Pictured Left to Right: 2023 award recipient Jack Hamilton, 2021 award recipient Riley Hamilton, 2023 award recipient Savannah Watson and U.S. Congressman Ken Buck; 2023 award recipient Nathan Kim
Local food banks, older adults, and students in need of tutoring have all benefitted from years of service and dedication of a few Douglas County teenagers, who recently received the Congressional Award Gold Medal.
The prestigious award requires 400 hours of voluntary public service, 200 hours of physical fitness, 200 hours of personal development, and the planning and undertaking of a five-day expedition. Douglas County’s 4-H youth and leadership program has helped some of these students achieve this goal.
Eight Colorado students earned this award in 2023 – four of them call Douglas County home.
Jack Hamilton, 2023 Recipient: Jack, 18, from Sedalia, served with Help and Hope and completed other projects to support youth. He also improved his public speaking and debate skills leading to the finals at the national levels of his speech league. Jack ran ultramarathons, and the Spartan Race, and for his exploration journey, he accomplished a 27-mile rim-to-rim run of the Grand Canyon and has been a long-time member of 4-H.
Savannah Watson, 2023 Recipient: Savannah, 19, from Elizabeth, served with Nourish Meals on Wheels delivering meals to older adults. She earned a second-degree black belt and improved her speaking skills enough to win the Miss Colorado Teen Pageant in 2021. Savannah also planned an exploration of four southwest states to explore her Mexican heritage.
Nathan Kim, 2023 Recipient: Nathan, 17, from Castle Pines, served with Global Youth Mission, helping children, the homeless community and those with mental health struggles. He strove to improve his golf handicap and planned an exploration trip to Hawaii to study the culture and environment.
Coloradans Maya Vendhan (Highlands Ranch), Justin Yeo (Denver), Braydon Nutter (Aurora), Neil Bhavikatti (Centennial) and Egan Bauersfeld (Loveland) have also been awarded in 2023.
Jack Hamilton and 2021 recipient Riley Hamilton are members of Douglas County 4-H, a youth development and leadership program, which is also a partner organization with the Congressional Award. Learn more about the leadership and educational opportunities available through 4-H through Douglas County’s CSU Extension Office.
To learn more about the Congressional Award and how to begin the journey with a young person in your life, please contact Laurie Hamilton, Douglas County CSU Extension Office, at 720-733-6940 or by email at [email protected].