Scoutmaster Minute—The Scout Salute and Handshake

February 1, 2010

Cub Scout Salute

Our Scout salute and handshake are ancient signs of bravery and respect. Back in the days when George Washington was general of the Continental Army, men carried weapons for their protection. When they met one another there was an uneasy moment as each watched the other’s right hand. If it went toward his sword or gun, there was a battle, but if it went to his hat it was a salute of friendship or respect.

The left-handed shake comes to us from the Ashanti warriors whom Baden-Powell knew over a hundred years ago in South Africa. He saluted them with his right hand, but the Ashanti chieftains offered their left hands and said: “In our land only the bravest of the brave shake hands with the left hand, because to do so we must drop our shields and protection.”

The Ashanti knew of General Baden-Powell’s bravery, for they had fought both against him and with him, and they were proud to offer him the left-handed shake of bravery.

During February, we will honor the birthday of two brave men: General Washington, founder of our nation, and General Baden-Powell, founder of our Scouting movement. As you use the Scout salute and handshake, remember these two great men.

(from p.12 in BSA Troop Program Resources)

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