Scouts and Venturers who participated in summer 2018 programs at the Summit Bechtel Reserve or Northern Tier, plus young people who had their 2018 Philmont program canceled because of backcountry fires, are invited to enter the 2018 Out of Eden Walk Essay Competition.

Two worthy winners from the three participating Passport Journal locations will be selected to join National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek for a few days of his 21,000-mile walk around the world some time next year.

Salopek is telling stories through words, photos and video of the people he meets — “villagers, nomads, traders, farmers, soldiers and artists who rarely make the news.” You can follow his fascinating journey online, in near-real time, at this link.

The 2017 winners, Miciah Thacker and Christopher Sherman, spent two days reporting with Salopek on important conservation issues affecting people and animals in northwestern India. You can read about their journey in this post from the Pulitzer Center and in their essays, which were recently published online by National Geographic.

Will you or a Scout or Venturer you know be the next to join this incredible journey?

Miciah Thacker (left) and Christopher Sherman (right) joined Paul Salopek earlier this year on his Out of Eden Walk. Each penned thoughtful essays reflecting on their Scouting experiences. Photo by Chris Sawyer.

How to enter

To be eligible, Scouts (under 18) and Venturers (under 21) must have attended a high-adventure program or VenturingFest at SBR, participated in a program at Northern Tier or have been scheduled to take a Philmont expedition.

Eligible young people must write a one-page essay about their Scouting experiences this year. To write these 400 to 500 words, Scouts or Venturers will practice what Salopek calls “slow journalism.”

That means they’ll be encouraged to pause and reflect intentionally on how the skills learned in Scouting will impact their lives and communities in the future. They’ll reflect on the new experiences and adventures they enjoyed at Northern Tier or SBR. Scouts or Venturers who would have attended Philmont will write about the Scouting adventures they experienced in place of their Philmont trek.

Though better appreciating our world through slow journalism is the goal, interested Scouts and Venturers shouldn’t slow down too much. The essay contest deadline is Sept. 30, 2018.

Here are the steps to follow:

First, watch the introductory video below to see how slow journalism can enhance your Scouting experiences.

Then, visit At the bottom of page, you’ll find links to the essay instructions and submission details for each location. These links are also listed below:

Finally, watch the 2018 BSA next steps video below.

Stay tuned as this story develops

Scouts, Venturers or Sea Scouts interested in walking with Salopek in the future should consider introducing his slow journalism concepts at local unit meetings and on camping trips.

Those intentional moments can be used to begin planning their next local Scouting activities or future outdoor adventures to SBR, Northern Tier, Philmont and Sea Base.

Updates for how to introduce the Pulitzer Center and Out of Eden Walk programming at local council camps will be available in spring 2019.

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