World Scout Emblem

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World Scout Emblem
World Scout Emblem 1955.svg
Owner World Organization of the Scout Movement
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The World Scout Emblem is the emblem of the World Organization of the Scout Movement and is worn by Scouts and Scouters around the world to indicate their membership. Each national Scout organization determines the manner in which the emblem is worn.


Origins of the design

1920-1939 version of the emblem, used by Lord Baden-Powell World Scout Emblem 1920-1939.svg
1920-1939 version of the emblem, used by Lord Baden-Powell

Lord Baden-Powell began awarding a brass badge in the shape of the fleur-de-lis arrowhead to army scouts whom he had trained while serving in India in 1897. He later issued a copper fleur-de-lis badge to all participants of the experimental camp on Brownsea Island in 1907. [1]

Baden-Powell included a design for the Scout's badge in his work, Scouting for Boys , which was a simple fleur-de-lis with the motto "Be Prepared" on a scroll below it. He reasoned that the fleur-de-lis was commonly used as the symbol for north on maps, and a Boy Scout was to show the way in doing his duty and helping others. [2]

The plumes of the fleur-de-lis became symbols for Service to Others, Duty to God, and Obedience to the Scout Law. These three principles form the Scout Promise which is made by new Scouts as they join the movement. The fleur-de-lis was modified shortly after, to include the two five-pointed stars, which symbolize knowledge and truth. A "bond" was also added tying the three plumes together to symbolize the family of Scouting. [3]

1939-1955 version of the emblem, used by the World Scout Committee World Scout Emblem 1939-1955.svg
1939-1955 version of the emblem, used by the World Scout Committee

J. S. Wilson introduced an international Scout badge in 1939-a silver fleur-de-lis on a purple background surrounded by the names of the five continents in silver within a circular frame. The wearing of it was not universal, but was confined to past and present members of the International Committee and staff of the Bureau. A flag of similar design followed, the flying of which was restricted to international Scout gatherings.

The current emblem design was introduced at the 8th World Scout Jamboree in 1955 by former Boy Scouts of Greece National Commissioner Demetrios Alexatos. [4] The final design which is now worn on the uniforms of Scouts around the world includes a rope which encircles the fleur-de-lis and is tied in a reef knot at the bottom of the badge. The rope is there to symbolize the family of the World Scout Movement and the knot symbolizes the strength of the unity of the World Scout Movement. The colors chosen have heraldic significance, with the white of the arrowhead and rope representing purity, and the royal purple denoting leadership and service. [3]

The use of the fleur-de-lis has led to some controversy, with critics citing its military symbolism. However, Robert Baden-Powell himself denied this link, writing and speaking about the various other meanings of the symbol. [1] [5]

Organization usage

Several of the national Scout organizations use the emblem in various ways.

The Scout Association

The Scout Association refers to the emblem as the World Membership Badge. [3] It is used as the joining award for each section—Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorer Scouts and Scout Network—with requirements intended to help the Scout understand their commitment to Scouting. [6] [7] [8] [9]

Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) refers to the emblem as the World Crest; it may be worn on the uniform as an emblem of worldwide Scouting. The BSA first used the badge as an award for Scouts and Scouters who participated in an international Scouting event from early 1956 through 1991; requirements were devised by each council. In 1991, the BSA made it part of the uniform for all Scouts and the International Activity Patch replaced the World Scout Crest as an award. [5]

Scouts South Africa

Scouts South Africa uses this badge when new members join, either as a Cub, a Scout or an Adult Leader. The badge is worn on the left front pocket of the uniform, over the heart. The five-pointed stars of the fleur-de-lis are often explained to be symbolic of the ten points of the Scout Promise.[ citation needed ]

Related Research Articles

Scouting World-wide movement for the education of youth

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.

Scout (Scouting) member of scout movement

A Scout is a child, usually 10–18 years of age, participating in the worldwide Scouting movement. Because of the large age and development span, many Scouting associations have split this age group into a junior and a senior section. Scouts are organized into troops averaging 20–30 Scouts under the guidance of one or more Scout Leaders. Troops subdivide into patrols of about 6–8 Scouts and engage in outdoor and special interest activities. Troops may affiliate with local, national, and international organizations. Some national Scouting associations have special interest programs such as Air Scouts, Sea Scouts, outdoor high adventure, Scouting bands, and rider Scouts.

<i>Fleur-de-lis</i> Stylized lily, heraldic symbol

The fleur-de-lis, also spelled fleur-de-lys is an Iris versicolor or "Harlequin Blue Flag" endemic to the wet lands of the eastern coast of the United States and Canada. Some historians believe that Jacques Cartier brought it back from his first voyage to the "Nouvelle-France", and it strongly resembled the flowers growing on the shores of the Lys River which had become the inspiration of European monarchs. It became the official flower on the coats of arms of the Chateau of St-Lys in Occitania - Languedoc south-western region of France bordering Andorra and Spain's Catalonia. This spectacular combination of the highly valued purple— associated with high royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition, wisdom, dignity, grandeur, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, independence, and magic…— with the amazing yellow-gold centre made it a favoured floral emblem widely used as a decorative design or motif for royalty and cities throughout France and Spain.

World Organization of the Scout Movement international Scouting organization

The World Organization of the Scout Movement is the largest international Scouting organization. WOSM has 171 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).

Baden-Powell Scouts Association

The Baden-Powell Scouts' Association (B-PSA) is a worldwide youth organisation originating in the United Kingdom, with friendly relationships with similar traditional scouting organisations in various countries. Baden-Powell Scouting focuses on the importance of tradition in the scout movement.

Cub Scout Scouting program for young people

Cub Scouts, Cubs or Wolf Cubs are programs associated with Scouting for young children usually between 5 and 12, depending on the national organization to which they belong. A participant in the program is called a Cub. A group of Cubs is called a 'Pack'.

Cub Scouting (Boy Scouts of America) Coed program of the Boy Scouts of America for kids in grades K-5

Cub Scouting is part of the Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), available to boys and girls from kindergarten through fifth grade, or 5 to 10 years of age and their families. Its membership is the largest of the five main BSA divisions. Cub Scouting is part of the worldwide Scouting movement and aims to promote character development, citizenship training, personal fitness, and leadership.

Scout sign and salute the salute of the World Scouting Movement

The three-finger salute is used by members of Scout and Guide organizations around the world when greeting other Scouts and in respect of a national flag at ceremonies. In most situations, the salute is made with the right hand, palm face out, the thumb holding down the little finger, and with the fingertips on the brow of the head. There are some variations of the salute between national Scouting organizations and also within some programme sections.

The uniform and insignia of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) gives a Scout visibility and creates a level of identity within both the unit and the community. The uniform is used to promote equality while showing individual achievement. While all uniforms are similar in basic design, they do vary in color and detail to identify the different membership divisions of Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA and Venturing. Many people collect BSA insignia such as camporee and jamboree emblems, council shoulder strips and historical badges.

Scouts BSA main coed program of the Boy Scouts of America for ages 11 to 17

Scouts BSA is the flagship membership level of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 17. It provides youth training in character, citizenship, and mental and personal fitness. Scouts are expected to develop personal religious values, learn the principles of American heritage and government, and acquire skills to become successful adults.

Pathfinder Scouts Association

The Pathfinder and Rover Explorer Scouts' Association (P-RESA) is an independent Traditional Scouting Association in the United Kingdom and Internationally. The Association program runs along the lines of Baden-Powell's original Scouting for Boys, upholding the traditions and practices set out by B-P, using the 1938 Boy Scouts' Association Policy Organisation & Rules (POR) as its basis.

History of the Boy Scouts of America Wikimedia history article

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was inspired by and modeled on the Boy Scout Association, established by Baden-Powell in Britain in 1908. In the early 1900s, several youth organizations were active, and many became part of the BSA.

Cub Scouts (The Scout Association) age-based section of The Scout Association in the UK

Cub Scouts or Cubs are an age-based section of The Scout Association for young boys and girls ages 8 to 10½. This section follows on from the Beaver Scouts and Cubs will move on to Scouts at the age of 10½. The section originally opened as Wolf Cubs in 1916.

Religion in Scouting

Religion in Scouting and Guiding is an aspect of the Scout method that has been practiced differently and given different interpretations over the years.

Ranks in the Boy Scouts of America

The advancement program for Scouts participating in the Scouts BSA is symbolized by the earning of seven ranks. The advancement program is often considered to be divided into two phases. The first phase from joining to First Class is designed to teach the scout Scoutcraft skills, how to participate in a group and to learn self-reliance. The Scout badge is awarded when the Scout demonstrates a rudimentary knowledge of the Scouting ideals and program. Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class have progressively harder requirements in the areas of Scoutcraft, physical fitness, citizenship, personal growth and Scout Spirit.

Fleur-de-lis in Scouting

The fleur-de-lis is the main element in the logo of most Scouting organizations, representing a major theme in Scouting: the outdoors and wilderness. The three petals or leaves represent the threefold Scout Promise in much the same way as the three leaves of the trefoil represent the threefold promise for the Guides. Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement, explained that the Scouts adopted the fleur-de-lis symbol from its use in the compass rose because it "points in the right direction turning neither to the right nor left, since these lead backward again." The two small five-point stars stand for truth and knowledge. Together their ten points represent the ten original Scout laws. The reef knot or square knot represents the strength of World Scouting. The rope is for the unity of Scouts throughout the world. The ring holding the petals together represents the bond of brotherhood.

The advancement program for the Scout Association of Japan is symbolized by the earning of several rank badges.

Scouting Cross

Krzyż harcerski is the emblem of Polish Scouting, awarded to Polish Scouts, Senior Scouts and Rangers. It was first used by an underground Scouting organization in Warsaw in 1913. The initial design by Kazimierz Lutosławski has not been modified substantially since then. It is worn on a Scout uniform, over the heart, two fingers above the left pocket.

Baden-Powells Scout training scheme

Baden-Powell's Scout training scheme was a progressive series of tests for Boy Scouts, in skills which the founder of the Scout Movement believed would be useful in building character and good citizenship.

The emblem of the International Spirit Award is worn as a temporary patch by both youth and adult leaders in the Boy Scouts of America. The award recognizes those who have broadened their knowledge of international Scouting and increased their appreciation and awareness of different cultures and countries. This award replaces the International Activity Patch (1991-2012).


  1. 1 2 Walker, "Johnny" (2006). "The Fleur-de-lis and the Swastika". Scout Milestones. Archived from the original on 2011-06-14. Retrieved 2007-02-21.
  2. Baden-Powell, Robert (1908). Scouting for Boys. Oxford University Press. p. 34.
  3. 1 2 3 "The World Membership Badge" (PDF). The Scout Association. Retrieved 2019-11-30.
  4. John S. Wilson (1959), Scouting Round the World. First edition, Blandford Press. p. 268
  5. 1 2 Walton, Mike (1999). "The World Crest Badge...(and why do we *all* wear it?)" . Retrieved 2006-12-21.
  6. "Beaver Scout Badges: The Beaver Scout Membership Award". The Scout Association. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  7. "Cub Scout Badges: The Cub Scout Membership Award". The Scout Association. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  8. "Scout Badges: The Scout Membership Award". The Scout Association. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  9. "Explorer Scout Badges: The Explorer Scout Membership Award". The Scout Association. Retrieved 2019-12-01.