I promise that I will do my best
To be true to myself and develop my beliefs
To serve the Queen and my community
To help other people
To keep the Guide law
Strictly speaking, this is nothing to do with me. I’m obviously not a member of girlguiding! However, the Scout Association is going through a consultation about amendment to the Scout Promise, and I greatly fear we might be heading in the same direction. It seems to me that this new promise owes more to the individualism and sentimentality of the Disney channel than it does the vision of the Baden Powells. “To develop my beliefs”? “To be true to myself”? What does that mean?
The wording of the scout promise
On my honour, I promise that I will do my best
to my duty to God and to the Queen
to help other people,
and to keep the Scout Law
may be open to a range of interpretations, but it at least has the merit of directing the scout away from themselves and towards others. That’s the essence of scouting. The promise of duty to God is not an affirmation of any particular religion. Almost from its inception, scouting was an internationalist, inclusive movement. Girlguiding’s new promise does nothing to extend that inclusivity — quite the reverse. By making the individual guide the centre of her promise, the Guides have given in to the nonsense of ‘it’s all about me’. I hope and pray that UK scouting won’t follow suit.