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Expect more to join Scouts — and that's a Promise

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: October 09, 2013

in the wild Chief Scout Bear Grylls and his son Marmaduke toast some marshmallows with Killay Explorer Scouts. SWgm20121007A-007_C

CHANGES to the Scouting joining promise which give youngsters an alternative to "doing their duty to God" have been welcomed by Scout leaders in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.

From January, new Scouts will be able to promise to "uphold our Scout values" instead, in a move designed to widen the appeal of the youth movement.

The new promise will exist alongside the original Scout promise, which has remained unchanged for 106 years.

Gareth Watson, area commissioner for Glamorgan West Scouts, welcomed the change.

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He said: "Put simply, it means more people than ever can join Scouting.

"We are committed to being an inclusive organisation and we have removed barriers that might prevent those who share our values from taking part.

"But none of this is as new as it sounds. For nearly 50 years we have offered an additional alternative Promise for those from other faiths that is relevant to their beliefs.

"In addition, non-UK citizens also do not have to give their allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen but to the country where they are living.

"Of course those who wish to continue to Promise to do their duty to their God can continue to do so. Part of Scouting's role is to help young people explore their faiths and beliefs."

The change follows a 10-month consultation with a range of organisations and religious faiths.

The alternative Scout promise reads: "On my honour I promise that I will do my best to uphold our scout values, to do my duty to the Queen, to help other people and to keep the Scout Law."

Membership of the Scouting movement across Britain is booming, with the number of Scouts up from 444,936 in 2005 to 536,787 this year — including 77,472 girls.

Last month the Guides dropped reference to God from their joining promise, following a consultation that found the movement needed to do more to include the non-religious and those of other faiths.

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