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Scouts move to use one promise and one law for all programs

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The Boy Scouts of America encompasses several different programs, each of which has its own membership requirements, leadership, traditions, goals, ranks, and activities. Although scouting’s core values are the same in every program, the words used to express those values have traditionally been different for the three main programs, Cub Scouting (boys 6-11), Boy Scouting (boys 11-18), and Venturing (coed 13-21). Until now, each has had its own version of the Scout Oath and Scout Law, which participants must memorize in order to earn rank advancement. However, a recommendation to consolidate to a single oath and law was proposed by two separate task forces of volunteers and professionals last year, and was approved by the Boy Scouts of America's leadership on October 17, 2012. The reason for the change is to better “reinforce the connection between all of our BSA programs and the mission of the Boy Scouts of America... this goal is best achieved if all programs use the Scout Oath and Law as their primary statement of values and ideals.”

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Once the change is implemented, all Scouts in every age group will learn and 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, and Venturers will no longer use the Venturing Oath and Venturing Code, but will use the Scout Oath and Law as well. Because it will take time to implement the change throughout such a large organization, the Venturing change will happen in early 2014, and the Cub Scout change will take effect in mid-2015. In addition, the full-hand Venturing sign and salute will be replaced with the three-finger Boy Scout sign and salute. The Cub Scouts are retaining the two-finger salute, however.

The full text of the official Boy Scout Oath is:

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight."

And the Boy Scout Law is:

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent."

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