Scout Sign and Methods of Scouting

  • Know the meaning of the Scout sign, Scout salute, and the left hand shake

  • Be able to make the Scout sign with the hand

  • Know when to use them  Know when to salute

Scout Sign

The Scout sign is made by holding your right hand at shoulder height in the position shown on the right. It is used whenever someone makes or renews their Scout Promise. The Scout sign, also known as the half-salute is used in some occasions (such as when reciting the Scout promise).The three outstretched fingers represent the three main parts of the promise and the circle between thumb and little finger represents the world-wide family of Scouting.

The Scout Sign is made with the right hand palm forward with forefinger, middle and ring finger pointed upward, the thumb folded over the little finger. The forearm forms a right angle with the upper arm which is horizontally in line with the shoulder.

Scout Salute

The Scout salute is a sign of respect and friendship. In most situations, the salute is made with the right hand, palm face out, the thumb holding down the little finger, and with the fingertips on the brow of the head. There are some variations of the salute between national Scouting organizations and also within some programme sections.

A "half-salute", known as the Scout Sign, is also used in certain situations. The hand is still held palm facing out, and the thumb holding the little finger, but the hand is held at the shoulder instead.

Originally, Baden-Powell intended for Scouts to salute each other in greeting when they first saw each other for the first time using the "secret sign", or half-salute. This was regardless of whether the Scouts knew each other or not. Officers, such as Patrol Leaders, Scoutmasters, or members of the armed forces, were to be saluted with a full-salute.

Significance of the Scout Sign/Salute

Though the Scout Sign and Salute, is used to greet and as a symbol of Scouts, It gives a universal significance.

Scout Handshake

The left handshake is a sign of bravery 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.

Prempeh, the Chief of the Ashanti Tribe was captured he came forward and held out his Left Hand but return offered his right hand. The chief Prempeh replied that in his country the bravest of the brave shakes hand with the left hand. because to do so we must drop our shields and our protection." The Ashanti’s 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. From this incident the left-hand shake was introduce in scouting as a Sing of Friendship, bravery and respect. Lady Baden also had said, Scout Leaders all over the World have agreed on the use of the LeftHand Shake. It is a warm grip, like any other sincere hand shake. The Left Hand is used because it is the Hand of Friendship, the Hand nearest to the heart. Scouts everywhere greet each other with a warm Left-Hand Shake. Using it makes one feel that he/she ‘Belongs’ and that he/she is one among millions of Scouts in various parts of the Globe dedicated to the same code of service.

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


  • Practice the above with the members of your patrol and with your Troop.

  • Practice this action song with your members of your Patrol/Troop

  • Make two circles stand face to face each other scout. Now you have a friend in front of you.

  • Start singing the song with action mentioned below.

    • Good morning my dear friend (Scout salute to the scout in front of you)

    • How are you this morning (Handshake with him with your left hand)

    • Let us dance in a circle Bind your left hands together at your elbows and dance around in a circle in anti-clockwise at the same place)

    • Say good bye and pass on (Salute again and pass on one step to your right side and meet the next friend and continue.)

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