What's New

New details on the rollout of using One Oath and Law in all programs

Update, Jan. 27, 2014: Sea Scouts, see how this applies to you here.

It’s been more than a year since I blogged about the switch to the Scout Oath and Scout Law in all programs, a change that primarily affects Venturing and Cub Scouting.

The resolution, passed by the National Executive Board last year, means that soon every Scout of any age will use the Scout Oath and Law instead of reciting separate, program-specific sayings. Cub Scouts will recite the Scout Oath and Law instead of the Cub Scout Promise and Law of the Pack. Similarly, Venturers will no longer use the Venturing Oath and Venturing Code.

As I said in the October 2012 post, the changes weren’t immediate. And today, I have new details about the rollout.

The rollout is timed “with the release of youth handbooks and leader aids supporting this and other changes related to Strategic Plan Goal 411.”

That means for Venturing, the change will take place in May 2014. For Cub Scouts, it’s May 2015.

Follow the jump to learn how you can get a head start on finding out about the new program changes for Venturing and Cub Scouting. 

Are you the kind of Scouter who likes to be on the leading edge of changes to the organization? Then register now for Venturing: The New Vision (one session) and Getting the 411 on the NEW Cub Scout Adventure Program (four sessions) at the Philmont Training Center in 2014. Register here.

An additional Venturing training opportunity exists at Sea Base in January. Check it out here (PDF).

More on what’s changing, what isn’t

Find more of the details you’re looking for in my October 2012 post

59 Comments on New details on the rollout of using One Oath and Law in all programs

  1. Boy Scouts are really the core of the program, so this ought to serve to anchor Venturers in to what the ideals are. One thing though, I would hope that Sea Scouts can still keep the Sea Promise, (in addition to the Scout Oath and Law) as, that really is a different program.

    • I concur. Although I wouldn’t mind updating it a tad – the part about “women and children first” always gets a chuckle from my scouts who point out “we’re women and children and we’re better boaters than a lot of adults out there!”

      • Yeah, I was just going to ask if they were changing the Sea Scout stuff too. Someone said that at one point the “Women and Children First” was removed and then put back. It does bring a chuckle.

      • Ahoy Skipper Skilles. When people “chuckle” on the last line of the Sea Scout Promise, I ask them to do the research and bring back a report on the HMS Birkenhead, a 1900 ton warship sailing around the coast of southern Africa in 1852. We have “traditions” that only become “obsolete” when people don’t understand them.

    • I continue to see mixed opinions on this. Some venturers feel quite wed to the Venturing Oath and Code, and that adults in BSA National are just pushing them around. Others have felt that a different Oath and Code was encouraging divisive behavior amoung scouts and scouters, and were yearning for a way to have a little more respect.

      My crew met the news with an overwhelming shrug. For them, this change in shibboleth is unlikely to “anchor” them to central ideals. What makes them “fit in” is when the scouts across the valley join them in a game of cards after supper.

  2. However, as for advancement in Venturing Gold Award , a Venturing must use the current law and code.

    • Venture requirements are also changing

  3. In case people were wondering about “Strategic Plan Goal 411″ and where it came from, the National Council Strategic Plan has been and is currently available at: http://digital.scouting.org/strategicplan/strategicplan.pdf and the last reported status may be found at: http://www.scouting.org/filestore/stragegicplan/pdf/Strategic_Plan_Progress_Report.pdf .

    There was a 2 minute presentation on this which was presented in 2010 when the plan was rolled out. You can see this video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01i87ESCEao

    Goal 411 came from the Objective 1, Goal 1 (page 10).

    • Thanks for this added info, Lou.

      • Thanks for the links Lou. Is it strange to anyone else that “Outdoor” is no where in our “Strategic Pillars”?

        • ScoutingManiac // November 19, 2013 at 6:37 am //

          Unfortunately, not really………..the BSA is caving to the popular idea of advancement! Advancement! Advancement and ONLY advancement!

          Plus you can’t really quantify “the outdoors”. Its all about numbers. Basically its quantity over quality instead of the better system of quality over quantity. AND yes there is a DIFFERENCE!

    • ScoutingManiac // November 19, 2013 at 6:55 am // Reply

      My question is………………For youth advocacy where the heck are the youth in those objectives and goals?

      And many more questions but this isn’t the place to do so but my overall comment about the “2011-2015 Strategic Plan” is that it seems to focus on the issues ADULTS think are “important” and not on what the YOUTH think are “important” issues.

  4. I am waiting to find out if there will be a new Boy Scout Handbook before January 2015…I have Webelos who will need that book soon, and I’d hate to have to require them to get a second copy so soon.

  5. Can’t wait to see the Cub books with the new BSA branding. If they follow the boy scout handbook/field books, then I’m hoping graphics, layout and yes, even some requirements are updated to the 21st century. :)

  6. At our monthly District Roundtables, we always have a different unit do the flag ceremony. Sometimes it’s troops and other times it’s packs. As part of the ceremony they recite the scout oath. Now when the packs do the ceremony, some of the younger boys have a hard time with it because they have learned the Cub Oath. With the new change of “One Scout Program/One Scout Oath” there will not be that confusion as to which oath to recite, especially in mixed assemblies.

    • Knowing we still had 2 years, we advised packs to stick to the Cub Oath and Law since it’s what is in all the books.

      However, we’ll suggest for the 2014-2015 year that they begin teaching the cubs the Scout Law and Oath, especially the Tigers. All optional, of course.

      They were smart to make it May, 2015 so that incoming ranks could start fresh instead of the calendar year.

      • ScoutingManiac // November 19, 2013 at 6:59 am // Reply

        BTW, this change to “One Oath and Law” has been known and talked about for over a YEAR and a HALF and IMHO, they are going to push back the change date again. The original goal was to make the change in the first month of 2014 but that obviously isn’t going to happen.

      • Shelly Thomas // March 27, 2014 at 7:26 pm // Reply

        We have been having our young Cubs recite both. With my Webelos I have always had them do the Boy Scout themes. The younger ones are getting pretty good with the “new” way.

  7. So are we getting a new Scout handbook too? When is that due out?

    • I suspect you might be reading a bit into that. I’m collector of Boy Scout literature. Significantly new Boy Scout Handbooks only come out about every ten years and the current one was just issued in 2009.

      Since nothing in the Boy Scout program is changing because of this, I doubt the schedule for a new Boy Scouts Handbook would be advanced.

      BTW, it is worth noting that the Venturer/Explorer Code as well as the Cub Scout Promise have changed numerous times over the years, but the Boy Scout Oath/Law is exactly the same wording as 1910.

      • ScoutingManiac // November 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm // Reply

        Hasn’t their been minor wording changes in regards to the Scout Oath or am I misinformed.

      • When the girl scouts made changes to their promise and law, they issued adhesive papers with the new info. The kids just stuck the new on over the old in their books until the new book came out. Expecting them to print new books is an incredible waste of resources (and money).. If a major part of the program changed, that would be a different story.

        • You underestimate BSA National Supply.
          Do you think they will pass up a chance to make more money off the scouts? I think not.

        • ScoutingManiac // November 19, 2013 at 7:05 am //

          I expect that the Cub Scout Handbooks will have to be bought in whole instead of just changing the page because thats how supply group was. Plus with all the “advancement changes” “safety guideline changes” and “program changes” expected to come out of the Scouting 411 project specific to Cub Scouts will make new edition mandatory.

          BTW, I believe based upon the update cycles for how often handbooks are publish it is about time for a new version anyway. For example generally speaking the Boy Scout Handbook is given major revisions about every ten or so years. I don’t remember the exact printing year we currently are on for Cub Scouts/

        • Just had an a-ha moment. (I’m slow.) Except for Webelos, Cub Scouts buy new handbooks every year anyway. It’s the leader book that will all have to be repurchased.

        • ScoutingManiac // November 19, 2013 at 7:27 am //

          Very good point.

  8. As both a Boy Scout and a Cub Scout leader, it will be interesting to see the resources on how to teach the Cub Scouts once this happens in a few years including the changes to the program and all the new training leaders will have to go through. I still think that each program should of continued with their own promise/law, except I agree that the Boy Scout one can be strengthened in the Venturing program.

    • I do not see any new training for the leaders other than reading the Boy Scout Oath, Law and Promise. The Cub Scouts will not have to memorize it either. Webelos will need to know it though before bridging into Boy Scouts.

  9. It’s funny to me, as a venture scout to see that people think venturing is anchored by the Boy Scout program, considering it’s no where close to the same. And on the new advancement for crews it begins in May but youth may still earn the awards until December of 2014

    • ScoutingManiac // November 19, 2013 at 7:07 am // Reply

      Yes that is very true. Traditionally speaking Venturers would be quasi-equivalent to Rovering (Rover Scouts).

    • Our Crew has no desire to be like a senior Boy Scout Troop with girls. They don’t do Boy Scout Camporees and stuff like that. They don’t refer to themselves as Scouts. They have the program, training and activities that they have planned that is for Venturers.

      • They have also opted, as Venture Crews are empowered to do, to not use the BSA Venturing uniform.

      • As a former Sea Scout (Quartermaster) and current scout leader, I find that sad. Sea Scouting is, and should be, a part of scouting.

        • me too. but people don’t like change and this is sometimes how they react.

  10. I don’t see much of an issue here. Our Arrow of Light Scouts are already learning The BS stuff, so it’s not that far off, even when there’s similar wording. As both a Scoutmaster and Asst. Cubmaster, I often have issues keeping them straight.

  11. ScoutingManiac // November 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm // Reply

    Are they ever going to stop pushing back the start date? Why do we need over a year and a half of waiting before this change is made. This continual delay is only causing more and more confusion! I would really like to know the reason for this continuing to happen. I am getting disappointed at Nationals ability to implement changes to the program at such an exorbitantly slow rate.

  12. I like the Cub Scout Promise from my 1945 cub handbook, capitalization copied as in the book.

    I _________ promise
    to DO MY BEST
    to be SQUARE
    and to OBEY the
    Law of the Pack.

    Btw, the law of the pack was the same.

    But time marches on. I like this new change to cub scouting. Gives continuity to the program. A Tiger will learn something that will stay with him all the way to Eagle.

    The Boy Scout Oath and Law will be the over arching mantra of the BSA.

    So be Square everyone!

  13. Why? They should stop changing everything.

  14. James Lehman, Jr. // November 18, 2013 at 4:17 pm // Reply

    And so we also lose Mr. Kipling, Akela, Balloo, Bagherra and Sherkahn. The original plan tied in nicely with the classic literature . It will be nice to be able to teach (will the leaders do that?) the meaning of the BIG WORDS in the Scout Promise and Law. I do not think many Cubs will grasp the ideas inherent in themat first. I know I didn’t when I “crossed over”. I think I knew what it meant “to be square”, and my dad helped with that.

    • Every once in a while, I’ll sing the Cub Scout vespers at campfire just to vex my scouts. Guess that will be gone too…

  15. Dang, hit the wrong button. The literature of the “Jungle Book” tied right in with the CS program and , even I back then, realized how the morality and character in the story tied in with the “following the law of the Pack” stuff.
    I like the idea, making the Scout Promise and Law basic to all four programs, but I am sorry to see the included loss of the story line Cubs have used for so long.

  16. What nincompoop in Irvine , Texas thought it is a good idea for cub scouts to be obligated under the oath as boy scouts?

    • The all knowing “411″ group (aka Ivory Tower). Made up of people who know better than the masses. Better known as rich Volunteers who can fly to Texas or Sea Base or what every resort they want to meet at. They decided for you.
      Its too bad that no one actually went to the field and spoke to real direct contact leaders and scouts (ie. Cubs, Scouts and Venturers).

      • Scouting donations and FOS donations at work…

    • Not sure what you mean by “obligated under the same oath”. Is it some how wrong for an 8 year old to be trustworthy, loyal, etc …?

  17. So, I assume there will be changes made to the Bobcat requirements to reflect the change to BS promise and law. Will the Cub Scout handshake, Cub Scout sign, Cub Scout salute, Cub Scout motto also change?

  18. Thomas Watson // November 19, 2013 at 2:01 am // Reply

    My understanding is that this is a move to help mask the declining membership… the World Organization does not recognize groups who do not subscribe to the Scout Oath and Law– thus the Cubs and Ventures were not counting as “Scouts” and the “Be Prepared For Life” ground has never counted as well.

    So now, the BSA has a couple million more “Scouts” and all it cost was the traditional Cub program and the admission of girls to the program (they are Scouts now that they take the oath).

    • Nice conspiracy theory.

      Makes no sense since total youth and how BSA counts them is on every annual report. (Hint: they’ always included cubs, venturers, and explorers.)

      But if you have a reference to support your claims. I’m sure we’d love to see it.

    • ScoutingManiac // November 19, 2013 at 7:14 am // Reply

      Not true! The World Organization or properly known as the World Organization of the Scout Movement recognizes all members at the various levels as Scouts. Additionally while the WOSM has guidelines for the wording and make up of the Scout Oath and Scout Law it gives each NSO or National Scout Organization the right to determine the most appropriate wording based upon the unique cultural aspects of each country. An NSO is the WOSM recognized Scout Organization for that particular country and by the bylaws of the WOSM each country can only have 1 WOSM recognized NSO in the country.

    • Thomas Watson // November 19, 2013 at 7:29 pm // Reply

      well.. no, the WOSM does not automatically recognize all members as Scouts. To be a recognized as a Scout by WOSM, it matters not who you may pay dues to or who sponsors your program. What matters is if you raise your hand in the Scout sign and take the oath.

      From the Constitution of WOSM:

      Article II, paragraph 2: “Adherence to a Promise and Law”

      All members of the Scout Movement are required to adhere to a Scout Promise and Law reflecting, in language appropriate to the culture and civilization of each National Scout Organization and approved by the World Organization, the principles of Duty to God, Duty to others and Duty to self, and inspired by the Promise and Law conceived by the Founder of the Scout Movement in the following terms:

      The Scout Promise

      On my honour I promise that I will do my best—
      To do my duty to God and the King (or to God and my Country)
      To help other people at all times and
      To obey the Scout Law.

      BSA can include anyone it wants as a member, but to be recognized as a “Scout” you must take the oath.

    • Funny, then, how World Jamboree welcomed youth who were registered to _Venturing_ units. If WOSM didn’t think they were scouts, why did they welcome them before there was even a hint of the 411 task force.

      The World Crest is on the Venturing uniform. Been there since it’s inception.

      Again, you have failed to provide any evidence that WOSM has objected to BSA’s accounting of our numbers.

  19. Naomi Fletcher // November 19, 2013 at 5:46 pm // Reply

    Reading with interest this string. As a Cub Leader and trainer these last 25 years, I’ve seen lots of change. Do I agree with moving to one Oath/law?? Not sure, but I do know it will be tough for a 7 yr old Tiger Cub to remember the BS oath/law, and have an even harder time understanding it all. They are just learning to read chapter books, and sometimes…..well, let’s just say not all readers are created equal….

    But I thought, too, that I recently heard it wasn’t changing because there was enough leader outcry to reconsider….guess I need to get the newest info to make sure we’re providing appropriate training.

    • I thought the same thing, too, when my son joined Cubs a few years ago, until I read the Girl Scout Promise and Law. It’s much, much more wordy (and, in my opinion, more difficult to memorize) than the Boy Scout Oath and Law. My kindergarten-age Daisy Scout daughter and her fellow Scouts all learned the Girl Scout Promise and Law. If 5- and 6-year old kindergarteners can learn the Girl Scout items, a Tiger Cub can learn the Boy Scout Oath and Law. The Law is 12 words.

      Like I tell all new Scouts who join my Pack, if you can memorize the courses in Mario Kart, or the words to “What Does the Fox Say”, you can learn the Cub Scout (and soon to be Boy Scout) Promise and Law. Once I put it in that context to them, you can see the apprehension go away, and they have it learned by the next meeting, two meetings at the most.

  20. The members of our Crew don’t like this at all. I don’t know of many Venturers who call themselves “Scouts”. Many of them never were Cub, Boy or Girl Scouts. I can see this being largely ignored at the Venturing level.

    • Haven’t any of them been called “Venture Scouts?” We get that a lot around here. In fact, some of my officers have told me that “venturer” just doesn’t roll off the tongue very well!

      • Sometimes someone outside the Crew will use that term and they are quickly corrected. They tell people that they are “Venturers” or “Crew”. We have had many Eagle Scouts come out of the Crew, and more to come, but we make it quite clear that we are NOT Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. We are an entirely different program, with different objectives, uniforms, activities and so on. It must be working because we are bigger than most Troops in our area, active advancement in the traditional Boy Scout and the Venturing areas and have just as many, if not more service hours than most units. We are Venturers.

  21. Jim Rooney // July 4, 2014 at 5:22 pm // Reply

    Does this (“…for Venturing, the change will take place in May 2014″) mean that for Venturers completing the Gold Award after May 2014 that they should recite the Scout Oath and Law instead of the Venturing Oath (Gold Award requirement, #7)? Or is the Scout Oath and Law an optional alternative?

    I have a daughter making her BOR (oral presentation to the Crew Committee) in 2-3 weeks.

    Thanks!

  22. I understand that the date for Cub Scouts to be able to recite the Scout Oath and Promise is May of 2015. My problem is that shortly after school starts, we have a School Night for Scouting. It’s a time for new Cub Scouts to join Scouting. Are we expected to teach the Cub Scout Oath and Promise to these new boys, just so that in a few short months they will have to recite the Boy Scout Oath and Promise? That seems really unfair. Are we, as a unit, allowed to change the requirements for Bobcat, so that the Boy Scout Oath and Promise can be learned this fall?

  23. What about the Varsity Scout pledge, which is required for the Denali Award?

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