Scout Emblem History


As Scouts around the world prepare to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of Scouting in 1997 and 1998, questions are being asked about the origins of the Scout emblem.

The basic design of the emblem is used by Scouts in all of the 217 Scouting countries and territories. The Scout emblem is one of the more widely recognized symblos in the world, because it has been worn by an estimated 200 million former Scouts (estimated figure in 1982), and is used by over 25 million present Scouts. (Figures as of December 1996.)

As Lord Baden-Powell wrote, "Our badge we took from the 'North Point' used on maps for orienting them with north." Lady Baden-Powell said later, "It shows the true way to go." So the emblem helps remind a Scout that he is to be as true and reliable as a compass in keeping to his Scouting ideals and in showing the way to others.

In Scouting, the three tips of the emblem represent the three main points of the Scout Oath or Scout Promise. The two five-pointed stars represent the original 10 points of the Law (and in some countries they also stand for truth and knowledge).

The World Scout Emblem utilizes the arrowhead surrounded by a rope in a circle, tied with a reef or square knot to symbolize the unity and World Brotherhood throughout the Scout Movement. "Even as one cannot undo a reef knot, no matter how hard one pulls on it, so as it expands, the Movement remains united."

The arrowhead and rope are white, on a background of royal purple, the colours chosen by the Founder. In heraldry, "purity" is the virtue most frequently symbolized by white, while the royal purple denotes leadership and helping other people.