Scout Motto

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Scout Motto
Swiss Boy Scout book "Allzeit bereit“ (Always prepared) from 1916
Swiss Boy Scout book Allzeit bereit (Always prepared) from 1916
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The Scout Motto of the Scout movement, in various languages, has 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 this same motto.

In English, the Scout Motto is most commonly Be Prepared. 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]

Scout badge "For merit", with the text "Be prepared"

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 an 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:

So every scout ought to be able to tie knots.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 11. Pioneering." (Part III, Chapter IV, p. 144)

To live comfortably in camp a scout must know how to make a bivouac shelter for the night, or a hut if he is going to be for a long time in camp.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 11. Pioneering." (Part III, Chapter IV, p. 147)

A scout must know how to use an axe or bill-hook for chopping down small trees and branches.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 11. Pioneering." (Part III, Chapter IV, p. 149)

Also scouts must know how to mend and even to make themselves clothes and boots.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 11. Pioneering." (Part III, Chapter IV, p. 152)

Every scout must, of course, know how to cook his own meat and vegetables and to make bread for himself without regular cooking utensils.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 13. Camp Life." (Part III, Chapter IV, p. 164)

Scouts ought to know how to drive sheep and cattle and horses...

Scouts should also know how to kill and cut up their cattle...

A Scout should also know how to milk a cow or a goat, else he may go thirsty when there is lots of milk available.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 13. Camp Life." (Part III, Chapter IV, pp. 168–169)

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

Scouts must be able to find their way equally well by night as by day.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 14. Life in the Open." (Part III, Chapter V, p. 180)

Every scout ought to be able to read signs of the weather, especially when going mountaineering or cruising, and to read a barometer.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 14. Life in the Open." (Part III, Chapter V, p. 181)

Every scout must be able to judge distance from an inch up to a mile and more.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 15. Pathfinding." (Part III, Chapter V, p. 187)

Every sailor boy knows the points of a compass by heart and so should a scout.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 15. Pathfinding." (Part III, Chapter V, p. 189)

In a chapter discussing endurance, Baden-Powell wrote:

A scout must be able to smell well in order to find his enemy by night...

A scout must be able to hear well...

A scout, of course, must have particularly good eyesight; he must be able to see anything very quickly and to see at a long way off.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 17. How to Grow Strong." (Part IV, Chapter VI, pp. 213–214)

In Chapter VII, Baden-Powell discussed how Scouts prepare themselves to protect women and how they can improve themselves:

When walking with a lady or a child, a scout should always have her on his left side, so that his right is free to protect her. This rule is altered when walking in the streets: then a man will walk on the side of her nearest to the traffic, to protect her against accident, or mud-splashes, etc.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 20. Chivalry to Others." (Part IV, Chapter VII, p. 247)

"Be Prepared" for what is going to happen to you in the future. If you are in a situation where you are earning money as a boy what are you going to do when you finish that job? You ought to be learning some proper trade to take up; and save your pay in the meantime, to keep you going till you get employment in your new trade.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 22. Self-Improvement." (Part IV, Chapter VII, p. 267)

Chapter VIII of Scouting for Boys discussed saving life. On this topic, Baden-Powell says:

Remember your motto, "Be Prepared." Be prepared for accidents by learning beforehand what you ought to do in the different kinds that are likely to occur. Be prepared to do that thing the moment the accident does occur.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 23. Be Prepared for Accidents." (Part V, Chapter VIII, p. 281)

Every scout should know what to do when there is a mad dog about, and should be prepared to do it.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 24. Accidents and How to Deal with Them." (Part V, Chapter VIII, p. 295)

Where a man has gone so far as to attempt suicide, a Scout should know what to do with him.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 25. Helping Others." (Part V, Chapter VIII, p. 305)

In the chapter on patriotism, Baden-Powell says:

Therefore think it over—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.

— Lieut. Gen. Baden Powell C.B., Scouting for Boys (1908), "Camp Fire Yarn.—No. 28. United We Stand. Divided We Fall." (Part V, Chapter IX, pp. 331–332)

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.[1]

(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.[2]

Motto in various languages[edit]

  • Note-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 Lountries 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 [zə.ɡə.dʒu]
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 و أعدوا; kun mustʌʕidʌn
Armenian Armenia Միշտ պատրաստ Partsratsir Partsratsour Always Ready, Elevate Yourself and Others with You Misht Badrast
Azeri Azerbaijan Daima Hazır
Belarusian Belarus Напагатове! Будзь гатоў!, Будь готов! Napahatove, 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
Burmese Burma အဆင်သင့် ever ready A-sin-thint
Cantonese Hong Kong, Macau 準備 Prepare Joen bey
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 Be ready.
Estonian Estonia Ole valmis!
Faroese Faroe Islands Ver til reiðar
Fijian Fiji Tu Vakarau, Meda Tu Vakarau, or Tu Vakarau ena Vei Gauna
Filipino Philippines Laging Handa! Always Ready!
Finnish Finland Ole valmis! Var redo!
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) (Be Prepared) in Haiti and Lebanon; Toujours tout droit (Always straight/Always upstanding) in Senegal Always Ready! [tuʒuʁ pʁɛ]
Gilbertese Kiribati Mena tauraoi
Georgian Georgia იყავი მზად ikavi mzad
German Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Namibia, Switzerland Allzeit bereit! So gut ich kann! Seid bereit! in Namibia Always Prepared [ˈal.tsaɪt bəˈʁaɪt]
Greek Cyprus, Greece Έσo έτοιμος! Ésso étimi! Ésso étimos
Hawaiian Hawaii Hoʻomākaukau!
Modern Hebrew Israel היה נכון heye nachon
Hindi India तैयार Always Prepared Taiyar
Hungarian Hungary Légy Résen! Jó Munkát! Be watchful
Icelandic Iceland Ávallt viðbúinn! Always Prepared
Indonesian Indonesia Satyaku Kudarmakan, Darmaku Kubaktikan[3] My (Scout) Promise becomes my law, my (Scout) Law becomes my devotion
Interlingua Sempre Preste
Irish Ireland Bí ullamh!
Italian Italy, San Marino, Switzerland Siate Pronti! Siate Pronti! Many Italian associations also use the Latin translation Estote parati [ˈsjaːte ˈpronti]
Japanese Japan そなえよつねに Always be prepared Sonae-yo tsuneni [sona.ejo tsɯneɲi]
Kazakh Kazakhstan Дайын бол! Будь готов! Dayyin Bol
Kinyarwanda Rwanda Ube Maso!
Kirundi Burundi Ube Maso
Korean South Korea 준비 Preparation Junbi
Kyrgyz Kyrgyzstan Даяр Бол Будь готов Dayar Bol
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!, Always Watchful! Esi Modra!; response Arvien Modra!, Always Watchful! Be 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 Bersedia/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!, answered Alltid Beredt! Be Prepared!, answered Always Prepared!
Papiamento Aruba, Netherlands Antilles Wees Bereid Sea prepará! in Netherlands Antilles
Pashto Afghanistan تیار اوسی Attention Tayar Osay
Persian Iran آماده باش Aamaadeh Baash!
Polish Poland Czuwaj! Watch! (imp.)
Portuguese Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe Sempre alerta! Semper parata! 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
Sakha Yakutia Бэлэм буол! Бэлэм буол! Belem Buol
Samoan American Samoa, Samoa Sauniuni
Serbian Serbia Буди спреман
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! Be Prepared, 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! Taiyor bosh
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!, Будь готов Always Prepared
Tuvan Tuva Бэлэн бол! Become prepared Belen Bol
Urdu India, Pakistan ١ڶمستعد Teyar raho! Ready or Prepared Almustaid
Ukrainian Ukraine Будь Готовий! СКОБ! an acronym for Сильно! Красно! Обережно! Бистро! With Strength! With Beauty! With Care! With Speed! Bud' Hotovyi, Skob
Uyghur Xinjiang (PRC) تەييار بول Teyyar Bol
Uzbek Uzbekistan Tayyor bo‘l, Тайёр бўл Будь готов Tayor Bol
Vietnamese Vietnam Sắp Sẵn
Zarma Niger (Wa) soola Get ready

Similar mottoes in other organizations[edit]

  • The motto of the Young Pioneers, Always Prepared in various national languages, the Pioneers having been created as an alternative in countries under Communist rule where Scouting was banned
  • The motto of the United States Coast Guard, Semper Paratus or ever ready.

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. ^ Forbes, Cynthia. 1910... and then?.
  2. ^ "The Left Handshake: Foreword by Lord Rowallan". 1997-08-03. Archived from the original on 2007-10-13. Retrieved 2007-05-03.
  3. ^ "Motto Gerakan Pramuka".