The Fundamentals of Scouting

The Fundamentals of Scouting

The Fundamentals of Scouting are the Purpose (and Mission), Principles, and Method. Each National Scout Organisation has their own variation on the statements behind these fundamentals, adapted to their local culture and current society.

Our Purpose

Our Purpose reflects that of the World Movement. It tells us why we exist, provides our movement with meaning and a focus, and identifies the key elements that Scouting seeks to achieve through the experiences we offer through the program.

The Purpose of the Scout Movement is to contribute to the education of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual potentials as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities.

Our Purpose helps to give us direction in all that we do in Scouting. We should remember the focus while delivering our program, and through the full process we call PIan>Do>Review>.

First and foremost, our Purpose puts young people at the centre.

Our movement is focused on the young people we work with, and helping them become the best versions of themselves.

We help them prepare to use their potential as active contributors to the communities they find themselves in.

It provides us with a quick test about whether our approaches and directions are consistent with the spirit of Scouting. All of us should take a moment to be critical of our approach from time to time — whether we’re a Patrol Leader or the Chief Commissioner!

Is my approach contributing to the education of young people?

Are the Scouts I’m working with supported to develop in all the SPICES?

Am I promoting active community involvement at local, national and international levels?

Our Purpose charges us to work with young people to achieve their full potential. This means that our responsibility extends beyond the section we support. To work towards our Purpose, we actively encourage the personal progression of Scouts right through to completion of the Program in the Rover Scout section. It’s at this point we reach the Educational Objectives of Scouting, understood through a series of personal statements.

To fully support our Purpose, it’s our responsibility to encourage this personal progression, and help build an environment that makes young people want to continue challenging themselves through Scouting.

Our Mission

Our Mission tells us what we are in the business of doing, and sets real direction for our movement. Our Mission serves to complement our Purpose and reminds us of the values we promote in young people – expressed through the Australian Scout Promise & Law.

The Mission of Scouting is to contribute to the education of young people, through a value-based system grounded on the Scout Promise & Law, to help build a better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society.

The Mission identifies the role we take in helping build a better world. This aspect is promoted strongly among Scouts globally. As Scouts, we see ourselves as Messengers of Peace; we look for opportunities to share the message of peace and to build peace through our actions.

Our Principles

The Principles of Scouting are common throughout the world and are communicated as Duty to our God, Duty to Others and Duty to Self. They underpin the entire Movement, and it’s important for all Scouts to understand their meaning and intent. All aspects of our program are designed to fit within these Principles.

The founder of Scouting, Lord Baden-Powell, identified these Principles when developing Scouting in England in the early 1900s. In today’s context, we consider them as they relate to our current world, though the core intent remains true. It’s important to understand Baden-Powell’s intent for these concepts through today’s lens, while also taking time to acknowledge how the Principles may have been viewed at the time.

Duty to our God or Spiritual Values

Members should develop their relationship with the spiritual values of life adhering to their spiritual principles, whilst respecting the spiritual choices of others.

In Australian Scouting, we use an inclusive approach to ‘Duty to our God’, focusing on exploring spiritual beliefs and the use of reflection as a tool for development. This approach to Duty to our God, including spiritual development, is reflected in our Promise.

Scouting is inclusive and open to all; we have no requirement for our members to be religious or believe in God.

Those who are religious are encouraged to explore and develop their relationship with their    own religious practices and beliefs. Leaders in Scouting will engage with a whole range of Scouts with different beliefs and spiritual viewpoints but no matter the perspective, the spiritual development we like to focus on is:

  • Stopping for reflection
  • Exploring beliefs
  • Being thankful, and
  • Showing respect for others.

When thinking about spirituality in Scouting, it is important to understand what this means.

Spirituality in Australian Scouting: The feelings or beliefs of a person regarding their purpose in life, connection to others and place in the world around them. These spiritual feelings or beliefs may change as a person develops, and guide their actions throughout their life.

This definition of spirituality relates directly to how we work towards the principle called Duty to our God, and of course, the personal growth of the young people we support.

Duty to Others

Scout Members are active global citizens, displaying loyalty, friendship, understanding and cooperation at local, national and international levels. This is achieved through responsibilities to families and communities, active participation in the service of others, recognising and respecting the rights of others, and preservation of the environment.

We generally think our Duty to Others as a Scout’s personal responsibility to their community; in a broader sense, it is also about our whole movement’s responsibility. Key focus points are respect and empathy, involvement, community and friendship.

Community involvement is an element of our Scout Method; we use this approach as a learning experience for our members. Ultimately, we work with our Scouts to help develop an understanding of community and where their responsibilities lie with their own community, helping them to become active global citizens. We challenge Scouts to help make their communities better places through creativity and commitment.

Through teamwork we develop the ability to draw together a community for a common goal.

For an individual, the focus is on:

  • Giving and building respect
  • Creating a friendly and welcoming community
  • Ensuring minimal environmental impact
  • Collaborating to assist in the community – locally, nationally and globally.

Duty to Self

Members have a responsibility to explore and develop confidence and self-respect, and to seek to develop to their full potential through life-long learning.

Scouting is focused on personal development, with the individual at the centre of all that we do. The Mission talks about self-fulfilled individuals playing constructive roles in society. Our Purpose spells out the development areas of Scouting – SPICES. Each statement focuses on the individual being prepared to play active roles in their communities.

Our increasingly fast-paced world demands continuous learning for individuals to be successful. Scouting focuses on soft-skill development to help prepare our young people for the rapidly changing world.

Duty to Self is a reminder to Scouting members that to look after others, you first must look after yourself.

Promise & Law

The Promise & Law inspired by our founder Lord Baden-Powell are key statements for Scouts Australia. They are:

  • Values good citizens live by
  • Part of the Scout Method – how we do Scouting
  • Reflective of the behaviours we expect when Scouting.

Australia Scout Law

The Scout Law outlines the types of behaviours and actions a Scout should live by and are segmented into three key points – Be Respectful, Do What is Right and Believe in Myself.

  • Be friendly and considerate
  • Care for others and the environment
  • Be trustworthy, honest and fair
  • Use resources wisely
  • Learn from my experiences
  • Face challenges with courage

The Promise

The Promise includes spiritual adherence (spiritual beliefs or duty to our God), our duty to others (community, the world, Queen of Australia) and our duty to self. These principles of Scouting are shown by the three fingers in our salute.

In Australia, there are two versions of the Scout Promise and every Scout has the choice to make the Promise they relate to the most:

On my honour, I promise to do my best, to be true to my spiritual beliefs, to contribute to my community and our world, to help other people, and to live by the Scout Law.


On my honour, I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to my God, and to the Queen of Australia, to help other people, and to live by the Scout Law.

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