Scout Motto

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Scout Motto
Badge and pin (AM 626443-2) (cropped).jpg
Scout badge awarded "for merit", with the motto "Be prepared"
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The Scout Motto of the Scout movement is, in English, "Be Prepared", with most international branches of the group using a close translation of that phrase. These mottoes have been used by millions of Scouts around the world since 1907. Most of the member organizations of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) share the same mottoes.

In the first part of Scouting for Boys, Robert Baden-Powell explains the meaning of the phrase:

The scouts' motto is founded on my initials, it is:


which means, you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your DUTY;

Be Prepared in Mind by having disciplined yourself to be obedient to every order, and also by having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it.

Be Prepared in Body by making yourself strong and active and able to do the right thing at the right moment, and do it.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 4. Scout Law." (Part I, p. 48)

Baden-Powell on "Be Prepared"[edit]

Baden-Powell provides several descriptions of how and for what situations a Scout must be prepared elsewhere in Scouting for Boys. In his explanation of the third point of the Scout Law, Baden-Powell says:

A Scout's Duty is to be Useful and to Help Others.

And he is to do his duty before anything else, even though he gives up his own pleasure, or comfort, or safety to do it. When in difficulty to know which of two things to do, he must ask himself, "Which is my duty?" that is, "Which is best for other people?"—and do that one. He must Be Prepared at any time to save life, or to help injured persons. And he must do a good turn to somebody every day.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 4. Scout Law." (Part I, p. 49)

In the opening chapter of Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell says:

Every boy ought to learn how to shoot and to obey orders, else he is no more good when war breaks out than an old woman, and merely gets killed like a squealing rabbit, being unable to defend himself.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 1. Mafeking Boy Scouts." (Part I, Chapter I, pp. 9–10)

Baden-Powell discuses more skills required of Scouts in Chapter IV of Scouting for Boys, which addresses camp life, and he lists:

  • Tying knots
  • Making a bivouac shelter for the night, or a hut for longer-term camping
  • Using an axe or bill-hook to fell small trees and branches
  • Mending and even making clothes and boots
  • Cooking meat and vegetables, and making bread without regular cooking utensils
  • Driving sheep, cattle and horses
  • Killing and butchering cattle
  • Milking cows or goats

Advice given by Baden-Powell in Chapter V on campaigning includes the requirements of:

  • Being able to find one's way by night and by day
  • Being able to read a barometer, and signs of the weather
  • Judging distance from an inch up to a mile or more
  • Knowing the points of a compass

In a chapter discussing endurance, Baden-Powell writes that a scout should be able to:

  • Smell well in order to find his enemy by night
  • Hear well
  • Have good eyesight to notice things rapidly and at distance

In Chapter VII, Baden-Powell discussed how Scouts prepare themselves to protect women and how they can improve themselves. He says a scout should walk with a woman on his left "so that his right is free to protect her", walking on the other side in the streets to protect her from traffic. Baden-Powell adds to "Be Prepared" for the future by learning a trade and saving up pay.[1]

Chapter VIII of Scouting for Boys discussed saving life. On this topic, Baden-Powell says that a scout should be prepared by:

  • Learning beforehand what to do in the event of likely accidents
  • Being prepared to do what is required the moment that an accident does occur
  • Knowing how to deal with a mad dog, and being prepared to take the necessary action
  • Knowing how to react to a person's suicide attempt

In the chapter on patriotism, Baden-Powell says to "Be Prepared to die for your country if need be, so that when the moment arrives you may charge home with confidence, not caring whether you are going to be killed or not."

The first handbook for Girl Guides, How Girls Can Help to Build Up the Empire by Agnes and Robert Baden-Powell, similarly explains:

The motto of the Girl Guides is "Be Prepared". Why is this? It is because, like the other Guides, you have to be prepared at any moment to face difficulties and even dangers by knowing what to do and how to do it.[2]

(The "other Guides" of this quote are the Khyber Guide Regiment.)[citation needed]


Hilary Saint George Saunders' book The Left Handshake: The Boy Scout Movement during the War, 1939–1945 had the first name of each chapter spell out the Scout motto. The chosen names are: Bravery, Enterprise, Purpose, Resolution, Endurance, Partnership, Assurance, Reformation, Enthusiasm and Devotion.[3]

Motto in various languages[edit]

Swiss Boy Scout book Allzeit bereit ("Always prepared") from 1916

Many languages have masculine and feminine forms of words – where gender changes the Scout Motto, differences are reflected here.[needs IPA]

Motto in various languages
Language Countries Boy Scouts Girl Guides or Girl Scouts Organizational variant Translation (if other than "Be prepared") Transliteration or pronunciation
Afrikaans Namibia, South Africa Wees geréed!
Albanian Albania Ji gati Pergatitu "Always prepared"
Amharic Ethiopia ዝግጁ "Ready" [zəɡədʒu]
Arabic Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Western Sahara, Yemen كُن مستعداً in Jordan, Libya, and Syria وَأَعِدُّوا [kun musˈtaʕidan]
[wa ʔaˈʕidduː]
Armenian Armenia Միշտ պատրաստ Partsratsir partsratsour "Always ready"
"Elevate yourself and others with you"
Misht Badrast
Azeri Azerbaijan Daima hazır
Belarusian Belarus Будзь гатоў Budz' hatoǔ!
Bengali Bangladesh সেবার জন্য সদা প্রস্তুত থাকতে যথাসাধ্য চেষ্টা করা সদা প্রস্তুত "Do your best to be prepared for service" Sebar jannoa sada prastut thakte jathasadhya chesta kara
Sada prastut
Bislama Vanuatu Rerem "Prepare"
Bosnian Bosnia and Herzegovina Budi spreman! Uvijek spreman!
Bulgarian Bulgaria Бъди готов Бъди готова Bădi gotov
Bădi gotova
Burmese Burma အဆင်သင့် "Ever ready" A-sin-thint
Cantonese Hong Kong, Macau 準備 "Prepare" Zeon2 bei6
Chinese (Traditional) Taiwan 準備 "Prepare" Zhǔnbèi
Catalan Andorra, Catalonia, Balearic Islands, Valencia Sempre a punt "Always ready"
Chavacano Zamboanga Pirmi alisto! "Always prepared!"
Chichewa Malawi Konzekerani
Cook Islands Māori Cook Islands Kia vai teateamamao!
Croatian Croatia Budi pripravan! Uvijek spreman!
Czech Czech Republic Buď připraven Buď připravena
Danish Denmark Vær beredt! Værn og tjen! "Protect and serve!"
Divehi Maldives އަބަދުވެސް ތައްޔާރްށް Abadhuves thayyarah
Dutch Belgium, the Netherlands, Suriname Wees paraat! Steeds bereid! in Belgium, Wees bereid! in the Netherlands, Weest paraat! in Suriname
Dzongkha Bhutan གྲ་འགྲིག་འབད་ '"Dra drig bay
English Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe Be prepared
Esperanto (Skolta Esperanto Ligo) Estu preta
Estonian Estonia Ole valmis!
Faroese Faroe Islands Ver til reiðar
Fijian Fiji Tu Vakarau
Meda tu vakarau
Tu vakarau ena vei gauna
Filipino Philippines Laging Handa! Laging handa! "Always ready!"
Finnish Finland Ole valmis! Var redo! (in Swedish)
French Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Guinea, Haiti, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Monaco, Morocco, New Caledonia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia Toujours prêt! Toujours prête! Prêt(e) à servir ("Ready to serve") in Burkina Faso; Sois prêt(e)! ("Be prepared!") widespread; Être prêt(e) ("To be prepared") in Haiti and Lebanon; Toujours tout droit ("Always straight"/"Always upstanding") in Senegal "Always ready!" [tuʒuʁ pʁɛ(t)]
Georgian Georgia იყავი მზად Ikavi mzad
German Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Namibia, Switzerland Allzeit bereit! So gut ich kann! Seid bereit! in Namibia "Always prepared!"
"As good as I can!"
[ˈaltsaɪt bəˈʁaɪt]
Gilbertese Kiribati Mena tauraoi
Greek Cyprus, Greece Έσo έτοιμος! Έσo έτοιμη! Éso étoimos!
Éso étoimi!
Hawaiian Hawaii Hoʻomākaukau!
Modern Hebrew Israel היה נכון Heye nachon
Hindi India तैयार "Prepared" Taiyar
Hungarian Hungary Légy résen! Jó munkát! "Be watchful!"
Icelandic Iceland Ávallt viðbúinn! "Always prepared!"
Indonesian Indonesia Satyaku kudarmakan, darmaku kubaktikan[4] "My promise becomes my law, my law becomes my devotion"
Interlingua Sempre preste
Irish Ireland Bí ullamh!
Italian Italy, San Marino, Switzerland Siate pronti! Siate pronte! CNGEI uses Sii preparato (feminine Sii preparata) and the Catholic organization AGESCI uses the Latin translation Estote parati from Lc 12,40 and Mt 24,44 [ˈsjaːte ˈpronti]
[ˈsjaːte ˈpronte]
Japanese Japan そなえよつねに "Always be prepared" Sonae-yo tsuneni [sona.ejo tsɯneɲi]
Kazakh Kazakhstan Дайын бол! Будь готов! (in Russian) Dayyin bol!
Bud' gotov!
Kinyarwanda Rwanda Ube maso!
Kirundi Burundi Ube maso
Korean South Korea 준비 "Preparation" Junbi
Kyrgyz Kyrgyzstan Даяр бол Будь готов (in Russian) Dayar bol
Bud' gotov
Khmer Cambodia ត្រៀមខ្លួន ត្រៀមខ្លួន Triam kloun
Lao Laos ຕຣຽມພຣ້ອມ "Prepared" [tliaːm˨ pʰlɔːm˦˩]
Latin Estote parati Some Italian associations (usually Catholic) use this form
Latvian Latvia Esi modrs!; response Arvien modrs! Esi modra!; response Arvien modra! "Be watchful"
"Always watchful!"
Lithuanian Lithuania Budėk!; response Vis budžiu!
Luxembourgish Luxembourg Ëmmer bereet! Trei zum Land! "Loyal to the country!"
Macedonian North Macedonia Биди подготвен Bidi podgotven
Malagasy Madagascar Vonona hatrany hatrany! "Always prepared"
Malay Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore Selalu bersedia! Selalu sedia! Sentiasa (ber)sedia! in Malaysia
Maltese Malta Kun lest! Kun lesta!
Mongolian Mongolia Хэзээд бэлхэн! Бэлэн бол! "Become prepared!"
"(I am) ready forever!"
Belen bol!
Hezeed belhen!
Montenegrin Montenegro Буди спреман Budi spreman
Nepali Nepal तयार होऊ Tayar hou
Netsilik Inuit Nunavut ᐃᔈᓗᐊᖖᓯᓯᒪᐃᓐᓇᓗᑎᑦ
Niuean Niue Kia mautali
Norwegian Norway Vær beredt!; response Alltid beredt! "Be prepared!"
"Always prepared!"
Papiamento Aruba, Netherlands Antilles Wees bereid! (in Dutch) Sea prepará! in Netherlands Antilles
Pashto Afghanistan تیار اوسی "Attention" Tayar osay
Persian Iran آماده باش Âmâdeh bâsh
Polish Poland Czuwaj! "Watch!" (imp.)
Portuguese Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe Sempre alerta! Semper parata! (in Latin) "Always alert!"
Romanian Moldova, Romania Gata oricând Fii pregatit(a)! in Romania "Always ready"
Romansh Switzerland Adina pronto! Adina pronta!
Russian Russia Будь готов! Будь готова! Bud' gotov(a)!
Sakha Yakutia Бэлэм буол! Belem buol!
Samoan American Samoa, Samoa Sauniuni
Serbian Serbia Буди спреман Budi spreman
Sinhala Sri Lanka සූදානම් ව සිටිනු! Soodhanamva sitinu!
Slovakian Slovakia Buď pripravený
Slovene Slovenia Bodi pripravljen! Vedno pripravljen!, Z naravo k boljšemu človeku! "Always prepared!"
"With nature to a better person!"
Somali Djibouti, Somalia Diyaar ahaaw Is diyaari
Sotho Lesotho Dula o lokile
Spanish Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica*, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea*, Guatemala*, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela ¡Siempre listo (para servir*)! ¡Siempre lista (para servir*)! ¡Bien preparadas! ("Well prepared!") in Mexico; ¡Siempre activas! ("Always active!") in Nicaragua, ¡Estar preparadas! ("Being prepared!") in Peru and Puerto Rico "Always ready (to serve*)!" [ˈsjempɾe ˈlisto ˈpaɾa seɾˈβiɾ], [- ˈlista -]
Sranan Tongo Suriname Sete sete!
Swahili Comoros, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda Uwe tayari
Swazi Swaziland Hlala ulungele!
Swedish Sweden Var redo!
Alltid redo!
"Always prepared!"
Syriac Assyria ܡܬܘܼܡ ܥܬܝܼܕܵܐ "Always ready" Mthoom 'teeda
Tagalog Philippines Laging handâ! "Always prepared!"
Tahitian French Polynesia Parau ha' amanaora! "Always prepared!"
Tamil Sri Lanka தயார் நிலையில் இரு! Thayaar nilayil iru!
Tajik Tajikistan Тайёр бош Будь готов! (in Russian) Taiyor bosh
Bud' gotov!
Thai Thailand เสียชีพอย่าเสียสัตย์ "Better to die than to lie" Sia chip ya sia sat [sǐa̯ t͡ɕʰîːp jàː sǐa̯ sàt]
Tibetan Tibet (PRC) Gtan gyi thugs rje
Tok Pisin Papua New Guinea Stap redi
Tongan Tonga Toka mateuteu Mo'ui mateuteu
Tswana Botswana Nna oi pokoulse! Nna o ipaakantse!
Turkish Turkey Daima hazır! Daima hazırız!, İzci daima hazırdır! "Always prepared!"
Turkmen Turkmenistan Daima hazır! Daima hazırız! "Always prepared!"
Tuvan Tuva Бэлэн бол! "Become prepared!" Belen bol!
Urdu India, Pakistan ١ڶمستعد Teyar raho! "Prepared" Almustaid
Ukrainian Ukraine Будь Готовий! СКОБ! (an acronym for Сильно! Красно! Обережно! Бистро!) "With strength! With beauty! With care! With speed!" Bud' hotoviy!
Uyghur Xinjiang (PRC) تەييار بول Teyyar bol
Uzbek Uzbekistan Тайёр бўл Будь готов (in Russian) Tayyor bo‘l
Bud' gotov
Vietnamese Vietnam Sắp sẵn
Zarma Niger (Wa) soola "Get ready"

Similar mottoes in other organizations[edit]

Another motto mentioned in Scouting for Boys[edit]

In Part IV, Chapter VI of the first edition of Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell mentioned another Scout Motto:

A scout's motto is "Never say die till you're dead"—and if he acts up to this it will pull him out of many a bad place when everything seems to be going wrong for him. It means a mixture of pluck, patience, and strength, which we call "Endurance."

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn —No. 17". How to Grow Strong. p. 210. Part IV, chapter VI

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Scouting for Boys (1908) "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 22. Self-Improvement." (Part IV, Chapter VII, p. 267)
  2. ^ Forbes, Cynthia. 1910... and then?.
  3. ^ "The Left Handshake: Foreword by Lord Rowallan". August 3, 1997. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved May 3, 2007.
  4. ^ "Motto Gerakan Pramuka".
  5. ^ Waack, Sebastian (2008). Lenins Kinder: Zur Genealogie der Pfadfinder und Pioniere in Russland 1908-1924. Berlin. ISBN 978-3-86573-356-6.
  6. ^ "'Semper Paratus' (Always Ready)". Coast Guard History - FAQ's. U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office. Retrieved April 27, 2020.