Scout Etiquette

Scout Sign

The Scout sign shows you are a Scout. Give it each time you recite the Scout Oath and Law. When a Scout or Scouter raises the Scout sign, all Scouts should make the sign, too, and come to silent attention.

To give the Scout sign, cover the nail of the little finger of your right hand with your right thumb, then raise your right arm, bent in a 90-degree angle, and hold the three middle fingers of your hand upward. Those fingers stand for the three parts of the Scout Oath. Your thumb and little finger touch to represent the bond that unites Scouts throughout the world.

Salute

The Scout salute shows respect. Use it to salute the flag of the United States of America. You may also salute a Scout leader or another Scout.

Give the Scout salute by forming the Scout sign with your right hand and then bringing that hand upward until your forefinger touches the brim of your hat or the arch of your right eyebrow. The palm of your hand should not show.

Our Scout salute and handshake are ancient signs of bravery and respect. During the colonial period of our country, many men carried weapons for protection. Sometimes when they met one another, there was an uneasy moment as each man watched the others right hand. If it went to his sword or his gun, there might be a fight. but if it went to his hat, it was a salute of friendship and respect.

Handshake

Our Scout salute and handshake are ancient signs of bravery and respect. During the colonial period of our country, many men carried weapons for protection.

Sometimes when they met one another, there was an uneasy moment as each man watched the others right hand. If it went to his sword or his gun, there might be a fight. but if it went to his hat, it was a salute of friendship and respect.

The left handshake comes to us from the Ashanti warriors whom Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, knew almost 100 years ago in West Africa. He saluted them with his right hand, but the Ashanti chiefs offered their left hands and said, "In our land only the bravest of the brave shake hands with the left hand, because to do so we must drop our shields and our protection."

The Ashantis knew of Baden-Powell's bravery because they had fought against him and with him, and they were proud to offer the left hand of bravery.

When you use the Scout salute and handshake, remember that they are signs of respect and courage.

The left hand is also closer to the heart...

Attention

Sign of Reverence