|Scout Promise or Scout Oath|
German Scouts of the Federation Scout Europe at a 1992 Scout Promise ceremony at the St. George's mountain near the Lake Balaton in Hungary
Since the publication of Scouting for Boys in 1908, all Scouts and Girl Guides around the world have taken a Scout (or Guide) promise or oath to live up to ideals of the movement, and subscribed to a Scout Law. The wording of the Scout Promise (or Oath) and Scout Law have varied slightly over time and from country to country. Some national organization promises are given below. Although most Scouting and Guiding organizations use the word "promise", a few such as the Boy Scouts of America tend to use "oath" instead. Typically, Scouts and Guides will make the three-fingered Scout Sign when reciting the promise.
In his original book on Boy Scouting, Baden-Powell introduced the Scout Promise, as follows:
Before he becomes a scout, a boy must take the scout's oath, thus:
On my honour I promise that---
- I will do my duty to God and to king/queen.
- to help other people.
- I keep the scout law.
While taking this oath the scout will stand, holding his right hand raised level with his shoulder, palm to the front, thumb resting on the nail of the digitus minimus (little finger) and the other three fingers upright, pointing upwards:---
This is the scout's salute.
The form of the promise has varied slightly from country to country and over time, but must fulfill the requirements of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) to qualify a National Scout Organization for membership. Together with clarifying its Scout Law, the Constitution of WOSM states:
Article II, paragraph 2: "Adherence to a Promise and Law"
All members of the Scout Movement are required to adhere to a Scout Promise and Law reflecting, in language appropriate to the culture and civilization of each National Scout Organization and approved by the World Organization, the principles of Duty to God, Duty to others and Duty to self, and inspired by the Promise and Law conceived by the Founder of the Scout Movement in the following terms:
The Scout Promise
On my honour I promise that I will do my best—
To do my duty to God and the King (or to God and my Country)
To help other people at all times and
To obey the Scout Law.
In order to accommodate many different religions within Scouting, "God" may refer to a higher power, and is not specifically restricted to the God of the monotheistic religions. The WOSM Constitution explains "Duty to God" as "Adherence to spiritual principles, loyalty to the religion that expresses them and acceptance of the duties resulting therefrom."
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), which is a sister organization to WOSM, has the very same wording in their constitution (Part I, Article 2: Original Promise),and follows similar policies.
Although the Constitution of WOSM states that the Promise should include a reference to Duty to God,Scouting founder Lord Baden-Powell approved the use of promises with reference to a higher ideal, higher truth, an optional reference to God, or without a reference to God, for Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Finland. Three of these countries still offer this alternative promise (France, the Netherlands and Czech Republic). WOSM stated in 1932 that no new exceptions would be made and expressed the hope that the few remaining countries would stop using a promise without any reference to Duty to God.
The Israeli Scouts, though founded in 1919/1920, and joining WOSM in 1951 and WAGGGS in 1963, also have no "duty to God" or apparent equivalent in their promise.
In 1969, the Eclaireuses et Eclaireurs israélites de France decided to discontinue using the reference to God due to its inconsistency with religious beliefs and practices from a Jewish perspective. Use of the word God (Dieu), derived from Zeus, can be seen as an inappropriate pagan reference in Jewish texts or education.
As of July 2017,Scouts Australia provides the option to use one of two different versions of the Scout Promise, one which allows scouts to promise "To be true to my spiritual beliefs [,] To contribute to my community and our world." The other option is to promise "To do my duty to my God, and To the Queen of Australia."
Scout sections that follow traditional Scouting, such as Baden-Powell Scouts within the World Federation of Independent Scouts, use several promises including the original Scout promise above that includes the reference to God.Some, however, for example the 1st Tarrant Scout Group in Fort Worth, Texas use a blend of the original promise and the "Outlander Promise" which, "according to tradition", B-P wrote for Scouts that had to omit the reference to God or a monarch for reasons of conscience.
The Scout Movement, also known as Scouting or the Scouts, is a voluntary non-political educational movement for young people open to all without distinction of gender, origin, race or creed, in accordance with the purpose, principles and method conceived by the founder, Lord Baden Powell. The purpose of the Scout Movement is to contribute to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual potentials as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities. During the first half of the twentieth century, the movement grew to encompass three major age groups for boys and, in 1910, a new organization, Girl Guides, was created for girls. It is one of several worldwide youth organizations.
The World Organization of the Scout Movement is the largest international Scouting organization. WOSM has 170 members. These members are recognized national Scout organizations, which collectively have over 50 million participants. WOSM was established in 1922, and has its operational headquarters at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and its legal seat in Geneva, Switzerland. It is the counterpart of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).
Brownies are the section in the Girl Guides organization for girls aged seven years old to ten years old. Exact age limits are slightly different in each organization.
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts is a global association supporting the female-oriented and female-only Guiding and Scouting organizations in 150 countries. It was established in 1928 in Parád, Hungary, and has its headquarters in London, England. It is the counterpart of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). WAGGGS is organized into five regions and operates five international Guiding centers. It holds full member status in the European Youth Forum (YFJ), which operates within the Council of Europe and European Union areas and works closely with these bodies.
Junák - český skaut, is the internationally recognized organization of Scouts and Guides of the Czech Republic. Founded in 1911, Junák - český skaut is the largest organisation of children and youth in the nation, with a membership of 50,439.
The Scout movement in France consists of about 80 different associations and federations with about 180,000 Scouts and Girl Guides. Next to Germany, France is the country with the most fragmented Scout movement.
Scouting Nederland is the national Scout organisation of the Netherlands with approximately 110,000 members (53,324 male and 54,663 female, 87,000 youth members, as of 2010.
The Central African Republic is one of 29 countries where Scouting exists but where there is no National Scout Organization which is a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement at the present time. Scouting was founded in French Equatorial Africa in 1941, and was first recognized in 1969. The Fédération du scoutisme centrafricain, or FESCA, is the national federation of seven Scouting organizations. While FESCA was still recognized in 1990, there were 7,000 Scouts, and total membership at the end of 1998 was reported as being the same number.
The Scout method is the informal educational system used by Scouts in the Boy Scouts of America. The aim of Scouting is character training with the goal of helping participants become independent and helpful, and thereby become "healthy, happy, helpful citizens".
Scouts' Day or Guides' Day is a generic term for special days observed by members of the Scouting movement throughout the year. Some of these days have religious significance, while others may be a simple celebration of Scouting. Typically, it is a day when all members of Scouting will re-affirm the Scout Promise.
The Fédération Nationale des Eclaireurs et Eclaireuses du Luxembourg is one of Luxembourg's Scouting and Guiding organizations. It is a member of the federation Scouting in Luxembourg.
Éclaireuses et Éclaireurs de France is an interreligious and coeducational Scouting and Guiding association in France. The first interreligious Scouting groups in France were founded in 1911, and interreligious Guiding started in 1914; both movements merged in 1964 forming the EEdF. The association serves today about 17,000 members of both genders.
Girl Guides Australia (GGA) is the national Guiding organisation in Australia. Its mission is to empower girls and young women to grow into confident, self-respecting members of the community. Membership is open to all girls and young women from all cultures, faiths and traditions. Guiding groups formed in Australia as early as 1909, and by 1920 Girl Guide Associations had been formed in six states. In 1926 the State Associations federated and formed a national organisation which became a founding member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in 1928. It has 30,000 members including 18,000 youth members, aged 5 to 17. Over a million Australian women are or have been Guides. The Girl Guide emblem incorporates the Commonwealth Star.
Religion in Scouting and Guiding is an aspect of the Scout method that has been practiced differently and given different interpretations over the years.
Non-aligned Scouting organizations is a term used by the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and their member national organizations to refer to Scouting organizations that are not affiliated with them. See List of non-aligned Scouting organizations.
National Scouting and Guiding organisations are divided into different age groups in order to deliver the Scouting and Guiding programmes for a full range of youth.
Scouting has sometimes become entangled in social controversies such as in nationalist resistance movements in India. Scouting was introduced to Africa by British officials as an instrument of colonial authority but became a subversive challenge to the legitimacy of British imperialism as Scouting fostered solidarity amongst African Scouts. There are also controversies and challenges within the Scout Movement itself such as current efforts to turn Scouts Canada into a democratic organization.
The Éclaireuses et Éclaireurs israélites de France is a Jewish Scouting and Guiding organization in France. It was founded in 1923 and serves about 4,000 members. The EEIF is a member of the Fédération du Scoutisme Français and of the International Forum of Jewish Scouts.
Girl Guides or Girl Scouts is a movement found worldwide, which was originally and still largely designed for girls and women only. This organisation was introduced in 1909, because girls demanded to take part in the then grassroots Boy Scout Movement.