“Softly falls the light of day, As our campfire fades away.” Sung to the tune of ‘O Christmas Tree,’ The Scout Vespers song has become a powerful icon in Scouting. Whether it’s during a campfire ceremony, a court of honor, or just for some troop bonding, singing Scout Vespers is always a great time!
When I was a scout, at the end of every Court of Honor, we’d gather in a circle to sing the Scout Vespers. Although we only knew the first verse at the time, practically every member of my troop understood the significance of the song’s message and loved singing the Vesper.
You can listen to the youtube version of the song (2:00) here:
Softly falls the light of day,
As our campfire fades away.
Silently each Scout should ask,
“Have I done my daily task?
Have I kept my honor bright?
Can I guiltless sleep tonight?
Have I done and have I dared,
Everything to Be Prepared?”
Listen Lord, oh listen Lord,
As I whisper soft and low.
Bless my mom and bless my dad,
These are things that they should know.
I will keep my honor bright,
The Oath and Law will be my guide.
And Mom and Dad this you should know,
Deep in my heart I love you so.
Quietly we now will part,
Pledging ever in our heart,
To strive to do our best each day,
As we travel down life’s way.
Happiness we’ll try to give,
Trying a better life to live.
‘Til all the world be joined in love,
Living in peace under skies above.
There is also a third verse, that is omitted from the youtube version. It goes:
Quietly we join as one,
Thanking God for Scouting fun
May we now go on our way,
Thankful for another day.
May we always love and share,
Living in peace beyond compare.
As Scouts may we all find,
Friendships true with all mankind.
Vespers, the word, is often understood as being a solemn prayer or religious service in the late afternoon or early evening (According to Wikipedia and Dictionary.com). Similarly, the Scout Vespers song represents a reverent appreciation of Scouting at a day’s end.
The origin of the Scout Vespers song is unknown. No one seems to know when or by whom the song was written by. However, the earliest online mention of this classic song is on Youtube and dated to be from 1996.
Funnily enough, the Youtube video from 1996 displayed the same method of singing Scout Vespers, as we used in 2012 at my own troop. Goes to show, you don’t change what works!
How to Sing Scout Vespers in Your Own Troop
In your own troop, when singing Scout Vespers, try to create a significant experience. Stay solemn and really feel the weight of the song. Often, when I was a scout, we hummed the melody of the song following the end of the lyrics, but on really special occasions, we sang to the tune of a soundtrack.
If you would like to sing Scout Vespers alongside a soundtrack, here is a video that only plays the melody to this song:
Scout Vespers has become a song closely tied with the essence of Scouting. By taking a reverent approach when singing this song with your troop, you’ll be able to create a special experience. Even if you don’t see the value in singing Scout Vespers right now, trust me — one day you likely will!
Now that you know all of the words to Scout Vespers, bring it to your own troop if you don’t already sing it during special occasions! Personally, some of my fondest memories in Scouting come from sharing this beautiful song alongside my fellow scouts.