PULLMAN, Wash. — Two 4-H members from Sprague have been named recipients of the highest honor that Congress bestows on young people.
Clayton Wilken and Angela Vold, both of Sprague, and 15 other recipients of the Gold Congressional Award from across the country will receive their medals at a special ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on June 22. They will be honored for voluntary public service and for initiatives they have undertaken in personal development, physical fitness and in expedition/exploration.
The non-competitive award was created by Congress in 1979 to promote initiative, achievement and excellence among young people between the ages of 14 and 23. To qualify, young people must devote a minimum of 210 to 840 hours to the program, depending on their age.
Angela, a member of the Lincoln County Teen Time 4-H Club, wrote a successful $750 grant to help fund the Sprague food bank as part of her public service commitment. That’s about 25 percent of the annual budget for the local food bank, according to Joye Wilken, leader of the Teen-Time 4-H Club and Clayton’s mother. “That’s quite a coup for our food bank.”
Angela also assisted the local Chamber of Commerce and helped with community beautification as part of her community service commitment.
To fulfill her physical fitness requirement, the former recipient of both the bronze and silver awards improved her cheerleading skills and led her squad. For personal development, she learned leadership skills and became more poised as a public speaker. Her expedition was a three-week trip to Ireland and England, where she stayed with Irish and English families.
As part of his community service, Clayton worked with local government to rename duplicate street segments, a prerequisite for bringing 911 emergency service to the community.
He wrote grants to pay for new street signs, assembled them with his brother’s help and organized a group of teen and adult volunteers to install more than half of the new signs. This project earned Clayton a youth award from the National Safety Council last fall.
“He found that he could really make a difference,” his mother said. “There’s a lot of personal pride that comes from it.”
Clayton, a six-year 4-H member worked on improving his leadership skills as part of his personal development. He helped develop the Teen-Time 4-H Club, which focuses on leadership and community service, and served as a teen coordinator for the Western Regional 4-H Leaders Forum in Spokane this past February. He also broadened his knowledge of hunting, guns and gun safety.
For fitness, he increased his weight lifting capability. His expedition/exploration was a hunting trip. Like Angela, Clayton has earned both the silver and bronze awards.
Sprague, a community of fewer than 500 people, produced the state’s first gold Congressional award recipient in 1994 and, all told, winners of more than 20 gold, sliver and bronze awards, according to Joye Wilken. “Clay and Angela represent the fifth and sixth gold awards to kids in our community.”
(NOTE TO EDITORS: Sen. Patty Murray is expected to present the awards to Clayton and and Angela. Media are invited. Please contact Becky Sheetz at the Congressional Awards office if you have any questions, requests for photos or are interested in attending. Her number is 202-226-0130)
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