After electing a new Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) or appointing new Patrol Leaders, some troops might want to conduct a special ceremony to acknowledge the change in leadership. Often, this is done through a scout “Swearing-in ceremony!”
What is a swearing-in ceremony? A Scouting swearing-in ceremony, also called an “Installation” or “Investiture” ceremony, is often held to symbolize the significance of a scout taking on a new troop leadership position. While not every troop holds swearing-in ceremonies, this quick ritual is a great way to convey the importance of the leadership roles, as well as to recognize the newly-appointed scouts.
PS. This article is based on the experiences and research of Eagle Scout, Kevin A and Cole 🙂
However, in many troops, the switching of SPL leadership is done without any sort of ceremony or special charges. This is because a newly-elected SPL only needs to verbally accept the position to officially take on the role. While swearing-in ceremonies are optional, I’d still highly recommend you do them. Keep reading because, in this article, I’m about to tell you why!
According to Scouts BSA, a leadership installation ceremony “acknowledges the importance of the troop’s elected leaders” and is done to “communicate to the Scout and their troop how special this opportunity is,” of serving as a troop leader. As scout leaders are the backbone of any troop, by holding a small ceremony to demonstrate the significance of their positions, these new leaders will take their roles all the more seriously!
Convinced yet that these ceremonies are important (and fun)? You will be! In this article, I’ll be teaching you everything you’ll need to know about leadership swearing-in ceremonies. Afterward, you’ll even be able to run one in your own troop!
Properly Conducting a Scout Leader Swearing-in Ceremony
As with many other aspects of Scouting, the way this swearing-in ceremony is performed is largely dependent on your troop’s preferences. Some troops light candles for their induction ceremonies, while other troops choose to simply have their new leaders take on a pledge.
Regardless of what your troop decides to do, the important part of a swearing-in ceremony is to be sincere and acknowledge the significance of the position. Like I said before, it’s critical that your troop have serious and driven leaders! An induction ceremony is a great way of starting off on the right foot. 🙂
After reading this quick article, I hope you’ll be inspired to plan a troop induction ceremony of your own! Now, it’s time to learn the key components of a great scout leader swearing-in ceremony...
Components of a Scout Leader Induction Ceremony
To hold a great swearing-in ceremony, there are only 3 components you’ll need:
1) The Presence of the Previous Term’s SPL and the New Term’s SPL
When holding your ceremony, be sure to include both the newly-elected SPL and the previously-elected SPL. Both of them being present signifies the “passing of the torch” from the last leadership term to the new term. It also allows the previous SPL to graciously relinquish their duties and receive thanks for their efforts.
2) A Symbol of Transferring Leadership
This symbol to pass on the leadership role can be anything from a candle to your troop’s flag (or patrol flag, if you’re changing patrol leaders, but want to keep your patrols intact). In my Troop, we had the previously-elected SPL bring the troop’s flag to the new SPL and recite a few words.
Here’s how it happened: The previously-elected SPL had the new SPL grab onto the flag, and then asked him if he’d be willing to fulfill the SPL position to the best of his abilities. Obviously, he said yes! After the newly-elected SPL confirmed the charge, the previously-elected SPL released the flag, signifying that the transfer of leadership was complete.
3. An Oath to Confirm One’s Commitment to Their Troop
There is no one “right” oath that a leader can take to be sworn into their role. It’s largely up to your troop and its members to decide on what sort of message you’d to convey during your own swearing-in ceremony. In the section below, I’ll be giving you an example of a swearing-in oath that your SPL could recite (Quoted from Scouts BSA).
Example Scout Swearing-in Ceremony Script
Senior Patrol Leader Installation
(The troop assembles in the “U” formation. The troop flag is positioned front and center. The current senior patrol leader calls the newly-elected senior patrol leader forward. They grasp the flagpole with their left hand.)
Current Senior Patrol Leader (to SPL Elect): With your left hand, take hold of the pole of our troop flag, above my hand. Give the Scout sign and repeat after me:
“I promise to do my best…
to be worthy of the office of senior patrol leader…
for the sake of my fellow Scouts and my Troop…
and in the World Brotherhood of Scouting.”
(Scoutmaster or an Assistant Scoutmaster then presents the new senior patrol leader with their SPL badge of office.)
Former Senior Patrol Leader: Would everyone please join me in giving our new senior patrol leader a big round of applause!
Patrol Leader Installation
(The troop assembles in a “U” formation. The troop flag is positioned front and center. The ASPL directs the new patrol leaders to gather around the Troop’s flag pole in a circle, and grasp it in their left hands.)
Assistant Senior Patrol Leader: “Troop, attention. The new patrol leaders are ready to be installed.”
Senior Patrol Leader: (steps closer to the new patrol leaders) “Give the Scout sign and repeat after me:”
“I promise to do my best…
to be worthy of the office of patrol leader…
for the sake of my fellow Scouts…
in my patrol and troop…
and in the World Brotherhood of Scouting.”
(The Scoutmaster or an Assistant Scoutmaster then presents the new patrol leaders with their badge of office.)
Senior Patrol Leader: Now, let’s give all of your new Patrol Leaders a big round of applause.
Keep in mind though, you don’t need to use those scripts word-for-word. In fact, I’d encourage you to add your own twist to make the moment even more significant for your new leaders! Great inductions lead to great patrol leaders and SPLs who take their roles seriously. Plus, a proper induction is also a lot of fun! 🙂
Great work reaching the end of this article! I hope you learned a lot and are now ready to hold an induction ceremony of your own following the next troop election. Speaking of SPL elections, you should also check out my article on How to Organize and Run an Engaging SPL Election! Having an election that everyone can get involved in is another great way to build troop spirit. 😉
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably an older scout who’s planning to either get into college or land a great job. I know that you can do it! To help you out on that journey, I want to humbly recommend two articles I’ve written for scouts exactly in your shoes: How To Write A Killer Eagle Scout College Essay and How to List Eagle Scout on Your Resume.
I truly hope these resources will help you to achieve your goals!
That’s all for this article! I hope you learned a lot of new and useful information. If you want to hold a troop swearing-in ceremony, I’d recommend you to share this post with your SPL and ASPL. I’m looking forward to seeing you here at ScoutSmarts again soon and, until next time, best of luck on your Scouting journey!