Origin of the World Scouting Symbol
Scouting's early years, critics accused Baden-Powell of trying
to turn boys into soldiers, holding up as evidence the Scout
symbol, which they called "a spear-head, the emblem of battle
and bloodshed". The Founder quickly replied, The crest is the
"Fleur-de-Lis", a lily, the emblem of peace and purity.
truth, he had chosen as Scouting's emblem the sign for the North
Point, universally shown on maps, charts and compass cards,
because "it points in the right direction (and upwards), turning
neither to the right nor left, since these lead backward
again..." Lady Baden-Powell added later, "It shows the true way
Baden-Powell explained the origins of this sign. In the Middle
Ages, mariner Flavio Gioja designed it to make the seaman's
compass more reliable. In Italian, North was "Tramontana". Gioja
used a capital "T" to mark it, and in deference to King Charles
of Naples, whose crest was the Fleur-de-Lis, combined the letter
with that emblem.
explain the meaning of the Scout emblem, Baden-Powell said, "The
two stars on the two side arms stand for the two eyes of the
Wolf Cub having been opened before he became a Scout... The
three points of the Fleur-de-Lis remind the Scout of the three
points of the Scout's Promise..."
the World Scout emblem, the Fleur-de-Lis is surrounded by a
circle of rope tied with a reef knot to symbolize the strength
and unity of the world brotherhood of Scouting: "Even as one
cannot undo a reef knot, no matter how hard one pulls on it, so
as it expands, the movement remains united."
three tips of the Fleur-de-Lis represent the three main parts of
the Scout promise: duty to God, obedience to the Scout Law, and
service to others. The two five-point stars stand for truth and
knowledge, and the 10 points on the stars remind us of the 10
points of the Scout law. The ring holding the emblem together
represents the bond of brotherhood.
symbol is white on a royal purple background, colors
Baden-Powell chose because, in heraldry, white stands for purity
and purple for leadership and helping others.
Since Scouting began, over 200 million Scouts have worn the
Scout symbol, making it one of the more highly recognized
emblems in the world. Today, over 150 World Scouting countries
and territories, more than 16 million members continue to wear
it with pride.