World Scout Emblem

World Scout Emblem

Infobox WorldScouting
type = emblem
name = World Scout Emblem

f-date = 1955
owner = World Organization of the Scout Movement
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 is which the emblem is worn.

Origins of the design

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.

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.cite book |author=Baden-Powell, Robert| year=1908 |page=34 |title=Scouting for Boys |publisher=Oxford University Press]

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.cite web | title= The World Membership Badge | publisher = The Scout Association | url = | accessdate=2007-02-21]

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. 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 denoting leadership and service.

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.cite web | author= Walton, Mike | year= 1999| title=The World Crest Badge...(and why do we *all* wear it?) | url= | accessdate=2006-12-21] cite web | author= Walker, "Johnny" | year= 2006 | title= The Fleur-de-lis and the Swastika | work= Scout Milestones | url= | accessdate=2007-02-21]

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. It is used as the Beaver Scout Membership Award, the Scout Membership Award and the Explorer Scout Membership Award with requirements intended to help the Scout understand their commitment to Scouting. [cite web |url= |title=Beaver Scout Badges: The Beaver Scout Membership Award |accessdate=2007-12-20 |publisher=The Scout Association ] [cite web |url= |title=Scout Badges: The Scout Membership Award |accessdate=2007-12-20 |publisher=The Scout Association ] [cite web |url= |title=Explorer Scout Badges: The Explorer Scout Membership Award |accessdate=2007-12-20 |publisher=The Scout Association ]

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 world-wide 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.


*"Scouting Round the World", John S. Wilson, first edition, Blandford Press 1959, page 210.

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