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The Scout Law

The Scout Law

A Scout is:
Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful,
Friendly, Courteous, Kind,
Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty,
Brave, Clean, Reverent.

History of the Scout Law

The Scout Law used by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is based on the original Scout Law developed by Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement. The Scout Law was first published in Scouting for Boys in 1908, and it quickly became a fundamental part of Scouting around the world.

The original Scout Law was:

  1. A Scout’s honor is to be trusted.
  2. A Scout is loyal.
  3. A Scout’s duty is to be useful and to help others.
  4. A Scout is a friend to all, and a brother to every other Scout.
  5. A Scout is courteous.
  6. A Scout is a friend to animals.
  7. A Scout obeys orders.
  8. A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties.
  9. A Scout is thrifty.

Lord Baden-Powell added “clean” to the Scout Law in 1911. The wording for the original Scout Law published in Scouting for Boys in 1911 was:

  1. A Scout’s honor is to be trusted.
  2. A Scout is loyal.
  3. A Scout’s duty is to be useful and to help others.
  4. A Scout is a friend to all and a brother to every other Scout.
  5. A Scout is courteous.
  6. A Scout is a friend to animals.
  7. A Scout obeys orders.
  8. A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties.
  9. A Scout is thrifty.
  10. A Scout is clean in thought, word, and deed.

The addition of “clean” was intended to encourage Scouts to keep themselves and their surroundings clean and hygienic.

Lord Baden-Powell considered the Scout Law to be one of the most important aspects of the Scouting program. He believed that it was a guide for Scouts to follow in their daily lives and that it was essential for building character and instilling moral values.

In Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell wrote, “The Scout Law is not a rigid code of ethics to which a boy must submit; it is a simple, easy-to-remember, inspiring statement of some of the basic principles which a Scout should practice in his daily life.”

Baden-Powell also stressed the importance of living by the Scout Law, not just reciting it. He believed that by incorporating the values into their daily lives, Scouts would develop strong character, become responsible citizens, and make a positive impact on their communities.

In his writings and speeches, Baden-Powell emphasized that the Scout Law was not just a set of rules, but a way of life. He encouraged Scouts to strive to embody the principles of the Scout Law in all of their actions and interactions with others.

The BSA Scout Law

Over time, various Scouting organizations around the world adapted and expanded the Scout Law to suit their specific needs and cultures.

In the United States, the BSA was founded in 1910, and the Scout Law was adopted soon after. The BSA’s version was originally based on the British Scout Law, but it was eventually modified to better reflect American values and ideals.

Today, the BSA’s version has twelve points: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. Each point of the Scout Law is intended to guide Scouts in their daily lives and help them become better individuals and responsible members of society.

The Scout Law remains a core part of the Scouting program in the United States, and it continues to inspire generations of Scouts to live by its principles and make a positive impact on the world.

Scout Law Social Media Graphic

The Scout Law

Related Resources

What Happened to the Cub Scout Promise and the Law of the Pack?

The BSA announced in 2012 that the Scout Oath and the Law would be used for Cub Scouts and Venturing, replacing the Cub Scout Promise and the Law of the Pack, as well as the Venturing Oath and Venturing Code which were previously used only in the Boy Scout (Scouts BSA) program.

Regarding the change, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, the consistency is beneficial, and familiarity with the Scout Law helps with the transition to Scouts BSA. However, I have an attachment to the Venturing Oath and Code, as they resonate with teens in their wording. The idea of seeking is relevant to teens who are trying to understand their place in the world, and the phrase “our changing world” in the Venturing Code acknowledges that they are leaving childhood behind and facing the challenges of adulthood with courage.

While I have moved on to the One Oath and Law with the rest of BSA, I still miss the Venturing Oath and Code, which I found to be very appropriate for the Venturing program. For historical purposes, here are the versions that were previously used with Cub Scouts and Venturing.

My Thoughts on One Scout Oath and Scout Law

Regarding the change, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, the consistency is beneficial, and familiarity with the Scout Law helps with the transition to Scouts BSA. However, I have an attachment to the Venturing Oath and Code, as they resonate with teens in their wording. The idea of seeking is relevant to teens who are trying to understand their place in the world, and the phrase “our changing world” in the Venturing Code acknowledges that they are leaving childhood behind and facing the challenges of adulthood with courage.

While I have moved on to the One Oath and Law with the rest of BSA, I still miss the Venturing Oath and Code, which I found to be very appropriate for the Venturing program. For historical purposes, here are the versions that were previously used with Cub Scouts and Venturing.

The Cub Scout Promise

I promise to do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to help other people, and to obey the Law of the Pack.

The Law of the Pack

The Cub Scout follows Akela.
The Cub Scout helps the pack go.
The pack helps the Cub Scout grow.
The Cub Scout gives goodwill.

The Venturing Oath

As a Venturer, I promise to do my duty to God and help strengthen America, to help others, and to seek truth, fairness, and adventure in our world.

The Venturing Code

As a Venturer, I believe that America’s strength lies in our trust in God and in the courage, strength, and traditions of our people.
I will, therefore, be faithful in my religious duties and will maintain a personal sense of honor in my own life.
I will treasure my American heritage and will do all I can to preserve and enrich it.
I will recognize the dignity and worth of all humanity and will use fair play and goodwill in my daily life.
I will acquire the Venturing attitude that seeks truth in all things and adventure on the frontiers of our changing world.

scout law game

Scout Law Game

This game provides a fun and interactive way for Scouts to learn and internalize the twelve points of the Law. By engaging in a puzzle-like activity, Scouts are encouraged to think critically and problem-solve, while also reinforcing the values of the Scout Law such as being trustworthy, helpful, and obedient.

Additionally, the game can be modified to increase the level of challenge and incorporate teamwork, which helps Scouts learn to be brave and friendly, and work together towards a common goal. Overall, the game is a creative and engaging way for Scouts to learn and practice the values of the Scout Law, which can help guide them in their daily lives and make them better individuals and citizens.

How the Scout Law compares to the Ten Commandments

Ad Altare Dei religious emblem program for Scouts provides an opportunity for Scouts to reflect on the Scout Law and how it relates to the Ten Commandments. By comparing the two, Scouts are able to better understand the values of both Scouting and their religious faith. Through lively discussions and debates, Scouts are encouraged to think deeply about the connections between the Law and the Ten Commandments, and to consider how these values can guide them in their daily lives.

This activity helps Scouts to develop their character and instill moral values such as being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, and reverent. Ultimately, by relating the Law to the Ten Commandments, Scouts are able to better understand how to live a life of integrity, kindness, and service to others. Read more.

Scout Law Prayer

This prayer is a beautiful expression of how the Scout Law can guide us in our daily lives. Through this prayer, we are reminded of the importance of being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. By calling on God to help us live out these values, we are acknowledging that we cannot do it alone and that we need guidance and support.

This prayer encourages us to be the best versions of ourselves, even in a world that often lacks good examples. By striving to live by the Scout Law, we can make a positive impact on the world around us and be true to the ideals of Scouting.

Scout Law Word Search Puzzle

The Scout Law word search puzzle is a fun and engaging way for Scouts of all ages to learn and reinforce the values of the Scout Law. By completing the puzzle, Scouts are challenged to find each of the twelve points of the Law and think about their meaning. This activity encourages Scouts to be attentive, patient, and persistent, which are important qualities for living out the values of the Scout Law.

This helps Scouts become better individuals and responsible citizens who are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

Comments

One response to “The Scout Law”

  1. Curtis Avatar
    Curtis

    Thank you. All of that was far in the past and I was curious to see what the words were.

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