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Changes following the revised Fundamentals of Scouting

Following an extensive 10-month consultation process within and outside the Movement, The Scout Association has taken the decision to introduce an additional alternative version of the Scout Promise that can be taken by people with no affirmed faith and humanists from 1 January 2014.

View a summary of the key findings from the consultation [PDF]

Alternative versions of the Scout Promise have been available for nearly 50 years and have been used by Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and those who live in the UK but are not UK citizens. This new additional alternative Promise will now add to the suite of alternative versions to ensure we are inclusive to adults who are humanist or have no affirmed faith who wish to volunteer for Scouting, and young people who are humanist or with no affirmed faith who wish to join Scouting.

The existing core Scout Promise remains in place and The Scout Association remains fully committed as a Movement that explores faith, beliefs and attitudes as a core element of its programme.

The existing Scout Promise:
On my honour, I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God and to the Queen,
To help other people
And to keep the Scout Law.

New alternative wording of the Promise:
On my honour, I promise that I will do my best
To uphold our Scout values, to do my duty to the Queen,
To help other people
And to keep the Scout Law.

For Cub Scout section (ages 8 to 10½):
I promise that I will do my best
To uphold our Scout values, to do my duty to the Queen,
To help other people
And to keep the Cub Scout Law.

For Beaver Scout section (ages 6 to 8):
I promise to do my best
To be kind and helpful and to love our world.

All alternative wordings of the Promise can be viewed here.

It is also recognised that some Branches have a variant that reflects the local head of state. This change will not affect that and the additional alternative version can be amended to reflect the local situation.

Support from faith leaders

Faith leaders warmly welcomed the change.

The Rt. Revd. Paul Butler, Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, and the Church’s lead Bishop on work with young people said:  
'I very much welcome this announcement by the Scout Movement that God stays in the Promise. I particularly welcome the opportunity we have been given to contribute to this consultation and support the outcome which ensures that a duty to God remains in the core Scout Promise.

'In enabling people of all faiths and none to affirm their beliefs through an additional alternative promise the Scout Movement has demonstrated that it is both possible, and I would argue preferable, to affirm the importance of spiritual life and not to restrict meaning to arbitrary self-definition.  As the last census demonstrated we remain a faithful nation where the majority of families and individuals find identity, affiliation and meaning in religious belief.

'For many years the rich relationship between Scouts and the Church of England has borne fruit in the lives of generations of young men and more recently young women.

'We share with the Scouting Movement the aim to enable young people to interact with others, gain confidence and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. From the thousands of volunteers from churches who work as leaders and enablers through to the hosting of groups in church premises throughout the country, I am confident that our relationship with the Scout Movement will continue to flourish.'
Bishop Richard Moth, the Roman Catholic Bishop for Scouting said:
'I welcome the decision of The Scout Association to continue using the established promise, thereby reflecting the place of faith in the lives of so many young people and leaders involved in the Scout Movement. The Association draws together people from the whole spectrum of our society – reflected in the new alternative text – but the recognition of the place of faith that is vital for so many and affirms the very foundations of Scouting that are dear to every member of the Association.'
Revd. Michael Heaney, Moderator of the Free Churches Group, adds:
'In my experience of Christian Ministry and Scout Leadership, faith is something that brings people together and enables them to be truly rounded individuals. I am delighted [TSA] will continue to put the exploration of faith and values at the heart of its programme and that it will continue to invite those who wish to, to promise to do their duty to God. The UK is enriched by people of all backgrounds and beliefs. We are all at different stages in our journey of faith and it is vital that young people are able to discover their beliefs in a safe and supportive environment. Scouting is the perfect place for them to explore these vital questions in an atmosphere of trust and friendship.'
Andrew Copson, CEO of BHA adds:
'In taking the progressive decision of welcoming non-religious young people and adults of good conscience, Scouting has shown it genuinely wishes to be a Movement open to all.'

Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled a list of FAQs that we have received during the consultation period. If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact info.centre@scouts.org.uk or call the team on 0845 300 1818 or 0208 433 7100.

The revised Fundamentals of Scouting

Since its inception Scouting has continually adapted to remain relevant to society, whilst staying rooted to the underlying principles on which it was established more than one hundred years ago.

Periodically The Scout Association looks at its Fundamentals to check that the core essence of Scouting is captured and expressed in a way that can be easily understood by and relevant to those undertaking Scouting today.

The Fundamentals explain why we do Scouting and how we do it. Our programme with young people is based on the Fundamentals and they help to guide us in our Scouting.

During the course of 2010 we held an extensive consultation exercise that asked members to share their thoughts on the Fundamentals and whether it was appropriate to make any revisions. In addition we conducted an online survey and received valuable feedback. The latest revision of the Fundamentals has been approved by the Trustees and has been used since January 2013.

The revised Fundamentals of Scouting were introduced and explained in an extended feature article published in the Oct/Nov 2012 and Dec/Jan 2013 issues of Scouting magazine.

Revised Fundamentals of Scouting

The Purpose of Scouting Scouting exists to actively engage and support young people in their personal development, empowering them to make a positive contribution to society.
The Values of Scouting As Scouts we are guided by these values:
We act with integrity; we are honest, trustworthy and loyal.

We have self-respect and respect for others.

We support others and take care of the world in which we live.

We explore our faiths, beliefs and attitudes.

We make a positive difference; we cooperate with others and make friends.
The Scout Method Scouting takes place when young people, in partnership with adults, work together based on the values of Scouting and:

  • enjoy what they are doing and have fun;
  • take part in activities indoors and outdoors;
  • learn by doing;
  • share in spiritual reflection;
  • take responsibility and make choices;
  • undertake new and challenging activities; and
  • make and live by their Promise.

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