GONZALES — Gonzales students and brothers Andrew and Scott Funk have earned the Congressional Award for their commitment to physical fitness, volunteering, personal development and exploring the surrounding areas.
Andrew and Scott completed 100 hours of physical fitness, 200 hours of volunteer work, 100 hours of personal development as well as two nights and three days of expedition and exploration that qualified them for the Congressional Award, which they received from Congressman Jimmy Panetta.
“The first time seeing Congressman Jimmy Panetta in person actually made me really nervous,” Andrew said. “Then, after having a nice conversation with Congressman Panetta, I felt more confident with him.”
The brothers participated in such sports as baseball, cross country and track as well as hiking.
Andrew served his community by working as in intern for the City of Gonzales’ Youth Summer Program, Youth Council City Events and volunteering at the Monterey Bay Aquarium through the Teen Conservation Leadership program.
Scott completed his community service through Boy Scout involvement.
The expedition part of the award came in the form of planning an overnight trip, which proved a challenge because in two years the first trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico was canceled when a fire broke out, followed by a similar Yosemite trip that also was canceled due to a fire. Instead, the brothers took a trip to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
“We had to be very persistent when we planned our expedition, as originally it was set for Philmont, but after two or three years of planning, we had to cancel due to forest fires,” Scott said. “Eventually we set on Big Basin, which worked out great and the trek was very fun.”
The Funk brothers first heard about the Congressional Award Program through a Boy Scout event at a San Francisco Giants game. It was promoted as a way for Boy Scouts and other youth-led groups to join a separate program to encourage youth to pursue more leadership roles and expand community involvement.
Andrew and Scott have completed the full program, Gold Medal twice with the requirements, since being recognized by Panetta for the Silver Medal level.
They have been invited to attend a Gold Medal Ceremony in Washington, D.C., next June.