Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders
2024 Slingshot Challenge Opens for Submissions September 20, 2023
Every year on August 12th, the world comes together to celebrate International Youth Day, an occasion dedicated to recognizing the valuable contributions of young individuals in shaping our global society. At the National Geographic Society, we believe that young people hold the key to building a sustainable future. Recognizing that young people are committed to taking action to protect our planet, the National Geographic Society and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation created the Slingshot Challenge; an initiative designed to empower the next generation of problem solvers, advocates, and stewards of the planet.
The annual challenge calls for young people aged 13-18 to come up with a creative solution and create a one-minute video addressing our planet’s environmental problems. Topics include cleaning our air, restoring our ocean, protecting nature, building a waste-free world, and addressing climate change.
During its inaugural year, thousands of young voices answered the call and we received more than 1,800 submissions from nearly 3,000 youth across 80 countries in the challenge. We were thrilled to receive an overwhelming response from youth around the world who are passionate about making a positive impact on our planet and we’re deeply impressed by the passion, creativity, and ingenuity of all the submissions we received.
After reviewing all the submissions, we announced 15 submissions as awardees and conducted a popular vote for the People’s Choice Award. A panel of experts that included National Geographic Explorers selected five5 submissions from across the globe (US, Nigeria, Mexico, and Pakistan) to receive $10,000 in funding. The five award recipients along with the People’s Choice Award were announced in May during a virtual awards ceremony.
Award Recipients attend Explorers Festival
After the awards were announced, recipients were invited to the “Explorers Festival” at National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Attending the Explorers Festival became an unforgettable experience in the lives of the award recipients who were able to attend. The festival not only brought them into the exuberant world of the National Geographic community but also ignited a fire of excitement and inspiration that promises to shape their futures in positive ways.
They had the opportunity to be recognized by our CEO Jill Tiefenthaler at the Explorers symposium and attend a panel with Young Explorers.
In addition, they learned how to present and strengthen their solution ideas with National Geographic staff, showcase their work and video submissions on display at the Explorer Takeover Exhibit Hall, and enjoyed the sights and sounds of Washington D.C. with staff, friends, and family.
The inaugural year of the Slingshot Challenge has shown that the youth of today are not merely inheritors of the Earth; they are its custodians and its champions. With their ideas, passion, and determination, they are poised to rewrite the narrative of our planet’s future and steer us toward a more sustainable, equitable, and flourishing world.
Get Ready for the 2024 Slingshot Challenge
With the Slingshot Challenge, we can see firsthand the power of youth and their ability to make a positive impact on the planet with their innovative ideas. In a world with environmental challenges, the role of educators in shaping future generations has become more critical than ever. Educators play a pivotal role in nurturing their creative spirit. By guiding students through the Slingshot Challenge, educators provide them with the tools and support needed to transform their ideas into impactful solutions.
The challenge is open to youth globally no matter their level of changemaking experience or video editing skills. No experience is required to participate in the Slingshot Challenge as the challenge is an educational experience and these skills can be learned along the way with support from the various challenge resources offered.
We can’t help but feel a surge of excitement for the possibilities that lie ahead and are thrilled to open the 2024 Slingshot Challenge on September 20, 2023.
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