Scout Customs and Logos

The Scout Association worldwide is based upon many traditions and customs ranging from a unique salute and handshake, to the oath taken by each and every movement. Without these customs, the Association would not have enjoyed such longevity worldwide. One of the most recognisable symbols of the Worldwide brotherhood of Scouting is the World Scout Emblem coupled with the Organisation's unique Scout Sign, Salute, Handshake, and pertinant motto. Each Scout across the world also takes an oath and the Australian version is listed here.

The Scout Emblem

World Scout Emblem

The Scout Emblem is worn by every Member of the Movement and has done so since the Organisation's inception. The original emblem originated as a symbol of the 'North Point' used on maps to assist when positioning them with north or as Lady Baden-Powell stated It shows the true way to go. The three tips of the emblem represent the three main themes contained within the Scout Promise: duty to God, duty to others, and duty to self. The two five-pointed stars represent truth and knowledge, and the ten points of the stars symbolise the ten articles of the original Scout Law.

The basic motif within the current emblem is encircled by a rope tied using a reef or squire knot, which is a knot that cannot be unravelled regardless how hard it is pulled thus symbolising the unity and brotherhood of the Movement throughout the World. The motif is now shown white on a purple background, which in heraldry, white represents purity and purple denotes responsibility and assistance to others.

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Scout Salute

The Scout Sign and Salute

Scout Sign

Expanding on the notion of the three points of the fleur-dis-les representing the three components of the Scout Promise, so does the three fingers used in the Scout Sign and Salute. The Salute is used during ceremonies, as a greeting and as a token of respect. The Scout Sign is only used when making or reaffirming the Scout Promise.

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The Scout Handshake

Scout Handshake

The left-handed Scout Handshake is the manner by which all Scouts and Guides across the world greet and recognise each other. It originated from during BP's travels throughout Africa during the War, the Ashanti warriors shook with their left hand to symbolise bravery and trust as warriors (who fought with spears#41; had to drop their shields and subsequently their protection to shake hands, thus demonstrating they trusted their comrade and respected his bravery to do the same. It is also said the left handshake represents friendship as it is made with the hand nearest the heart.

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The Scout Motto

The Scout Motto has remained the same since the inception of the Movement in 1907:

'Be Prepared'

When asked what the Movement should be prepared for BP replied,

Why, any old thing. That's just the idea. The Scout motto means that you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty and to face danger, if necessary, to help others.

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The Scout Promise and Law

Every man, woman and child involved with the Scout Association are asked to recite the Scout Promise and Law, and are trusted on their honour to uphold the values that are expressed. Trust and belief that each Member will do their best at all times form the foundation of the Movement's success over such a long period of time. There are two versions of the Scout Promise and individuals taking the Promise may choose from either of the following:

On my honour
I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to my God and
To the Queen of Australia,
To help other people, and
To live by the Scout Law


On my honour
I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to my God, and
To Australia
To help other people, and
To the live by the Scout Law

The Scout Law has changed somewhat in its wording but the underlying principles have remained constant. The Australian Law (for Members in the Scout section and above) is as follows:

A Scout is trustworthy
A Scout is loyal
A Scout is helpful
A Scout is friendly
A Scout is cheerful
A Scout is considerate
A Scout is thrifty
A Scout is courageous
A Scout is respectful
A Scout cares for the environment

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