Investing a Scout

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The investiture ceremony is the time when a Scout joins the Troop, by making the Scout Promise, and affirming their commitment to the Scout Law. Making the Scout Promise is not simply about saying the words, but rather about making a deep commitment to living your life in a certain way. Once the recruit has made the promise, they are a Scout.

The investiture is the beginning of a special time in a young person's life. Scout-aged children are entering the stage of life when they desire to break away from their parents, find out about the world, and try to shape their own identity in it. It is Scouting's desire that a major part of the identity that these young people form is that of being a Scout.


This is the most important event in a Scout's life and needs to be treated with some solemnity and respect, because the Scout is, after all, making a very important and difficult promise to live up to. The timing of the investiture ceremony needs to be thought out and planned well in advance, because the Scout may wish to have parents or particular friends there and this wish should be respected.

Some time before the ceremony the Troop Scouter will have discussed with the Scout the meaning of the Promise and Law and what honour means to ensure that the Scout understands the implications and will try to keep the Promise and Law. The ceremony itself will also be explained.

Just prior to the ceremony the Troop Scouter will usually remind the Troop of what is to happen, so that things run smoothly and ask them to take the ceremony seriously, perhaps referring to how they may have felt when they became Scouts.

Investiture setting

The setting of an investiture ceremony should reflect the importance of the commitment, yet be familiar so that it feels safe. Investiture is usually held at the Scout Troop Hall or regular meeting place, but it could be held in another place with special meaning. Wherever the ceremony is held, efforts can be made through the use of things such as candles to make the setting special.

The ceremony should be dignified, but not solemn. The Troop Scouter's expression should be welcoming and friendly, yet filled with a sense of importance and excitement.

Multiple recruits

It is sometimes desirable to invest more than one Recruit on the same evening, and all the Recruits to be invested may be in the horseshoe. Each will be brought forward for investiture by their Patrol Leader separately and make their Promise individually. In fact, the ceremony is simply repeated for each new Scout. For this reason, it is undesirable to invest more than three Recruits on any evening as it is quite wrong for them to make their Promises in unison. More than three repetitions of this very important ceremony will be boring to the Scouts.

Joining the Scout Troop from Cubs

Anyone can join as a Scout, whether they have been a Cub or not. However, if they were a Cub, they will first take part in the Going Up ceremony before being invested as a Scout.


The troop is assembled in a horseshoe. There is a Flag Bearer holding the troop flag standing to the left of the Troop Scouter. The candidates for investiture are at a place away from sight and hearing of the horseshoe. The Troop Scouter briefly reminds the troop of what will happen in the ceremony then sends the Patrol Leader to bring the first candidate.

Troop Scouter: "Patrol Leader, bring the candidate for investiture."

The candidate's Patrol Leader fetches the candidate and leads them to the front of the horseshoe. As the candidate approaches the horseshoe, the Troop Scouter calls the troop to alert. The candidate stands centred at the front of the horseshoe, facing the Troop Scouter. The PL stands behind and to the right of the candidate.

Troop Scouter: "You have joined our troop for a few meetings, and you have experienced what Scouts is about. Scouts is a worldwide movement, and you would be joining hundreds of millions of people around the world who have committed themselves to becoming better people by making the Scout Promise. Do you wish to make the Scout Promise and join our troop as a Scout?"

(or a similar welcome)

Candidate: "Yes."

Troop Scouter: "Please recite the Scout Promise after me. Troop, Scout Sign."

The Flag Bearer lowers the troop flag to horizontal between the Troop Scouter and the candidate. The Troop Scouter and the candidate place their left hands on the flag. All make the Scout Sign. The Troop Scouter leads the Promise line by line; the candidate repeats after them.

If there is another candidate to be invested, the Troop Scouter directs their Patrol Leader to bring them. The ceremony repeats for all the candidates.


After the ceremony, badges are handed out. This is also a special time, as the meaning of the various badges are explained:

  • World Scout Badge - every scout in the world wears this badge, and you are joining a worldwide brother/sisterhood.
  • SCOUTS South Africa badge
  • Year badge
  • Regional badge
  • District badge
  • Troop name badge
  • Patrol Badge - this is handed out by the Patrol Leader who usually makes the candidate feel like they are joining a great patrol, one to be proud of.

Group scarf

The Scout, if completely new to the Group, is then presented with a Group scarf. This function is often performed by the Scout Group Leader (SGL), if present. If the candidate is moving up from Cubs, the Cub is already wearing the Group scarf, and this is not reissued. Instead, the SGL may say some words of encouragement.

Other traditions

When elaborating ceremonies, it is important to keep them simple enough that they have real significant for the Scouts.


Scout Law

Usually there will be 10 candles that represent the 10 parts of the Scout Law. These candles can be lit one at a time by the candidate, while the other Scouts repeat the Laws in order, or the other Scouts may light the candles one at a time while saying the relevant Law.

Scout Promise

There is either one or three additional candles representing the Scout Promise. One candle to represent the Promise, or three candles representing the three parts of the Promise:

  • Duty to God and your Country;
  • Helping other people;
  • Following the Scout Law

Usually these candles will be lit by Scouters or senior Scouts while the Promise is being made.

See also

Adult leader training videos