The Scout Promise or Oath is the honor code accepted by all Scouts upon joining any Scouting group worldwide, is recited at most events and meetings, and is followed by the Scout every day of his/her life. It was created by Robert Baden-Powell in the UK in his 1908 book, “Scouting for Boys.” There are some versions of this book that call it the Promise and some the Oath. It is called the Scout Promise in the UK and many other countries today. It is called The Scout Oath in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) where a 2nd part was added, giving more specific guidelines about living a life of honor. There are many versions all over the world, respecting the cultures of the various countries where different groups exist.
Scout Promise, Original 1908 Boy Scouts Association (UK) version:
On my honour I promise that---
On my honour I promise that I will do my best--
To do my duty to God and the King/Queen (or to God and my Country)
To help other people at all times and
To obey the Scout Law.
Scout Oath, current Boy Scouts of America version (since 1911):
On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.
A more modern version, which avoids specific religious or political commitment, is the current Scout Promise of
On my honour, I promise
To do my best,
To be true to my spiritual beliefs,
To contribute to my community and our world,
To help other people,
And to live by the Scout Law.
It is important that a Rover chooses the version of the Oath/Promise used by a WFIS or WOSM/WAGGGS organization resonates with him/her and then most importantly lives by it every day in thought, speech, and action. This chosen version, shared with the RSL, shall be spoken by the Squire upon Reception and the Rover/Knight upon Investiture.
Finally, here is the Interpretation of the Scout Promise for Rovers, by the Founder:
On my Honour
Your honour must be a very sacred thing to you, a thing that will rule your conduct as a man [or woman]. It means that you can be trusted implicitly to do what you know is right or what you agree to undertake.
This particular promise is a solemn undertaking, not to be made lightly even by a young person, still less so by an adult. Therefore, think it over carefully before embarking on it.
That I will do my best
This means that though circumstances may hinder you from doing it as completely as you would wish, you will, at any rate, try your utmost.
To do my duty to God
What is your duty to God? To put it briefly, it would seem to be to try in the first place to realise the nature of God, and, secondly, to develop and use, for good purposes only, the body which He has entrusted to you. To develop the talents of mind and intelligence with which He has endowed you and, especially, to cultivate by continual practice the spirit of love and good will to others, the part of Him which is within you, that is, your soul.
And to the Queen
That is, to your country, under the leadership constituted by the will of the majority.
To help other people at all times
This putting into constant and active practice the divine law of loving your neighbour as yourself.
To obey the Scout Law
To obey the Scout Law does not mean to sit down passively in a state of goodness, but to improve your own character and actively to practise Love (which underlies the Law) in all your daily doings.
Chief Rover Scout, Ken Pataky
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