The Scouts introduce an additional alternative Promise

Promise © The Scout Association. The Scout Association (TSA) has launched an additional alternative version to the core Scout Promise in order to officially welcome atheists into the Movement.

Following an extensive 10-month consultation process within and outside of the Movement, TSA has introduced an additional alternative version of the Scout Promise that can be taken by those without a faith for the first time in its 106-year history.

Increasing inclusivity

Alternative versions of the Scout Promise have been available for nearly 50 years and have been used by Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and those who live in the UK but are not UK citizens. This is the first time that the Movement has introduced a Promise for members and potential members who are without a faith.

The core Scout Promise, which refers to a ‘Duty to God’, remains intact and Scouting remains fully committed as a Movement that explores faith and religion as a core element of its programme.

The introduction of the additional alternative to the Scout Promise enables the Movement to engage with more young people and adults than ever before, as well as increase inclusivity at a time when membership is the largest it has been since 1999.

The additional alternative version to the Scout Promise will be available to be used by Scout Groups from 1 January 2014 and plans are underway to help prepare the Movement for this change.

Wayne Bulpitt, UK Chief Commissioner for TSA said:

‘We look forward to welcoming even more young people and adults to Scouting. Throughout its 106-year history the Movement has continued to evolve and today marks an important step in that journey. It also signifies the determination to become truly inclusive and relevant to all sections of society that it serves. We are a values-based Movement and exploring faith and beliefs remains a key element of the Scouting Programme. That will not change.’

Trusted and diverse

According to recent research conducted by nfpSynergy, TSA is one of the most trusted organisations in the UK – one of the reasons why Scouting continues to grow.

Over the last decade, female youth membership has increased from 29,200 to 77,500 (an increase of 165%), and in the last 10 years, over 50 Scout Groups have been opened that cater for young people who are drawn mainly from the Muslim, Hindu and Sikh communities. Not only is the Movement growing in these new areas, but it is increasingly popular amongst teenagers; attracting twice as many teenage members as it did in 2002 (18,000 in 2002 compared to 40,000 in 2013).

The announcement of the additional alternative Promise has been welcomed by faith leaders and the British Humanist Association (BHA) as demonstrating inclusiveness of the Movement to all sections of society.

Reverend Michael Heaney, Moderator of the Free Churches Group, comments:

‘In my experience of Christian Ministry and Scout Leadership, faith is something that brings people together and enables them to be truly rounded individuals. I am delighted Scouting will continue to put the exploration of faith and values at the heart of its programme and that it will continue to invite those who wish to, to promise to do their duty to God. The UK is enriched by people of all backgrounds and beliefs. We are all at different stages in our journey of faith and it is vital that young people are able to discover their beliefs in a safe and supportive environment. Scouting is the perfect place for them to explore these vital questions in an atmosphere of trust and friendship.’

More information

To read the additional alternative Promise and for more information on the Scouting Fundamentals, visit scouts.org.uk/fundamentals.

Originally posted at scouts.org.uk

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Irish, a student of law with The Open University, living in Dublin with his husband Andrew. Also interested in first aid, heraldry, Scouting, and occasionally to be found at the organ or in a bell tower.

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