In early 2013, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek embarked on a reporting mission to walk the same 21,000 mile path that modern humans took from Africa to South America over the course of roughly 50,000 years. The project is called the Out of Eden Walk, and Paul's goal throughout is to take a slow approach to reporting that allows readers to reflect on how the small things we notice as we walk through the world reveal larger international issues. Drawing inspiration from Paul's Out of Eden Walk and the intentionality of Scouting, 2017 National Jamboree participants are invited to submit an essay exploring how walking slowly through a place, and observing it closely, leads to a larger understanding of the world. A Scout will travel to Nepal or northern India for an unforgettable two-day hike with Paul Salopek and his Out of Eden Walk Team (specific dates to be arranged at a time mutually compatible with the winner and Paul Salopek).


Using Paul Salopek's Out of Eden Walk and your experiences at the National Jamboree as inspiration, take a hike somewhere in your community and note what you observe. Slow down, take notes, and think about what you see with clear focus and curiosity. Then ask, how does what you see and experience connect to your larger community. Reflect on how the things you notice while walking help connect to larger themes in the world.  (This could include anything from the environment to human relations, from migration and technology to questions of economics, culture or health). Think about how viewing these themes through the lens of Scouting widens your perspective, sharpens your focus, and informs your senses.  Finally, use your experience on the hike as research for an essay that addresses the following:

What do you notice about a place when you slow down? What do you see, hear, smell, feel? What do those things make you think about? How did slowing down at the National Jamboree help you reflect on your experience in Scouting? How have Scouting principles —character, citizenship, and service— helped you engage some of these themes in your local community? In what ways did the National Jamboree change how you look at the world and help you think about planning your life steps rooted with intention and purpose? 

Preparation for the Walk:

1. Watch the introductory video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mzDhqvQPqg

2. Read the first National Geographic cover story from the project here: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/12/out-of-eden/salopek-text).

3. Read the milestone description: http://www.outofedenwalk.com/milestones/ and then read the following milestones, noting how Paul engages all senses to notice a place slowly. Use the descriptions to identify connections Paul makes between what he sees and larger issues in the world:

- Milestone 1 Herto Bouri: http://www.outofedenwalk.com/gallery/2013/01/milestone-1-herto-bouri/

- Milestone 13 Bedouin Country: http://www.outofedenwalk.com/gallery/2013/09/milestone-13-bedouin-country/

- Milestone 15 Shoreline: http://www.outofedenwalk.com/gallery/2013/10/milestone-15-shoreline/

- Milestone 18 Displaced: http://www.outofedenwalk.com/gallery/2014/01/milestone-18-displaced/

- Milestone 25 "Flocks": http://www.outofedenwalk.com/gallery/2014/10/milestone-25-flocks/

- Milestone 29 "Crossroads": http://www.outofedenwalk.com/gallery/2015/10/milestone-29-crossroads/ (Watch this video for a more detailed report on this milestone from PBS Newshour: http://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/journalist-goes-walk-around-world-find-story-humanity

- Watch the storytelling video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfnVuLLK5V0

4. After you return home from the National Jamboree, take a hike (this could be in your neighborhood, a nearby community, or on a farther trip) and practice the observation techniques Paul explains in the materials above.

5. Record at least two written milestones from your hike or from your National Jamboree experience.  You will be submitting only written milestones for the essay selection, not photographs, video or audio. After you have viewed and read the resources and taken your hike, write your essay. Please pay careful attention to the requirements below.

Essay Requirements:

Essays should not exceed 500 words in length and should include:

1. An introduction responding to the essay topic above and explain why you think a "slow journalism" approach is useful and important. (Suggested length: 100-200 words)

2. Two milestones, modeled from those in the Out of Eden Walk, taken from your hike or from your experience at the National Jamboree. (Suggested length: 50-100 words per milestone)

3. A closing reflection on how your experience at the National Jamboree changed how you look at the world, how you engage in your local community, and helped you think about your next steps in life?  (Suggested length: 50-100 words)

4. Essays must be submitted using the application link below.

5. Essays should be typed into the field within the application, but it is recommended that applicants write and save a draft of their essay before pasting it in the application field.

6. Submissions must be original, unpublished work, begin with a title and address the essay itinerary (topic) using examples from your hikes.

7. Essays should be thoughtfully written with a clear structure and rich details. Evaluators will also be looking for essays without grammar or spelling errors.

8. Essays must be submitted by 11:59 PM on September 1, 2017 and meet the requirements listed above.

Note – All 2017 National Jamboree youth and adult attendees are encouraged to submit an essay, however walking with Paul will be reserved for a Boy Scout (under age 18) or Venturing Scout (under age 21).

Submit your essay here!

Additional Evidence of Your Intentional Walk

Beyond the essay requirements listed above, Paul hopes to understand how you actively embraced and adopted the journaling concepts he introduced at the National Jamboree. The body of work you established can also be presented in the following ways and will strengthen your consideration for being selected to walk along with Paul.

1. Intentional reflections that were recorded in your Passport Journal during the Jamboree. 

2. Evidence that you actively collected National Jamboree passport stamps and participated in the activity areas.

3. Evidence that you shared online milestones, reflections and moments of intention during the Jamboree. Use the hashtag #JamboreeJournal (these can be Twitter, Instagram, or public Facebook posts).  

Essay Selection:

Please read the National Jamboree selection details below.  

1. All essays will be reviewed and be narrowed to a field of 20 applicants.

2. Those applicants will be contacted and asked to scan copies of their Passport Journals and submit evidence of their social media posts.

3. Ten applicants will be selected for phone interviews.

4. Three applicants will then be selected for in person interviews.   

5. One winner will be announced by November 1. 

Note – This same process will be used for the Philmont Scout Ranch essay selections.