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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

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Making your Scout Promise

Making your promise – whether you're a young member or volunteer – is a very special moment in your Scouts journey.

The Promise is a simple way to help young people and adults celebrate their shared Scout values. Every Scout promises to stick by these values when they become a member.

We encourage everyone to think about how they want to celebrate their commitment, and all members get a badge to remember making their promise.

What’s a Promise ceremony or Investiture?

It’s important that everyone has the chance to think about their Promise and understand what it means, before they make it. You make your Promise for the first time during a special ceremony we call an Investiture, and your Promise can be renewed at any time.

An Investiture or Promise ceremony is a special celebration where someone is welcomed to Scouts, makes their Scout Promise, receives their Scout scarf. Making your Promise means you become a member of your Scout section, as well as the worldwide Scout family. 

Investitures are important and special ceremonies, but this doesn’t mean they have to be strict or scary!

There’s no single way to run an Investiture. As long as your ceremony covers the main components, which are the welcome, making the Promise, and presenting the Scout scarf, it’s up to you where you do it, what you say, and what else you do.

Planning to make your Promise

Scouts can choose to make their Promise whenever they are ready.

This may be longer for some people than others and that’s OK. 

Usually, most Scouts make their Promise at the end or just after their first term in Scouts, such as after 6 to 8 weeks. This helps to make sure people feel more settled and confident around their new friends.

When you invite someone to make or renew their Promise, just ask them to do it ‘in their own words’.

It’s especially important to remember this when lots of people are saying their Promise together, for example, at an event.

The different versions of the Promise can be said together at the same time.

It’s up to the person making the Promise which version they say. They should be able to look at all of the options and consider their choice carefully.

Depending on the age of the young person, they may want to chat to their parents or carers as they make their decision.

You might want to ask young people what they’d like their Scout Investiture to look like, where it should take place and when.

They could also plan a Promise party with anyone taking part and making their Promise helping to plan a different part of it.

Before the Investiture begins, make sure that any scarves are rolled, certificates are filled in, and badges are ready to go.

Certificates, badges and Scout scarves can be ordered from Scout Store.

Certificates can also be downloaded or ordered from the Scout Brand Centre

You may want to put them in presentation bags or envelopes to keep them safe and make them easier to take home. You could also write a card to welcome people.

Make sure the Scout has had time to think about their Promise – and check in with how they’re feeling, too.

If anyone’s feeling nervous, it might help to run through what to expect one more time or have a practice to show people what to do.

You may want to create a visual reference to show people what will happen or give them plenty of notice of how it may be different to a normal meeting.

You can make reasonable adjustments to the Scout Promise and Investiture, so everyone can feel involved and included in a way that’s comfortable for them. For example, some people may prefer to:

  • make their Promise quietly by themselves with a volunteer to one side during a normal meeting, always following the Yellow Card.
  • keep it as a close to your normal meeting schedule as possible
  • say the Promise repeated back one line at a time, with a volunteer saying the lines they need to repeat first.
  • make their Promise in Makaton or British Sign Language.
  • make their Promise as a group or with a friend, rather than saying it by themselves.
  • have a practice or a visual resource to help them know what to do or say.
  • make their Promise with the whole group saying it along with them.
  • say their Promise without their parents or carers watching.

Find out more about making reasonable adjustments in Scouts.

You may want to invite parents, carers and others, such as District Volunteers, to the Promise ceremony or Investiture.

Remember to give people plenty of notice and welcome them into the meeting.

Making a Scout Promise is a brilliant memory for all involved. Your Scout Group or those attending, such as parents and carers, may want to take photographs or videos of any Scouts making their Promise.

Adult volunteers may want to take photos or videos to later share with parents and carers, so they can watch or enjoy the moment on the day. 

You could set up a Promise making area in the meeting space to make sure only the individual making the Promise can be photographed or videoed, as allowed. Always make sure to check who can be seen in the background of any photos or videos, too.

Take a look at our photography, audio and video guidelines to keep everyone safe. Always follow GDPRand data retention policies.

Some people provide food and drinks for the Promise ceremony, such as a special cake.

Always check for allergies, eating problems or dietary requirements, then adjust the food and drink items or recipes as needed. This may include make sure there’s no cross-contamination during food storage, preparation and serving.

Check if there are any items of food (or packaging) that people can’t touch or be near to, or if there are items that people might not be comfortable using in the activity.  

If someone has severe allergies, such as nuts, you may need to take extra measures, such as letting other people know not to bring that item or have additional signage.

A young person is wearing a necker while an adult ties it for them

Ideas for Promise ceremonies and Investitures

What an Investiture looks and feels like is up to you. Some people have old traditions that have been handed down, and others enjoy inventing new traditions with their Section. 

There isn’t one way to get it right, as long as you include the main features, which are The Welcome, Scout Promise, and presenting the Scout Scarf. 

A Promise ceremony or Investiture is a great chance for everyone in your Group to create something special and meaningful together.

Some ideas for where you can make your Promise include:

  • At your meeting place, during a special meeting or celebration
  • During a campfire
  • At a sleepover or camp
  • At a jamboree event
  • During an adventurous activity, such as on a kayak or at the top of a climbing wall

What to include when making your Promise

There are lots of different ways to welcome a new Scout to your section.

You might use a song, a rhyme, or a prop, such as a flag or a cuddly toy.

A friend or another Scout who’s already been invested might help welcome them, for example by introducing them to a volunteer or to other Scouts.

Some people salute the rest of the section, high five, or shake hands.

You might make a tunnel with people forming an archway with their arms for those making their Promise to walk under.

It’s all up to you – why not ask the Scout what they think?

Another important part of the Investiture is the Scout making their Promise.

It doesn’t matter which variation they choose, and how people make their Promise can look different, too.

Some people might say it line by line with a friend (or volunteer), others might sign, or say it on their own.

Scouts should be given their Scout scarf during their Investiture. When moving to a new section in a Group, some people give up their scarf at the start of the meeting to have it presented again later – you don’t have to do this, but you can if you want to.

People may also receive a certificate, Promise card and badges. They should receive the Membership Award, local area badges, Group name tape, and any Section name tape, if you have one.

If they’ve moved up from a previous section, these badges will be taken from their previous uniform. If they haven’t already got it, this is also a great time to give them their Moving On Award.

A group of Cubs making their Promise together in a field and smiling
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