New Port Richey, FL – Monday, July 1, 2019
US Representative for Florida’s 12th Congressional District, Gus Bilirakis, presented Tanner Smith with the Congressional Award Gold Medal.
538 Students were presented with Congress’ most prestigious honor for youth. The program is open to all young people ages 14 to 23. Participants earn Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medals. It is the highest honor the U.S. Congress can bestow upon our nation’s youth. The Gold Medal represents the pinnacle of Congress’ award program for youth. The honor requires that each recipient embark on a two year goal-setting journey, logging a minimum of 400 hours of Voluntary Public Service, 200 hours of Personal Development and Physical Fitness, respectively, and a 5 day, 4-night Expedition/Exploration. Tanner went way over and logged an amazing 581 hours of Voluntary Public Service.
Tanner Smith, a River Ridge High School graduate and member of the City of New Port Richey Parks and Recreation Youth Advisory Board, who now attends the University of North Florida, earned his Gold Medal volunteer hours with the City of New Port Richey Parks and Recreation Department Youth Advisory board for participating in Toys for Tots, Family Movie Nights in Sims Park, the Cardboard Camp-out, Annual Food Drive, and the Cotee River Cleanup. His Personal Development Goals included improving his leadership and communication skills through career development programs. The Cardboard Campout which raised awareness of the hardships of homelessness and collecting canned food donations for a local food bank were Tanners two focus areas in Expedition/Exploration. In Physical Fitness Tanner completed 4 times the mandatory hours, played both offensive and defensive line as a starter for River Ridge High School.
Tanner completed all Gold Medal requirements within two years and said he “learned that hard work pays off and that involvement in my community is important.” He also leaned “leadership skills, how to dress, interviewing skills; all things that will help me as I grow.”
The Congressional Award, America’s Award For Youth, has 48,000 participants nationally, with over 7.5 million hours of service logged thorough the program. The awards are earned, never given with participants setting personally challenging goals in four program areas: Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration. Each applicant has an advisor and validators, experienced in the program areas who monitor progress every step of the way toward medals. Congress presented The Congressional Award Gold Medal to 538 youth this year, the largest class in the program’s 40-year history. Spanning 42 U.S. states and territories and 181 congressional districts, Gold Medalists contributed 295,206 volunteer hours to their communities, an average of 548 hours per medalist.