period or cumulative hours earned over the course of a lifetime.

To date, the President’s Council has partnered with more than 80 Leadership Organizations and more than 28,000 Certifying Organizations to bestow more than 1.5 million awards to the Nation’s deserving volunteers.

The Unit can nominate recipients for the award by submitting a record of their service. This is a particularly good way to recognize and thank volunteers, leaders and scouts, every year. It is a dignified simple recognition. It can be presented with the appropriate service star that can be worn on the Scout Uniform, and Veteran Scouter Pin (for ‘civilian’ wear) on an annual basis.

The Award
Depending on which award package is ordered, award recipients can receive:

  • * An official President’s Volunteer Service Award lapel pin
  • * A personalized certificate of achievement
  • * A congratulatory letter from the President of the United States
  • * A letter from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation

Award Criteria
Any individual, family, or group can receive Presidential recognition for volunteer hours earned over a 12-month period or over the course of a lifetime at home or abroad.

Volunteer Eligibility

  • United States citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States (i.e., green card holder)
  • Must be at least five years old
  • Completes eligible service within a 12-month period (for annual Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards) and over a lifetime (for Lifetime Achievement Awards)

Eligible Service:

  • Unpaid acts of volunteer service benefitting others
    • Service through National service programs that provide a stipend (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) may count towards the Lifetime Achievement Award*, but not for the annual Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards)
    • Travel stipends, transit/parking passes, membership passes, expense reimbursements, and other nominal volunteer support do not impact service eligibility

Eligible Service does not include:

  • Donating funds
  • Political lobbying (Non-partisan voter registration is an eligible activity)
  • Religious instruction
  • Conducting worship service
  • Proselytizing
  • Volunteer service performed as part of court-ordered community service
  • Serving only family members
Hours Required to Earn Awards in Each Age Group
Age GroupBronzeSilverGoldLifetime Achievement Award*
Kids (5–10 years old) 26–49 hours 50–74 hours 75+ hours 4,000+ hours
Teens (11–15) 50–74 hours 75–99 hours 100+ hours 4,000+ hours
Young Adults (16–25) 100–174 hours 175–249 hours 250+ hours 4,000+ hours
Adults (26+) 100–249 hours 250–499 hours 500+ hours 4,000+ hours

* The Lifetime Achievement Award is not available to be awarded at this time.

The Congressional Award: An impressive honor Scouts can earn just by being Scouts - Bryan on Scouting article


CongressionalAwardsThe Congressional Award was created by the U.S. Congress to promote and recognize initiative, service and achievement in youth ages 13 1/2 to 24. It is non-partisan, voluntary, and non-competitive. Participants set goals with an adult advisor and earn Bronze, Silver and Gold Congressional Award Certificates and Medals. Medals are presented by a U.S. Member of Congress. Each level involves setting goals in four pro-gram areas:

  • Voluntary Public Service
  • Personal Development 
  • Physical Fitness
  • Expedition/Exploration

Earning the Award is a fun and interesting way to get more involved in something you already enjoy or something you’d like to try for the first time. You move at your own pace—on your own or with your friends. This is not an award for past accomplishments. Instead, you are honored for setting challenging goals with an advisor and working to achieve those goals. 

The Congressional Award is open to all. There are no minimum grade point average requirements, and accommodations are made for young people with special needs or disabilities who are willing to take the challenge.

The partnership between the Congressional Award and Boy Scouts of America provides opportunities for youth to be nationally recognized for their accomplishments in service, leadership and fitness.

 While a Scout, Varsity Scout or Venturer pursues his/her Scout Advancement or Venturing Awards, many of those same activities can also count toward the Congressional Award. Here are examples of earning the Congressional Award within the BSA program:

Voluntary Public Service 

Providing voluntary public service to the community at large: 

  • I will provide service to Boy Scouts of America as a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, Den Chief, or volunteer Cub Scout Day Camp staff member.
  • I will provide service with Boy Scouts of America as I plan, coordinate and implement an Eagle Scout project (Note: project must benefit community at large, not a religious institution, to count hours toward the Congressional Award).
  • I will provide service to my community with my BSA troop in activities such as working at a food bank, a community clean-up day, or Habitat for Humanity.

Personal Development 

Developing personal interest, social or employment skills:

  • I will complete the merit badges required to earn the rank of Eagle Scout (or Life Scout, Star Scout, Eagle Palms, etc.)
  • I will earn the Boy Scout or Venturing Religious Emblem for my faith.
  • I will earn a Venturing Award (Bronze, Silver, Gold., Ranger, Quest, TRUST, etc.)

Physical Fitness

Improving quality of life through fitness activities: 

  • I will train for and fully participate in a 50-mile hike. Skills I will work to develop are backpacking, rock climbing, hiking and carrying a 40 pound pack for 10 miles a day.
  • I will earn the BSA Personal Fitness, Cycling, Swimming, Hiking, etc. merit badges. 


Undertaking a wilderness or venture experience: 

  • I will embark on an overnight hiking/camping expedition. I will be the leader in planning and preparation of my Boy Scout Troop on this expedition. 
  • I will plan, prepare for and lead my Venturing Crew on a 6-night backpacking trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.
The Congressional Award Medal Requirements

Certificate Levels

Medal Levels

For more information or to register online, please visit: www.congressionalaward.org External Link

Please note that you may only begin counting hours once you have registered. Hours accumulated prior to registration cannot be counted toward the Award. 

Participants must complete the activities in all four program areas.

The partnership of the Congressional Award & Boys Scouts of America gives you the opportunity to be recognized by Congress for activities you already do!


An ONLINE course will be given on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 6:30PM til 9:00PM where we will cover MOST of the two merit badges requirements. You will need to take notes and be able to discuss what we went over when you complete the requirements that can't be done online together. You will also need to complete the CYBERCHIP requirements for your age group (required for both merit badges), for Programming merit badge you will need to complete requirements 5 a-d and for Digital Technologies merit badge you will need to complete 5 b-c, 6 and 8.

You MUST sign up by Monday for this course and we must have at least TWO people signed up to do the course.  To sign up or to ask questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

The formation of youth into patrols of from six to eight and training them as separate units each under its own responsible leader is the key to a good Troop.

 The Patrol is the unit of Scouting always, whether for work or for play, for discipline or for duty. An invaluable step in character training is to put responsibility on the individual. This is immediately gained in appointing a Patrol Leader to responsible command of their Patrol. It is up to them to take hold of and to develop the qualities of each boy or girl in their Patrol. It sounds a big order, but in practice it works.

 Then, through emulation and competition between patrols, you produce a Patrol spirit which is eminently satisfactory, since it raises the tone among the youth and develops a higher standard of efficiency all round. Each scout in the Patrol realizes that they are in themselves a responsible unit, and that the honor of their group depends in some degree on their own ability in playing the game.

 - Aids to Scoutmastership by Baden Powell (translated to update some archaic terms)

Patrol Method in Practice – The Adult Role by CLARKE GREEN on JANUARY 4, 2013

Imagine a bus tour of some important city where, seated in the air-conditioned comfort of a motor coach, we listen to the guide explain each landmark in detail so we won’t miss anything. The guide sticks to the script, we sit behind the tinted windows of our bus dutifully turning our heads to the left, then to the right. There’s so much explaining that there’s not much time left for questions and soon the tour is over.

Contrast the bus tour with a hike led by a knowledgeable guide. He takes up the rear letting our group lead and find the trail. When the path branches he’ll tell us which way to go if we can’t figure it out on our own. He doesn’t mind if we stop now and then to admire a flower or take in the view. He’ll happily tell you what you are looking at if you ask.

Our guide will volunteer little information, he’ll drop a hint here and there and he’ll answer questions. We may miss some sights along the way or pass by interesting things, but our group will  probably get more out of what we discovered on the hike and asked about than the things the guide told us about.

Guiding Scouts using the patrol method is more like the hike than the bus tour; a gentle push in the right direction than dragging them along; a suggestion rather than a command, a question asked rather than an answer given. The adult role in the patrol method is more responsive than directive. Each group of Scouts is different so how we play our role is a response to their development, group dynamics and abilities.

There’s a difference between guiding and coercing. If we follow the metaphor our group of hikers has some idea of where they want to go and the guide is responding to rather than determining the interests of the group. We ought to respond to the interests of our Scouts rather than determining what they should be interested in. The field of play is the Scouting program, we guide them within that context, we train them to follow the program.

Our role in Scouting is important but we aren’t in the leadership structure, we aren’t even on the chart.

Scouts form their own patrols, elect their senior patrol leader and patrol leaders, we don’t appoint them. We respond to the choices made by the Scouts and start guiding the leaders they elected.

Recall from the last post that we are not focusing on decorations and indicators, those come later. We think that the content of meetings and camping trips are all-important, but they are actually just decorative. We think that the metrics of attendance, membership, fundraising and advancement are important but they are merely indicators.

There are troops where the patrol method is watered down to an administrative nicety, a way to divide Scouts into more manageable groups and provide leadership positions for Scouts. When we put the patrol method into practice things change dramatically. Since people are usually resistant to dramatic change there are objections. In the next post we’ll answer the most common objections to putting the patrol method into practice.

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