Front Cover


(Fédération du Scoutisme Européen)
British Association


Volume Four:

Rovers and Rangers

Issued by the Leaders' Council

January 2012

Registerd Address

c/o Nigel Wright Accounting
Branwell House
Park Lane
West Yorkshire
BD21 4QX

Copyright @ 2012 European Scout Federation

Open the Book

Rover Handbook




A substantial part of this handbook was originally taken from 'A Rover Scout  Handbook' published by the Middlesex Rover Scout Council in 1956.  We are most grateful to this now defunct body for providing such an excellent basis for this current Handbook.  Unfortunately, all efforts to contact former members of that Council have failed so we are using the medium of this publication to thank them for their contribution.

The Rover Section, originally compiled by the then H.Q. Commissioner for Rovers/Rangers, Geoff Griffiths, and the general handbook editor, Paul Hindle; the drawings are by Bob Downing.

The original text has been updated by Keith Garner, the H.Q. Commissioner for Rovers/Rangers with help from the 5th Lancashire Seminole Rover Crew.

This Rover and Ranger Handbook is dedicated to

the memories of:

Geoff Griffiths

HQ Commissioner Rovers Rangers

1974 – 1990


Keith Martin Garner

HQ Commissioner Rovers and Rangers

1993 – 2000




What is Scouting?

Scouting is fun, it is adventure, it is friendship, but above all, it is a game, indeed Baden-Powell introduced the early editions of his rulebook with the phrase "Rules and how to play the game of Scouting for boys".

Scouting is thus a game rather than a method of education; it is played by gangs of boys and provides them with skills and an active outdoor life.  This is why it is vital to keep the OUT in scOUTing.

There are worthwhile ideals in the Scout Law and Promise, and an encouragement towards serving the community.  Scouting breeds men of character, strong, healthy, self-reliant, and, above all, good citizens.

This is Scouting.

This is its rulebook;
use it wisely.

May I, on behalf of all your Commissioners and Officers, trust that you will enjoy your days in Scouting and that we will see you for many years to come within the Scouting Movement.

Yours in Scouting,

Tony Ward

National Commissioner.

March  2000.



This handbook is not written to save Rovers the trouble of thinking for themselves; rather it is to give them the essential background knowledge to do their own thinking usefully.  It is also to help them to differentiate between the essentials of Rover Scouting and its trimmings.

The fundamentals of one Rover Crew must be identical with the fundamentals of another Rover Crew, for they are of one brotherhood.  However, the trimmings may vary enormously - with great advantage - if they do not obscure or swamp the fundamentals.

The pages of this book therefore spotlight the essential factors.  The trimmings will only be lightly touched upon for it is there that the RSL has a great opportunity to encourage the Crew to think for themselves.

The Rover Scout Leader (RSL) is not the 'maid of all work' for the Crew; the Crew is there to do that, under the leadership and supervision of the Rover Mate.  The RSL is the Skipper and Helmsman whose job it is to see that the Crew knows its objectives, and that the ship keeps on course.

The greatest responsibility of the RSL arises from the fact the standards of their Crew, and the level of its traditions, and future of their Rovers, depends largely on the personal example they set in their own lives.

The great need of Rover Scouting is for good Leaders.  To be a Rover Leader requires moral guts.  It presents a great challenge to which the ordinary average person can rise.  Many a person has found the moral and spiritual values and standards, which they had almost forgotten, reborn in themselves because of leading a Rover Crew.

It seems a very appropriate to remind all those who are charged with running a Rover Scout Crew, that Rovering has never departed from certain fundamental principles since its inception.  Those who serve Rover Scouting in any way at, and that includes Commissioners, Group Scoutmasters, and Rovers themselves (who see their Group as a complete entity) would do well to remember this.

The basic ideas that lie behind Rover Scouting have not changed, and we need to be reminded of them at all times.  This handbook serves to reinforce with that which lies at the very heart of Rover Scouting.

The following are extracts from the Founder's book, ROVERING TO SUCCESS, written in 1922.

"Rover Scouts are a brotherhood of the Open Air and Service.  They are Hikers on the Open Road and Campers of the Woods, able to shift for themselves, but equally able and ready to be of some service to others.  They are in fact a senior branch of the Boy Scout Movement - young men of over sixteen years of age."

The four main aims of the Scout training in Woodcraft are to develop:

It is not simply a Brotherhood, - it is a jolly Brotherhood - with camaraderie specific to its members who enjoy its camp comradeship, its uniform, and its 'dens' or meeting wherever they be throughout the world.

Since Rovering can be considered, in a way, as a 'brotherhood of wanderers', members can extend their travels to foreign parts with confidence, knowing that spiritual brothers will be found in almost all other countries on earth.  Such comradeship engenders with Brother Scouts of other nationalities.

This side of our movement is not only interesting and educative; it is also going to make a real difference in ensuring the future peace of the world through mutual goodwill.

The object of the Rover Scout training is to enable young men to develop themselves as happy, healthy, and useful citizens, and to give each his chance of making a useful career for himself

It gives the older boy an aim for remaining under helpful influence at a difficult time of his life when he is just entering on manhood.

Ranger Scouts

Although the Federation of Scouts in Europe (F.S.E) provides separate facilities for both males and females in Scouting, female members are provided with their own title of Ranger Scouts.  Throughout most literature on Rovering, the Rangers are acknowledged as being on parity with boys and men in respect of the philosophy of the Scouting movement.  With this in mind, it was decided to write this Handbook to provide for both genders using 'Rovers' as the generic term.  In general, what is stated for Rovers applies mutatis mutandis to Ranger Scouts.



The day B-P started Scouting for Boys, Rover Scouting became inevitable.  It is in the course of nature boys grow up.  Rover Scouting is the completion of that process.

It must never be forgotten that B-P started 'Scouting for Boys' with the sole idea of demonstrating leadership for growing men.  B-P's life had been with young men, and as a leader of men.  Experience had taught him that the qualities of true manhood could be developed, by the right training, in very ordinary men - youngsters as well as adults.  He thought how much finer and more useful a man's life could be if these qualities were developed in his boyhood instead of just hoping they would 'arrive' with manhood.  Rover Scouting is the finishing process in growing boys into men.

The phenomenal success that attended the almost accidental introduction of Scouting for Boys, not unnaturally resulted in a concentration on the immediate needs of contemporary youth that it initially swamped the ultimate aim.  At first this did not matter because however precocious the younger generation may be, it still has to grow up in order to reach adulthood.

As the years passed, and the first of the new 'Boy Scouts' matured, along came the First World War.  It was at the end of that war that the need for something for young men within the Scout Movement became suddenly and startling obvious.  Apart from boys who had grown up through the Movement, and who were just young enough to miss being called up for service in the war, there were a great number of Scouts who returned from service determined to carry on with their scouting.  As is always bound to be the case, only a few had the special gifts needed to become a Scouter.  In a number of cases, had the number of warrant requests from some Scout Troops been granted, there could easily have been the spectacle of a Scouter for every two or three boys!

However, many of these good men wanted to return to the comradeship, companionship, and source of moral leadership that they had previously enjoyed.  They felt the need of the idealism they saw in Scouting to help them adjust to civilian life after the harsh, regimented, - yet somehow lawless - life on the battlefield.  After the horrors and tribulations of war, whether participated in actively or not, the life of the layman seemed distinctly dull and unadventurous.  Something had to be done to provide a stimulus for youth.

The initial provision for the older Boy Scout was in the form of a facility for Senior Scouts – and this was their title.

They were distinguished on their uniform by the issue of red coloured shoulder epaulettes.  These Senior Scouts spent considerable portions of their time in specialist activities such as cycling weekends or any other activity of the age that appealed.  However, there was no programme, no specific purpose, or goal.  There was a distinct lack of objectivity, such that interest soon began to wane; being a Senior Scout involved no more commitment than becoming a member of a youth club.  Somehow, they did not quite fit.  The Senior Scout Crew of that era was largely little more than a dustbin for older boys from the Scout troop.

After B-P's startling discovery of what now seems obvious – that by following the concepts of honour and chivalry, exemplified by the Knights of Old, Scouting could open the gateway of life for young men, and teach them how to travel its road.  This could provide the goal, fill the void, and provide the route to good citizenship.  There then came the idea of the Rover Scout – identified by his green epaulettes – this soon became emblem that spread over half the world.  Rover Scouting attracted to itself a glory all its own.  Then, too, appeared Rovering to Success.  This, it must always be remembered, is not a handbook on Rover Scouting, it is a handbook on life for Rover Scouts.

By the year 1930, Rover Scouting had taken form and established its purpose.  The first half of that decade was a great period followed, unhappily, by a 'woolliness' that slowly seemed to envelop Rovering.  It become so well established and entrenched that people forgot the need for constructive thinking, men were expected to be good RSL just as a matter of course without much need for effort or guidance.  Training in 'Scouting for Boys' was deemed adequate for leaders of men, such that the extraordinary became of more account than solid spadework.  Pub-crawls were accounted glorious, and the spiritual implications of Rover Scouting were increasingly ignored.  An unconscious degeneration had set in which went, for the most part, unrecognised, and the few who saw and voiced their fears were laughed to seem.  Rovering was developing a front wheel wobble.

At the onset of World War 2., whole Crews of Rovers disappeared into the services.  Indeed, very few Crews survived.  Only where there was a combination of devoted leadership, and good luck, could Crews remain effective entities in those days.  World War 11 struck a crippling blow at Rover Scouting, by all miles of logic should have killed it dead.

However, there are spiritual values in Rover Scouting and spiritual values do not just die.  Therefore, with the end of the war, and in spite of the handicap of National Service, Rover Scouting again began to grow because it filled a need that nothing else filled so well.  Rovering is a very tough and hardy plant which, having lost its roots during the war, struggled to compete with other activities In many cases it made the mistake of trying to compete on their terms- Rover Crews became social clubs or mountaineering clubs, instead of trying to offer the way of life that is at the heart of Rovering.  The Boy Scouts Association pruned the Rover Section, principally by introducing an upper age limit, and eventually, in the Advance Party Report of 1966, replaced Senior Scouts and Rover Scouts by Venture Scouts, covering only the age range of up to 21 years.

This is not the place to indulge in a discussion of the rights or wrongs of this decision, but it is certainly true that it encouraged Rovers to look to other Scouting organisations for their Rovering.

The nature of Rover Scouting springs from its history.  That is why this handbook starts with the story of Rovering.  Without knowing something of how it all started, you cannot hope to understand its meaning and purpose.

Rover Scouting as we have seen, is Scouting for adults.  It is not an athletic club, debating society, a camping club, a hobby or a dramatic society; it is away of life.  The Rover Crew in its activities will touch upon all these things and many others in order to widen the vision of its members and enlarge their knowledge.  However, this must never be allowed to obscure the fundamental fact that Rovering is a way of life.

The function of Rovering is to open the gateway of life, and to teach young people to walk the road; to help them over that awkward path during which they have to learn to apply their Scouting ideals that enshrine eternal values in a less than perfect world.

The Rover Crew must inject a steady stream of people imbued with the Scout spirit into society.  It follows therefore that Rovering is intended for young people.  This must never be forgotten.  There is no upper age limit and none was envisaged by B-P.  However, it must be remembered that older Crew members are able to contribute invaluable guidance and experience to younger members of the Crew.  They give the crew character, and lend wisdom and experience to its councils and debates.  They also and help the crew to develop a balanced approach.

A well-balanced Rover Crew exists to serve the community and evolves through the process of squireship.  Just as the three points of the badge, and the three fingers of the sign, remind all members of the brotherhood of the three clauses of the promise, they also remind Rovers of the three essential elements of Rovering:

Rovering is for Adults

Rovering is a School of Good Citizenship

Rovering is a Way of life

Let us examine briefly these three elements of our role.

Rover Scouting is SCOUTING FOR ADULTS.  It is the logical and inevitable result of Scouting for Boys.  When a youth passes into a Rover Crew, he passes from childhood to adulthood; from training to development and service; from a child's game to a way of life.

This is where real Scouting starts; the rest has been a preparation for this.  To adapt some very famous words: A Rover's Investiture 'is not the Beginning of the End but the End of the Beginning' of his Scouting.  Their character is formed and they apply the principles learned in life.

Members of a well-balanced Rover Crew should work to support each other in difficult times through their various experiences.  This does not happen very much in an entirely new Crew, where the whole burden of this task necessarily falls on the RSL, but where the Rovers themselves are faced with the challenge of being pioneers.  They establish worthy Crew traditions, and build for the future.  Sincerity and persistence will carry them over their own immediate problems.  The RSL of a new Crew is all too often swamped out with the importance of the immediate, that they neither think nor plan for the future themselves, nor inspire their Crew members with this idea.

Being a pioneer is always tough, but it has a thrill of its own.  Every Crew has to start somewhere and unless the first members can be imbued with a true pioneering spirit, the Crew will fade away and die.  Nevertheless, if the founders of a Crew seize upon this notion, and then that Crew will go on to continue and thrive.  Each succeeding generation will accept its turn of holding the twin torch of Quest and Service in the name of Rover scouting and proudly hand over responsibility to the following generation in their turn.

Rover Scouts are adult Scouts.  They are not simply great big happy overgrown schoolchildren.  The fact that they sometimes tend to 'let their hair down' when they get together is no contradiction.  Since time immemorial adults much older than the average Rover has behaved similarly – and long may they continue to do so!.  So treat your Rovers as adults, make them face their problems as adults and make sure that having promised to apply the Scout Law to their lives as adults, they do just that.

Rover Scouting is a SCHOOL OF GOOD CITIZENSHIP.  It is the function of Rover Scouting to produce a good sample of citizens, well informed, able to think for themselves, of balanced judgement, with firm convictions, healthy in body and mind.

The Crew programme must serve this end.

The desired end is achieved rather as undergraduates at university help to educate each other by social intercourse and by living and arguing together, and by participating in a wide variety of activities chosen by them.  It is not so much achieved by a set syllabus of badge work - as in Scouting - or by a specific course of training.

The young Squire in the earliest days in the crew should be provided with as much physical and mental activity as possible.  Squireship is the first part of a general process of converting youthful ideals into a practicality of life.

B-P called the business of young adults adjusting themselves to life, 'finding themselves'.  The first essential task of the RSL and his Crew is gently and tactfully to form them into a self reliant and considerate member of society.

A new Rover should be encouraged to digest information and form their own judgements and opinions on all aspects of citizenship.  In the field of citizenship, it is the function of the Crew to widen the interests and the outlook of its Rovers.  The more they know the better.  At the same time, any natural flair that appears because of these activities, must be encouraged, developed, and used in the life of the Crew.

Rover Scouting is A WAY OF LIFE.  It is a very personal business going deep down into the roots of the soul and is the development of a complete and balanced life in an adult.

Rover Scouting aims at the consistent and balanced development so that we as Rovers may be a real strength to the community.  It is to fulfil an aim that the Crew exists, and this must always be the central idea in building up the Crew programme.

Therefore, you see that Rover Scouting is essentially a very personal business.  It is an adult's private life.  The Crew is there to provide the stimulus of corporate activity, the corrective of corporate responsibility, help, and encouragement in personal difficulties, and a steadying influence in times of success.

However, it is in the individual Rover that this way of life must be fostered.  It is our job to train and educate each Crew member that it becomes a very part of every one.  When, in due course, the other claims of life draw him away from active association with the Crew, he will still live a complete, well balanced, and respectable life.

As we shall see later, it is not the duty of the RSL to arrange the Crew programme.  It is, however, a very vital duty to ensure that the programme serves the steady, balanced, development of the life of their Rovers.  They must make quite sure that the programme does not get too top-heavy in one direction, or become under-nourished, in any one of these three essentials of true adulthood.  Always remember the words of B-P when interpreting the Scout Law for young men.  "The term Rover Scout stands for a true man and a good citizen".

Useful Books

Most books on Rovering have long been out of print but you can often obtain copies through libraries, or from other Groups or Crews:

A good online resource called "The Dump" has an excellent choice of Rover books in pdf format just Click Here to check it out.

Baden-Powell, R.S.S., Scouting for Boys (1908)

Baden-Powell, R.S.S., Rovering to Success (1922)

Boy Scouts Association, Running a Rover Crew (1961)

Cox J., Ideas for Rover Scouts (1955)

Gilcraft, Rover Scouts (1933)

Hillcourt, W., Baden-Powell: Two Lives of a Hero (1964)

Reynolds, E.E., Baden-Powell (1942)

The Rover Squire


Squire Training

In his excellent book, Ideas for- Rover Scouts, Jack Cox states, "One point is clear.  The Rover Squire is the most important person in the Rover Scouting".  It is the failure to realise the truth in this statement that has caused, the rot to set in, in many Rover Crews.  This has resulted in a lack of appeal in Rovering to many of the splendid Scouts we produce.

Before considering the actual mechanics of training, it is wise to comment briefly on conditions of entry.  In many Crews, entry into the Rover Section is far too easy.  We are so glad in these days of small Crews to get a new member that we forget certain standards are required.  The conditions of entry do not imply an automatic acceptance.  In fact, the approval of the GSM, the RSL, and the Crew must be obtained before any person is accepted as a squire.  This acceptance should be regarded as an honour to be gained, rather than as a casual right of entry as is so often the case today.

Rover Scouting is primarily a challenge to living Spiritually, Mentally, and Physically, and it is in this spirit that it should be given and accepted.

The object of Squire training is to help the Squire to understand what Rovering is, and to decide if it is to be his way of living.  It should enable him to consider and answer the Vigil questions truthfully, and prepare him for Investiture.  Finally, it gives the Crew the opportunity to decide if, in their opinion, and from their own observations and from the reports of their sponsors they will make a good Rover who is worthy of Investiture.

Broadly speaking, we are concerned with two distinct types of Rover Squires:

The person who moves from the Scout Troop into the Crew.

The person who discovers Scouting for the first time as a Rover or who may have been a Cub or Scout several years previously but whose Scouting background is rather sketchy.

With those who have graduated from the Troop, who have made the Scout Promise, have some sense of obligation, and who have travelled some way along the training trail.  our main objective is to see that they appreciate Scouting from the standpoint of a young adult rather than a young child.  They must realise that Rovering is not 'Boy' Scouting for 'Men'.  Their practical activities, camping, hiking, woodcraft, etc. must be of the highest standard.  Primarily they must be made to understand that Rovering is an aid to the adventure of living a full life as a young adult.  With regard to the other class of Squire, a person who comes into Scouting for the first time, or who returns after a lapse of years, we cannot assume that the open-air activities of Scouting are going to appeal.  It is futile to bring into Rover Scouting people who do not like the sort of things that we expect of our Rovers.

The 'out-door' and exercise must play an important part of Rovering because it is a valuable 'corrective' in order to achieve balance in living, it is considered, vital.

It is here that real responsibility and leadership starts.  The RSL by friendly chats, must find out all they can about the Squire's background.  Their home, their friends, their work, their sport, their aspirations, their likes, and dislikes - all should gradually emerge.  From this the RSL should be able to judge their deficiencies and when planning seek to give balance to the person's development.  At this stage, the first seeds of a worthwhile friendship are planted.  From these preliminary chats, the RSL may suggest to the Crew one or two Sponsors whom he feels will most adequately meet the needs of the Squire, bearing in mind that the Squire may like one particular Rover as a Sponsor.

Whether there should be one or two sponsors, and whether one should be an older Rover or one who is approximately the same age as the Squire, these decisions must be left to the Crew and the Rover Leader.  The fundamentals as to their duties are the same.  Sponsoring is at some time the responsibility and the duty of every invested Rover.  It is the most satisfying and at times the most disillusioning of all tasks.  It must not be entered into light heartedly as a spare time activity.  The Sponsor must be briefed and guided by the Rover Leader; the Rover Leader and Sponsor should communicate and share their confidences irrespective of the Squire.  The Sponsor must be willing to give time to the job.  It cannot be done in an odd half-hour a week.  The Sponsor must share activities with the Squire, if new to Scouting, to teach them Scoutcraft; in fact to be the elder brother and to teach by example rather than precept.

It may be mentioned here that it is the custom in many successful Crews to have a short simple ceremony when a young person is admitted as a Rover Squire.  Such a ceremony definitely marks in the mind the participating person's first step in Rover Scouting centring, as it should, on the Squire's shoulder knot.  The form of ceremony is a matter for the Crew, but simplicity and sincerity should be the keynotes (See Appendix 2).

The Squire's own training must be mapped out.  Following an introductory talk by the Rover Leader, the Squire starts on his 'Personal Training'.  Foremost he must consider his Duty to his God, without which all else fails.

It is wise to point out to them from the common sense point of view that this is not a 'Must' simply because it is part of the Scout Law.  Rather, as a young man, unless they get their sights clear on this, they cannot know where they are going.

They should read and consider 'Scouting for Boys' and 'Rovering to Success' and discuss these with their sponsors and Rover Leader.

Should they not only seek to understand the Law and Promise from a young person's point of view, but also honestly try to apply them in a spirit of unselfish service.

It must be remembered, and this cannot be emphasised too strongly,  the Squire is young and healthy and the many activities they started as a Scout need satisfying.  Far too many grand youngsters are deterred from Rovering by thinking it is purely a talking shop and Rovers just sit around in a fuggy den doing nothing but smoking and yarning.  The Squire's outdoor activities must be planned, with a purpose, and the standard arrived at should be much higher than that in any other section of the Scouting Movement.  Here the Sponsor must play a large part ... probably to their own benefit.

On the practical side, the Squire must prove his acceptance of obligation to the Movement by giving a minimum of three months service to the community (in or out of the Movement).  Three months is the minimum period required by Sponsors to prepare a Squire for Investiture, but generally, a longer period - up to nine months - is desired.  The exact time is quite elastic, depending upon the discretion of the Sponsors and the RSL, the custom of the Crew and, of course, the aptitude of the particular Squire.

The importance of all this preparation cannot be emphasised too strongly.  On its success depends whether the young person puts down his roots deeply enough for Rovering to mean anything to them.  It also impinges on whether Rovering comes to mean something more to them than a mere child's game for grown ups, as BP intended it to mean.

The Vigil and Investiture

It is vital that there is a good appreciation of the true significance of both the Vigil and the Investiture.  Dignity and an impressive presentation are essential to engender a sense of real help to the Squire.  On the other hand, over dramatisation of a ceremony invested with artificial symbolism and petty pageantry can be nauseating to any healthy young person.  Furthermore, it is quite alien to the intention of BP.  He suggested a parallel with the great age of English chivalry on which we can draw with advantage, provided we use common sense.  The value of the historic comparison must be explained to the Squire so that he may interpret the meaning to modern needs and conditions.

It must be remembered that the Vigil must ultimately be of more value to the Squire than the Investiture, which is merely the outward symbol of the decision they took in the Vigil.

The Rover Leader who should point out the danger of self-delusion - 'bluffing' themselves, must explain the importance of the vigil.  To bluff the Rover Leader is bad enough, but to bluff themselves is plainly foolish.  On the other hand, the Squire must realise that the most we can expect is honest endeavour and intention.  Provided that they fully accept this concept, they should not be 'put-off' by feeling that the standards expected are beyond them that they are too representative of 'perfection' for them.

The actual time and place of the vigil must be left to the Squire, provided they understand it is not something to fit in on any spare ten minutes.  The place can be in the Rover Den, their church or even a county walk or mountain hike, provided they have privacy.  Some Crews have a tradition of using their own Crew chapel and fixing a time.  The decision must be left to the Squire.

After the vigil, the sponsor(s) and the Rover Leader should be available to answer any questions and give advice, but they must never indulge in cross-examination.  A friendly chat achieves the best results.

At the Investiture any meaningless esoteric ceremonies, must be avoided at all costs.  However, it is entirely right and proper for a Crew to have variations of a minor character, and which form part of the traditions of that Crew.  Simplicity and dignity should mark the ceremony in order that it may mean something to both the Squire and to all the other members of the Crew to confirm the bond of unity and brotherhood.

If possible, it is wise to invest only one Squire at a time, although circumstances may occasionally enforce some modification of that principle.  Anything in the nature of a mass Investiture should be avoided.

The Investiture marks the end of one phase in Rover Scouting.  It is the foundation on which we build.  Without it Rover Scouting will die.  It must be remembered that it is the "end of the beginning" and not the "beginning of the end".

An outline for the vigil and the usual form of the Investiture appear in Appendix 2.

Rover Duties


Duty to God

First, we start from the principle laid down by the Founder that every member of the Scout Movement must be an active member of some religious body.  It is not enough to see "Duty to God" as a set of vague aspirations to a code of decent behaviour.  Second, we have to recognise the practical point that many a young person does not want to start, or does not know how to start the practise of religion.  We recognise that one of the functions of a good Rover Crew is to help Squires not only in the process of 'finding themselves' but also of finding, faith.

What is faith?  Faith is not something tangible, you cannot touch it, see it, feel it or hear it.  It is belief in God.  So, what does this mean in the life of a Rover Squire?  One of the key roles of the RSL is to encourage Rover Squires to discover and develop a personal relationship with God.

True faith comes from this relationship; ask God, and he will show you how he wants you to live your life.  People who live their lives according to God's purpose would be described as "Godly".  So how else could you describe a person who is Godly?  A Godly person loves his neighbour, and does not bear grudges.  They seek reconciliation and are willing to forgive others who have hurt them.  They respect the opinions of other people, though they may not agree with them.  They are responsible for their own lives, and do not blame others for their own mistakes.  They are honest, even if honesty is painful.  They are also loyal; and can be counted on to meet their obligations and keep their promises.  Godly people also have a purpose in life that might be described as one of service over self-interest.  They build friendships with people; because what is faith other than making friends with God.

There is little need to emphasise the inherent need for a religious basis of Scouting though it is not unreasonable to remind all Rovers that it is the duty of every Rover to understand and to uphold his faith as zealously as he upholds the principles of camping and woodcraft.  Religion is part of Scouting, and is founded on a mutual appreciation and tolerance of other forms of faith and practice.  The Federation is DENOMINATIONAL, not UN-DENOMINATIONAL.  There are a number of excellent books published on this complex subject and it is hoped that every Rover Squire in view of his Law and Promise, will make an effort to study some of these books.

Duty to the Community

Baden-Powell saw that service was in layers that built up, as it were, into a pyramid.


A Rover's duty is to prepare himself for his career, to be the utmost possible use to others.




In all of these where loyalties may be hard to balance, the RSL must be ready to guide his Rovers when they need him.  Let us examine these four layers of the pyramid more closely.

First, the Rover on the one hand avoids neglecting his duties by spending too much time on other service.  The ninth Scout Law applied to this time is very relevant here, but thrifty they may be, they may largely have to confine themselves to study.  If so, they will be engaged in the same grind after investiture as before, but for a different reason and from a different motive.

On the other hand, a selfish concentration on their own interests must be avoided at all costs, for that would be the negation of the Scout spirit.  The RSL must help here by fostering a sense of duty in their Rovers to their peers and a sense of vocation to a career, helping their Rovers to seek a life work to which they are "called" and not just the job with the highest pay.

Second, the Family, The young Rovers owe a duty to their parents or guardian whoever may need them to a greater or lesser degree.  They owe a duty to their friends too, and this must be recognised by the RSL and the Crew.  The young Rover must not be pressed into duties that would hinder them in the all-important service of building up a new family and outside activities.  Nor should they take the young Rover away on their own too frequently.

There will be some activities, of course, that the young person can jointly share, e.g. the group show, social evenings, binges, running a Cub pack and so on.  After a couple of years, it may be wise to undertake more outside service.  However, this may not be possible until the family is older.  Here is an opportunity for the wife of an RSL to input pearls of wisdom.  The well run Crew will have some functions, say once a year or once a quarter, to which married Rovers are especially invited.  There will others for spouses, friends, and the non-scouting fraternity. These will help to keep the Rover spirit and many Crews have members who have returned to "active service" after 6 or 7 years".

Third, service within the Movement.  It is too easy to say, "not every Rover has both time and talent for a warrant".  Most have and if every Rover, as a matter of course, did 2 years service as a Scouter then the Scouter shortage would be overcome.  For those who genuinely do not have the time or talents for warrant jobs, there are numerous other activities with which to become involved.  Some examples: Scout Venturer badge or Pioneer badge courses to run, sports and swimming galas to organise, group magazines to edit, print and distribute, in addition to group shows, bazaars and jumble sales, - to name but a few.

Only those who have had to organise such activities can appreciate the value of having helpers that have grown up in the movement, and who understand its ways.  Lay helpers are, of course, of tremendous value but by the very nature of things, have to have so much explained to them, that they create their own complications.  The active scout already knows what is required of him.

Service to the Community at large.  Here the scope is endless.  A Rover organised blood donors for the first Blood Transfusion Service.  Rovers were in the majority amongst the first donors, but there are many other opportunities.  Every Province Commissioner and GSM get several calls a month for social help, for example, Flag Days, collection of clothes for Refugees, manning a cinema for a charity performance and so on.  While the RSL must obviously give a great deal of thought to service, both in personal and corporate terms in respect of the Crew, they must never forget that these arranged activities are merely exercises designed to develop the potentialities of their Rovers.  It is not the function of the RSL, nor the function of the Crew, to act as a clearinghouse for neighbourhood odd jobs.  It is a function of the RSL and Crew to grow individuals with a nose for need, a will to serve, and the ability to help.

The Rover Promise

On my Honour - Your honour must be a very sacred thing to you.  It rules your conduct as a person.  It determines your trustworthiness, and is a dictate that you do what you know is right, fair and honourable.  Your honour is your word.

I promise - This particular promise is a solemn undertaking that should not be made lightly – even less so by an adult.  Think very carefully before making a promise – and more specifically the Scout promise – as you are honour bound to adhere to it.  Mean what you say so that your promise can be trusted.

To do my best - This means that though circumstances may hinder you from doing it as completely as you would wish, you will not fail through lack of trying.

Duty to God - What is your duty to God?  To put it briefly, it would seem to be to try in the first place to realise the nature of God.  Secondly, it is to develop and use, for good purpose only, the body, which He has lent to you.  It is your duty to your God to develop the talents of mind and body that He has bestowed on you, and to cultivate the spirit of love and goodwill to others by continual practice.  The part of your God that is within you is your soul.  Only you and your God know your truth.

The Queen, my Country and Europe - That is to your country, under the leadership constituted by the will of the majority, and to our wider international links.

To help other people at all times - Put into constant, active practise the divine law – love thy neighbour as thyself.

And to obey the Scout Law - To obey the Scout Law does not mean to sit down passively in a state of goodness.  To obey the Scout Law is to apply the spirit of the law with a view to improving not only your own character, but to set an example to others.  Exercise love for your fellow man in all your daily doings.

The Scout Law

The term Rover Scout stands for a true person and a good citizen.  The Law for Rover Scouts is the same as for Scouts in wording and principle, but has to be viewed from a more adult perspective.  In both cases the principle that underlies the Scout Law knocks out 'Self' and puts in 'Goodwill' and 'Helpfulness to Others'.

1. A Scout's Honour is to be trusted

As a Rover Scout, no temptation, however great or however secret, should persuade you to do a dishonest or shady action, no matter however apparently insignificant.  You will not go back on a promise once made.

'A Rover's word is his bond'
'The Truth, nothing but the Truth, for the Rover Scout'

2 . A Scout is loyal to the Queen, Country, Scouters, Parents, Employers and those under them.

As a good citizen, you are one of a team 'playing the game' honestly for the good of the whole.  You can be relied upon by your Countrymen, your fellow Scouts, the Scout Movement, by your friends and fellow workers, and by your employers and employees – everybody in fact who has a right to rely on you.  They must be able to rely on you to do your best, and to do what you know is right, even though that may not always quite come up to what you would like.  Furthermore, you are loyal to yourself; you will not compromise your self-respect by merely playing the game meanly.  Nor will you let others down.

3. A Scouts Duty is to be Useful and to Help Others.

As a Rover Scout, your highest aim is SERVICE.  You can be relied upon at all times to be ready to sacrifice time, trouble, or, if need be, life itself for others.

4. A Scout is a friend to all, and a brother to every other Scout no matter to what country, class or creed the other belongs.

As a Rover Scout, you recognise that your neighbour is, like yourself, the son of the same Father.  You must disregard differences of opinion, or race, creed or country.  You must suppress your prejudices and allow the other party their opinion.  Everybody is entitled to be wrong, and it is not divined that you are always right.  Keep your faith, but allow others theirs.  Find out their good points; be blind to their  bad ones.  Exercising love, compassion, and tolerance of others can only help in the search for international peace and goodwill.  This can only help in the quest to bring about international peace and goodwill, that is God's Kingdom on earth.

'All the world is a Brotherhood'

5 . A Scout is Courteous.

As a Rover Scout you are expected – indeed required – to exercise time honoured chivalry to others:  politeness and consideration to all  - men, women and children alike.  However, more than this, you are polite also to those in opposition to you.  'Whoever is in the right need not lose his temper: whoever is in the wrong cannot afford to.

6. A Scout is Friend to Animals, and to all other created things.

You will recognise the right of all other creatures placed on this planet by the Creator to their time on earth and to enjoy their existence.  To ill-treat an animal is a disservice to the Creator, and an obscenity to society.

'A Rover Scout is generous'

7. A Scout obeys orders of his Parents, Patrol Leader or Scoutmaster, without question.

As a Rover Scout, you must discipline yourself and render yourself ready and willing in the service of properly constituted authority.  The best-disciplined community is the happiest community.  However, discipline must come from within; it cannot simply be imposed.  Hence, the example you set to others in the application of your self and corporate discipline is of paramount importance.

8. A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties.

As a Rover Scout you will be looked up to as the adult who will keep his head, and to 'stand up and be counted' with courage and strength when the flack is flying. 

To quote from Kipling's 'IF':
'If you can keep your head when all about you, are losing theirs and blaming you.
... You'll be a man, my son'

9 . A Scout is Thrifty.

As a Rover Scout, you will look ahead.  You will resist the temptation to fritter away time or money on present pleasures, but rather make use of present opportunities with a view to ulterior success.  You do this with idea of not being a burden, but a help to others.

10 . A Scout is clean in Thought, Word and Deed.

As a Rover Scout you are expected to be not only clean minded, but clean willed; You should set a standard to others as being a clean living, wholesome, honest and honourable citizen whose leadership and set an example to which others are encouraged to aspire.

There is an unwritten eleventh Scout Law

– To whit, 'A Scout is no fool'.

One would hope that this should not really be necessary as a code for Rover Scouts.  Still, as a Rover Scout, you have to remember that in crossing the threshold from youth to adult you are no longer learning to carry out the Scout Law, you are putting it into practice in the conduct of your life.

More importantly, you are now responsible for setting an example for others.  This can be for better or worse, depending on whether or not you model your conduct on the Law, and how far you obey The Promise.

The Quest

Baden-Powell, speaking in the early days of Rovering, issued the following challenge: "I look to you chaps to be the knights of the twentieth century".  So let us just look at these 'Knights' and see what manner of men they were, and what they did to inspire the respect and admiration of so many succeeding Generations.

They had two main pre-occupations, exactly as we have - The Quest, and Service.  Over the years their Service has attracted rather more attention than their Quest.  Their Service was to help the helpless, to defend the oppressed, to fight evil in whatever form they found it, whether man or beast.  If someone needed their aid, the Knights responded regardless of their own welfare, comfort, convenience or safety.  The driving force behind their Service was their Quest.  A knight's Service was a by-product of his knighthood.  His Quest was the very heart and core of his business.

Exactly what was the Quest of these Knights of Old? 

They had but one - the Quest of the Holy Grail. 

Legend had it that that the Holy Grail would only be found by a Knight who was perfect in the sight of God.  Consequently, it was the duty of each Knight to make himself perfect before God so that he might be found worthy to see the Holy Grail.  The Quest of the Knight therefore, was the Quest of personal perfection, and as such, it was a Quest that he was under obligation to pursue to his life's end.  Likewise, the Quest of every true Rover Scout today is the Quest for personal perfection.

If you think that the above might be a bit 'over the top' with respect to the youth of today, you only have to have a second look at the Scout Law and Promise.

Every Scout, from the date of his Investiture, has, by the very act of making his Promise, committed himself towards the Quest of self-improvement.  He may not have seen things in this light initially, but that is what the Promise is – an obligation to become a better person in society.  In other words, The Promise is a Quest to become perfect.

It is maybe right and psychology sound that the Quest should at first be unwitting.  Certainly as a child because it could appear to be too daunting and onerous a task to be perfect when you are little, and still learning who you are.  Nevertheless, a young adult must learn responsibility for his actions, and to be aware of the influence of his actions on others.  They must have an awareness of their objectives in life, how far they are on in life's journey at the present time; they must know where they are going in life and how they are going to get there.  Only by setting objectives and standards for themselves can they hope to make progress towards becoming a better person. 

What 'is in it for them' in becoming 'perfect' - satisfaction, a sense of achievement, self-confidence, and a true sense of self-worth.  They become someone they can be proud of being.  That, briefly, is the Quest of the Rover Scout.

The Quest is not to be confused with Service: the Quest is the search for personal spiritual enlightenment.  Rovering is a brotherhood of Service that has survived thus far because, wittingly or unwittingly, most of us are on a Quest in some degree or other.  Rovering is Scouting for adults.  These adults should know where they are going, how they are going to get there, and how they can check their progress.

It was part of the genius of B-P that Scouting has always been supremely practical.  A child is not required to be a paragon of virtue, but to 'do their best' to live in a certain way.  On reaching maturity it is natural that they should be expected to apply the ideals they have learned to the wider and much more complicated adult world.  This is not easy.  It requires a considerable stimulus to keep us on the trail..

Rover Scouting, like Scouting for young people, is eminently practical.  It recognises that without a stimulus the struggle to maintain and improve one standard will gradually diminish, and may die.  It recognises also that, to most members, the Quest of personal perfection taken in one bite is apt to give them lockjaw.  Therefore, for most members in most Crews, a systematic approach is the most appropriate.

A good approach is for every Rover to study quietly from time to time, and to review his relationship with the Scout Law, and how it relates to his daily life.  'A Scouts honour is to be trusted'.  This does not mean only honesty in money matters.  It means integrity, believability, honestly expressed opinion, and dependability.  If a Rover takes on a job – he will see it through.

Loyalty is no longer the easy straightforward thing it was in childhood.  The Rovers' is 'A Scout is Loyal' means loyalty to their Crew, to the Church, to their friends, their employers and most significantly, to themselves and their families.  They hit the problem of divided loyalties, and face the fact that learning to live means sorting out these loyalties.  This is a very real problem for many members.  The same Law creates entirely different challenges to different people.  The tenth Scout Law, for example, may challenge one person on their relationships with the opposite sex.  It challenges others with respect their language due to the conditions in which they work or live.  There is the same law for each, but a different weakness to be overcome.

When a crew member manages to determine where his own particular major weakness lies, - either by himself or with the help of his RSL - there lies their Quest.  To eliminate or diminish one's major weaknesses is a quest worthy of all.  From determination of that quest, progress milestones can be set against which achievement can be measured.  Only the Rover himself can know the effort involved, and the strength of will required achieving the results that satisfy himself.  Ultimately, by constant sustained effort, he will be able to recognise an improvement in his own self-assessed standards.  The sense of satisfaction derived from this achievement creates an inner strength and confidence that can last a lifetime.

By repeated self-assessment in their quest to become a better citizen, each member can isolate, then eradicate, successive weaknesses that they perceive in their characters.  Hopefully, in the course of time, their peers will also become aware that THIS person is someone to be reckoned with.  Their stature, confidence, and status command respect, and generate an aura of leadership and capability.  They become someone.

This is all very fine and grandiose.  It sounds well.  Unfortunately, if we are honest, we know fine well that most of us will cheerfully undertake a Quest but when left to ourselves, will very rarely follow it up.  We really need support and constant badgering to make any progress because, fundamentally, it is a lot easier not to bother. .And this is where the Crew comes in. 

If a person has to report progress, or the reverse, to his mates, he cannot just let the matter slide.  He really must do something about it, or face ribbing and ridicule from his colleagues.  The sure and certain knowledge that every other member of the Crew also shares exactly the same problems serves to encourage progress by virtue of the competitive nature of man.  So he knows he is not on his own.

Some RSL have a rare talent.  They manage to organise the Quest for their Crews on a very personal basis.  They hold the view that it is a matter for individual discussion between each the Rover and his RSL as to what the Quest might be.  Many have been successful in doing the job this way.  However, there can be disadvantages if any individual thinking that it is only themselves who have problems and that only the RSL can help.  It is possible that the experiences of the whole crew can be lost to that individual.

This development of a genuine sympathy with another person, and a desire to help them, is invaluable.  It is the stuff of which good Rover Crews are made, and many Crews provide it without formally calling it 'the Quest'.

It is appreciated that some Crews, and some RSL, might not feel confident to follow the above methods in detail, but the problem of determining an appropriate and suitable Quest must be tackled somehow.  Some may feel that they can best begin by discussing how to apply the idealism of the Scout Law to real life.  This can be a good springboard for discussion within the Crew for it is a truism that nobody has a clearer distinction between 'rights' and 'wrongs' than the young do.  Youth instinctively knows what is fair.  Enlisted help from older and wiser counsel may add successfully moderate unrealistic ambition and assist towards the achievement of positive results.

It is a permanent and universal problem to provide a vehicle for the sympathetic moral leadership required to guide the youth - of all nationalities - towards the standards of good citizenship.  We are not convinced that there is any finer solution than getting youth to set its own standards and, as far as we know, nobody has suggested a better scheme than the Quest.

Finally, please remember that however grandiose and valuable an aspiration the Quest may be, it is no substitute for Faith.  The Quest can help a person in many ways, but it can never take the place of a true understanding of a duty to God.  Indeed, it is only because of one's Faith that makes The Quest a worthwhile struggle.

The Rover Crew



There is no standard formula for the Organisation of a Rover Crew.  Every Crew introduces variations to suit its own particular circumstances.  However, the same basic principles apply in all cases.  The following paragraphs show the Organisation of a Crew that has been operating successfully for many years; they serve as a basis from which you can arrive at your own particular arrangement.

Ideally, a Crew is run by a committee consisting of the RSL, the Assistant Rover Scout Leader (ARSL), two Rover Mates, a Scribe, and a Treasurer.  The Committee is elected annually at the Crew's Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The RSL and ARSL, being warrant holders, are permanent members but they have to obtain a vote of confidence from the Crew at the AGM.  This practice has a dual purpose.  Firstly, it keeps these Scouters 'on their toes'.  Secondly, in the event that one of them fails in his duties to the Crew, a vote of No Confidence would call for their resignation and clear the way for their replacement by a more competent and suitable person.  In addition, in addition to maintaining an overall control of activities, the RSL and ARSL have the welfare of all the Squires as their main concern.  They must each make sure that every Squire is properly trained, lead, and adequately sponsored.

The Rover Mates generally change on an annual basis, although it is quite feasible for one person to serve for several consecutive years with no ill effects to the well being of the Crew.

Whenever possible the Rover Mates are elected from the younger members of the Crew and again there is a double purpose.  First, it is because their main concern is in the outdoor activities of the Crew, and those normally undertaken by the younger members.  Second, it ensures an even balance of opinion on the committee.  The responsibility of the Rover Mates is to see that the outdoor activities are efficiently organised and well supported.  At least one of them should endeavour to be present on all occasions.

The Scribe and the Treasurer normally find themselves re-elected without opposition and, as a rule, remain in office for several years.  They thus help to preserve continuity in the work of the committee, and bring a valuable leavening of experience to its deliberations.  The value of a good Scribe cannot be emphasised too strongly.  In an active Crew, he maintains an up-to-date address book, Newsletter and Logbook, which are essentials to the efficient running of the crew.  An efficient Treasurer is also an absolute necessity if the Crew is to establish a sound financial backing and produce accurate year-end accounts.

Apart from the Committee, two other offices are normally filled at the AGM:

  1. The 'Char Wallah' whose duty it is to ensure that the Crew are supplied with tea and biscuits on all occasions.  This job is always given to the newest Squire, and it is an important step in their training.  Be they rich or poor they begin to understand the meaning of humility and Service.  Some Crews, however, prefer to arrange a rota for these and similar duties.
  2. The  'Den Warden' to keeps an eye on the den and make sure that it is kept in a proper state of repair.  In practice this chore is usually undertaken by a volunteer, a person who likes to see the place looked after, and who can get other people to do the odd job about the place.

These, then, are the people whose duty it is to see that the Crew functions efficiently.  Apart from their particular jobs, the members of the committee in the hypothetical Crew to which we refer here are responsible for organising the programme of activities for the Crew, and for because they are adhered to.

In some Crews, 'The Crew in Council' conducts business.  Rather as the House of Commons goes into a 'Committee of the Whole House' for certain purposes, the whole Rover Crew becomes a 'committee' for the conduct of Crew business.  Again, in other Crews the programme is the responsibility of a small committee (say two to four Rovers) that is responsible for the programme for a fixed period (e.g. two, three or six months).  At the end of this period, a new committee would be convened.

This arrangement has the merit of introducing fresh and new approaches with a reasonable regularity.

A Crew itself does not normally operate the 'patrol' system employed in the Scout Group, as this system is considered appropriate to the conditions of normal Rover activity.  However, leadership is usually accepted from whichever Rover Mate is with the team.

Once agreement is obtained on the way in which the Crew is to be run, it is a good idea to draw up a Constitution.  This not only assists in keeping you on the right lines yourself, but it is also an invaluable guide to those who follow you.  Make sure, however, that there is some elasticity in the arrangements so that ad hoc changes in the circumstances of the Crew can be accommodated.

The Programme

The programme should be planned in advance.  Some Crews plan for a month at a time, some for three months and others for six months; a few even, for a year.  Whatever period is covered, however, care must be taken to ensure that the Crew is free to play its full part in such Group activities as the Gang Show, Fund raising events, Church Parades, etc., and also that it can pull its weight in Province and National affairs.

Whoever arranges it, the programme itself is the business of the whole Crew and its success or failure depends on the support it gets from individual Rovers.

Sometimes, as said previously, the Crew committee or the Crew in committee will make the actual arrangements.  Sometimes it will be the responsibility of particular members of the Crew or a Programme Committee.  However, and by whomever, the Programme is arranged it is essential that all members of the Crew participate.  It cannot be emphasised strongly enough - if a person misses an evening simply because it doesn't appeal to them, they cannot very well complain if others are absent when it is the turn for their own favourite Programme.

It is not the function of this handbook to set out a series of Programmes in great detail.  However, you may derive some ideas from the following:
Crew activities generally fall into one of two categories; outdoor, and indoor.
Outdoor (not necessarily on Crew nights)
Camping, hiking, sailing etc.
Working parties at Camp sites
Visits to places of general interest (e.g. Newspapers, factories)
Visits to places of cultural interest (e.g. Art galleries, Museums)
Visits to places of entertainment, both highbrow and lowbrow
Indoor (normally on Crew nights)
Talks by experts on almost any subject
Talks by Ministers of every possible religion and denomination.
Talks by Rovers (my job, my hobby)
Film shows

Discussions and Debates.

(Discussions and debates should have fair prominence.  For good or ill, those who can put over their ideas by means of the spoken word run democracy.  Some practice in Public Speaking and in debate is an essential part of training in citizenship).
Working parties on Group Headquarters as and when necessary. 
Music Appreciation.
Exchange visits with other Crews.
First Aid practice.
Map Reading, log writing and other Scouting subjects.
Free evenings (these can be surprisingly fruitful).
These are but a few ideas to get you started but obviously there are very many more, which you will discover for yourself

Always remember that the main purpose behind all Crew programmes is to enlarge the Rover's outlook and widen their general knowledge, to teach them tolerance of the other person's point of view, and to lead them to a fuller sense of capacity for citizenship.

Remember, too, that Crew life and the Programme is a corrective against the ever-increasing specialisation of the modem community.  Give your Rovers a balanced diet.

It will be appreciated that the Crew, the Organisation of which has been the main subject of this chapter, is a fairly large Crew and new RSL in particular may well ask: "What about a small Crew, just started".  The Organisation of a small Crew and its programmes are precisely the same as for a large Crew.  In some ways, it is easier to arrange events for a smaller Crew where visits to the theatre, places of interest and other similar activities are concerned, but more difficult when it comes to getting a Speaker.

A considerable part of the latter difficulty can be overcome by combining with other Crews, or indeed with other bodies, for certain items on the programme.  It must never be forgotten that one object of a small Crew is to become a large one.  This will not be achieved by sitting back and saying,  "When we have more people we will have a better programme".  On the contrary, it is essential to have a first rate programme if you are going to attract people into the Crew.  Even with a small Crew, it is desirable to organise on very similar lines to those suggested.

Initially, individual members of the Crew may have to do more than one job (there may even have to be a 'committee of one!'.  However, sustained enthusiasm and efficiency in doing the job, are the twin keys that will open the door to expansion of small Crews into large and successful ones.

Never lose sight of the fact that a Rover Crew is not a social club.  It is there for a particular and rather special purpose that we have already explained in detail earlier on.  It is not surprising that where the Crew remembers the real meaning and purpose of Rover Scouting, then that is the Crew that flourishes and grows.  Crews that lose their way in terms of the Quest – their raison d'ětre – are the ones that fall into the yellow leaf, wither, and die.

It behoves the RSL, the ARSL, and the mature members of the Crew, to provide guidance and direction to young persons who seek an aim in life.  It is the responsibility of the RSL and ARSL to provide the direction for young persons in their charge who think 'they know it all'.  This is merely a bluff in order to hide their inadequacies from themselves.  Give them direction and guidance and they no longer need to kid themselves for they shall be able to prove their self worth to themselves.  A vital lesson that is, in essence, what Scouting is all about, and as B-P intended it should be.

Rules that Govern Crews of Rover Scouts

The following rules and ceremonies have been drawn up after much deliberation and detailed reading of Rover literature.  Where Rover Crews have longstanding traditions in ceremonies, they are free to continue to use them.  The badges, however, are standard procedure laid down as minimum requirements; a high standard is to be encouraged.

In the past it has sometimes been difficult to distinguish between a Rover meeting and a Group Council: whilst nobody underestimates the value of Scouters being members of their Rover Crew,  it is hoped that each Crew will develop into a section, training on its own.

A person cannot be admitted as a Squire until after their sixteenth birthday.  They must serve a minimum of six months before they can be formally invested as a Rover Scout and produce a logbook of their Squireship.

Rover Scouts

There is no upper age limit, but RSL must be certain that the views of the younger members of the Crew are considered and respected.

Rover Mate

A Rover Mate must be of sufficient age and experience to be able to play his part in the running of the Crew.

Assistant Rover Scout Leader

Preferably not less than twenty-one years of age.

Rover Scout Leader

Preferably not less than twenty-five years of age.


Before a Rover Squire can be invested as a Rover, he must have fulfilled the following conditions to the satisfaction of the RSL and the Crew:

Read and studied all current literature published by Fédération du Scoutisme Européen (FSE) regarding Wolf Cub, Boy Scout and Rover Scout training, as well as 'Scouting for Boys', the 'Wolf Cub Handbook' and 'Rovering to Success.

Studied and fully understood the Scout Law and Promise as they concern Rovers, and apply them in the spirit of unselfish service to life in general.

Hold the First Class Badge; or have sufficient Scouting knowledge to be competent to instruct a Scout in the Second Class tests (they need NOT show that they have in fact instructed a Scout) and have attained a competent standard in the First Class tests.

Be competent to make an intelligent contribution to a discussion on Scouting, and introduce matters of concern to the Group, Province and HQ administration.

Have undergone such a period of probation as the GSM, RSL and Crew may require.

Honarary Members

The rank of Honorary Member may be conferred to a person for services rendered to the Group or Crew, this is subject to written consent of the Province Commissioner.

Proficiency Badges

The Rover Section has its own Proficiency Badges, but a Squire may enter for, and wear, Troop Proficiency Badges.  Rover Squires may not take any Rover Proficiency Badges until they are invested as Rover Scouts.

No invested Rover may enter the Troop for Proficiency Badges, and they may only wear the following:

All the badges listed above with the exception of the BP Award, are awarded by the appropriate authority after successful completion of an approved course of training and study.

The Rambler Badge

The Rambler Badge is awarded by the Province Commissioner on the recommendation of the RSL.  It is worn on the left epaulette, and is awarded if:

Project Badge

The Project Badge is granted by the Province Commissioner on the recommendation of the RSL.  It is worn on the right epaulette.  The candidate must succeed as follows:

He must choose, plan and devote at least six months to a project, and must keep a record of their activities.  At least three times during that period, they must report their progress to their RSL and Crew, and produce a record supported by models, charts, maps or other exhibits that may be required to validate their activity.  On these occasions, they may seek advice or assistance from the Crew if they feel they need it.

The project may be a self-imposed task that demands skill, application, and care.  There is no restriction on their choice of subject (within reason).  However, It should involve something that bears no direct relationship to their means of livelihood, and with which they have little involvement in the past. The subject chosen for a project should be formally approved by the RSL and Crew as suitable and worthwhile.

When the Rover is satisfied that he has completed his selected project, he must demonstrate the result of his work to the RSL and Crew, who will decide if the candidate has reached a satisfactory standard of attainment.

The Service Training Star

The Province Commissioner on the recommendation of the RSL awards the Service Training Star.  It is worn above the right breast pocket.

A Rover must give six months Service with a Group in the capacity of a Cub or Scout Officer.  The Service carried out must be to the satisfaction of the GSM concerned after consultation with the Section Scouter (i.e. CM, SM).

A Rover Scout need not apply for a warrant, and there is no requirement that a Rover should eventually become a Scouter.


Although the conditions may be ideal, no pressure whatsoever should be brought to bear on any Rover to take out a warrant to serve as an officer.

Joint Activities

Before any joint activities are entered into with another Organisation, the Group Scout Master (GSM) and RSL are to ensure that the other organisation is properly insured.  While the FSE is most desirous of being on friendly terms with similar organisations, and other Youth Bodies, the advice of the Province Commissioner should be sought if the status of the joint participant is in any doubt.



Rover Ceremonies


Reception of a Rover Squire

The Crew is formed into a semi-circle with Rover Squires at the rear.  The RSL in the centre and is faced by the sponsors of the candidate (about six paces away).

The Candidate is led in by the Scoutmaster (SM) and the GSM to a position mid way between the RSL and the Sponsors.  He faces the RSL.

GSM - I present to you................. , a candidate for reception as a Rover Squire.

RSL - Are you satisfied that he is trying to a Scout's obligations and is likely to become a worthy member of the Crew?

GSM - I am.

RSL (To Candidate) - Rovering is a Brotherhood of the open air, and a Brotherhood of service.  In seeking to join that Brotherhood, are you ready to improve your knowledge of practical Scouting and to pursue the open air life?

Can - I am.

RSL - Are you willing to train yourself for your future Service to Scouting and to the community?

Can - I am.

RSL - Thus assured I ask you to renew the Scout Promise; as a token of your sincerity, and to mark your formal reception as a Rover Squire.

Can (Renews his Promise, or, if new to Scouting, makes his Promise)

RSL - I trust you on your honour to do your best to keep that Promise, and now I receive you as a Rover Squire (shaking the new Squire with the left hand), and admit you as a member of our Rover Crew.  I invest you with this shoulder knot of yellow and green, the colours of the Wolf-Cub and Scout sections of the Brotherhood.  That of the Rover section - red - is missing, to remind you that it is now your duty to prepare yourself for full membership of the Crew.  I will now hand you over to your Sponsors who will assist in your efforts.

The new Squire is then welcomed into the Crew by his fellow Rovers.

The Vigil


During the Vigil, wherever it is held, (in a Church, Chapel or place of the Squire's choosing), the following self-examination should be studied very carefully:

As one grows older, time passes more quickly.  Comparatively speaking, life only lasts for a short time and is soon away.
Am I making the best use of the life that God has given me?
Am I wasting my life in doing nothing that is important?
Am I working at things that are no use to anybody?
Am I seeking too much of my own enjoyment or moneymaking, or promotion, without trying to help other people?

Whom have I injured or hurt in my life?
Can I do anything to make amends?
Whom have I helped in my life?
Is there anyone else I can help?
The Rover Scout branch of the FSE is described as a "Brotherhood of Service" so if we join it we shall get the opportunity of training for, and doing, Service that would not have been open to us otherwise.
Am I joining the Rover Crew only for the fun I can get out of it?
Am I determined to put real self-sacrificial Service into it?
What do I really mean by Service?
Do I really think for others, rather than for myself, in my plans and undertakings?
What kind of Service am I best fitted to do - at home, at work, and in my spare time?

Service is not for spare time only.  Service should be an attitude of life that will find outlets for its practical expression at all times.  We get no reward or pay for doing Service, but that makes us free men in doing it.  We are not working for an employer, but for God and our own conscience.  This means that we are men.  As the success of our Service depends, to great extent, on our personal character, we must discipline ourselves so that that we may be a good influence and example to others.

Typical questions to be answered in self-examination are:
Am I determined to try and give up bad habits that I have as acquired?
What are the weak points in my character?
Am I absolutely honourable, trusting and trustworthy?
Am I loyal to God, to the Queen, my country, Europe, my family, my employers, those under me, the FSE, my friends, myself?
Am I good-tempered, cheery and kindly to others?
Am I sober, clean-living and clean-speaking?
Have I got courage and patience to stick it out when things go against me? 
Have I a mind of my own, or am I easily led by others?
Am I strong-minded enough to resist temptation?
If I am weak in some things, do I resolve here and now, with God's help, to do my best to correct them?

Do I trust in the strength of God's love to give me the strength to go forward, a real man, a true citizen,  and a credit to my country.

The Ivestiture


The following procedures are written to apply for the Investiture of Rover Scouts.  Where the Investiture is to apply for Ranger Scouts, please amend the procedures accordingly.  Most of these amendments should be self-evident - 'red’ becomes 'blue' for instance, Brotherhood becomes 'Sisterhood' and 'Rovering' becomes 'Rangering' etc.  However, there are significant changes in the actual Investiture of Rangers and these are shown bold in the following text.  Some sections are to be omitted in their entirety and these are shown in italics in which case substitute text is appended to this section.

At the time appointed for the Investiture, the Sponsors present the Candidate to the place of Investiture. The remainder of the Crew may assemble in a semi-circle facing the table (or font).  If a table is used it should be covered with the flag of St George, on which should be placed the Sword of St George (a Rover symbol of Service), a basin of water with a napkin, and Rover epaulettes with the shoulder knot.
If present, the Rover Commissioner may take the ceremony although it is usually performed by the Rover Scout Leader.

The Presentation

Sponsor - I present to you.................... who comes with a desire to be admitted to the Rover Scout Brotherhood, and to receive initiation at your hands.

RSL - Is he worthy?

Sponsor - He is worthy - for he knows his weaknesses and trusts not in his own strength, but seeks the help of God and the fellowship of his brother Rover Scouts.

RSL (To Candidate) - Are you determined to do your best to lead a clean life; to be honourable, truthful and straight in all your dealings, clean in all your thoughts, words and deeds?

Candidate - I am.

RSL - Who is the patron Saint of true Rover Scouts?

Candidate - St George.

RSL - What is the motto of all Rover Scouts?

Candidate - Be prepared for Service.

RSL - What do you mean by Service?

Candidate - By Service I mean the help and kindness that I owe to my neighbour, in other words by showing true Christian charity to all.

RSL - Are you prepared to give such Service as and when the opportunity occurs?

Candidate - I am.

The Laving

RSL In ancient times it was the custom of those about to become Knights to be laved with water, in token of the washing away of past misdeeds, and as sign that they are determined to start afresh.
Are you willing to give such a sign here in the presence of us all?

Candidate - I am.
(The Sponsor will here present a basin of water into which the Candidate places his fingers and wipes them with the napkin.  If a font is used the ceremony is adjusted to suit).

The Promise

RSL - You will now renew you Scout Promise, bearing in mind that you are expected to look at it, no longer from a Boy's point of view, but from that of a man.  Here is the Sword of St George, the symbol of chivalry.  You will take it and, holding it aloft, renew your Promise.

Candidate (Renews his Promise)

The Vesting

RSL (Pinning on the left shoulder knot of the new Rover) -During the vesting of a Knight in olden times, it was customary to pin a white ribbon to the shoulder as a sign of what had been undertaken.  Let this threefold knot remind you therefore of your loyalty to the three divisions of the Brotherhood to which you belong - yellow for the Wolf Cub; green for the Boy Scout; and  red for the Rover Scout.

The Prayer

(In the absence of a Crew Chaplain, the prayer is begun by the RSL, the Crew following)
Teach us, good Lord,
to serve Thee as Thou deservest;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight and not to heed the wounds;
to toil and not to cease for rest;
to labour and not to ask for any reward;
save that of knowing that we do Thy will;

The Presentation to the Crew

The Rover Leader presents the new Rover to his brother Rovers, saying:
RSL Brother Rovers, I present to you this, your comrade, whom I have received on your behalf into our Brotherhood of Rover Scouts.
Welcome him into your fellowship!
Aid and speed him on his course!
Here the Rovers may give him welcome.  If the Crew uses the Round Table method of meeting, it is appropriate, while saying the above words, to take the new Rover to the Round table, where the other Rovers are assembled to receive him.

The Charge

It is your duty as a Rover to imitate in your daily life the example of the Knights Errant of old; to seek at all times to serve your fellows in the spirit of He who was the master Rover and who came amongst us as 'One who Serves'.  You will seek every opportunity of giving help and kindness to those in need around you.
The Scout Law (which is also the Law of the Rover Scout) is the law of love.  To love is to find happiness, not in your own, but in another's gain.
Remember the words of He who made the only truly perfect service for others;
'Inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto Me.'

The Symbolism od the Sword

The Sword of St George will no doubt become for you, as for your Brother Rovers. a symbol of your ideals of chivalry and unselfish service.
The sword symbolises those knightly virtues, which a Rover Scout should strive to possess and exercise in the spiritual warfare 'for the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth'.
The blade within the scabbard, which must always be kept shining bright, signifies the soul or spiritual part of a Rover Knight.  The scabbard, which should be kept continually clean, signifies his material part.

The blade and handle, which together are an emblem of the Cross of Christ, represent his faith; and the pommel (by which he is able to control the sword) signifies that humility which is necessary to use his faith to best advantage.
The point of the sword speaks of obedience, and the two-edged blade reminds him of his two-fold duty toward God and his neighbour.  The whole represents that spiritual power which a Rover Scout must possess for the due performance of the quests of Service, which it may be his privilege to undertake.

The Round Table

The Rover Round Table is a symbol of the quests of Service that a Rover Scout today is privileged to undertake.
The Crew of Rover Scouts gathers around the Round Table to discuss and organise their corporate work together.  The Table represents the application of their ten Scout Laws to various forms of service, all of which point to the central figure of the Table.
The Rover Table is:
The Scout Sign for 'Higher Service’
The symbol of the Holy Grail of Arthurian legend.
One of the ancient symbols that is used to indicate Infinite Deity manifest in the world. 
A Table of Fellowship.  Rovers meet here to help and encourage each other, and to speak and act as Brothers engaged in the same great venture.

A Table of Service, for from this table the Rovers go out into the world to conduct their lives in the spirit and practice of Scouting.
The Round Table shows God at the heart of all human endeavours and in it, the rays from the centre are indicative of the Scout Law emanating divine compassion and activity throughout the world.  The symbolism of the Round Table helps Rover scouts define the plan of campaign to be adopted to help forward the Kingdom of God.

Responsibilities at Investitures include:
The Sponsor(s) must be absolutely certain that the Squire is ready for Vigil and Investiture.
The RSL keeps a special eye on the actual form of the ceremony, and keeps the Crew aware of its responsibilities when an Investiture takes place, reminding them of the unique place the Investiture has in the life of the Crew.
As a personal task, the Rover Mate may make it his duty to ensure that all the proper preparations are made before the Investiture starts.  To this end, he prepares the cleanliness and orderliness of the Den, and attends to the provision of the facilities such as an ewer of water, the napkin, and the Sword.  There will also need to be a table draped with the flag of St George, or the Union Flag.

Amendments to the Investiture for Ranger Scouts

Alterations for Investiture that is not so obvious as those described previously are as follows:

The Promise

Substitute Cross for Sword. ....Here is the cross, the symbol of new life.

The Charge

Replace - Knights Errant of old with Christ's followers
THE EXPLANATION OF THE SYMBOLISM OF THE SWORD.... is omitted in its entirety and replaced with the following:

The Symbolism of the Cross

The Cross will no doubt become for you, as for your sisters, a symbol of your ideals of virtue and unselfish Service.
The Cross symbolises those virtues, which a Ranger Scout should strive to possess and exercise in the spiritual warfare 'for the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth’.
The base, that gives the Cross its firm foundation, will symbolise the steadfast basis of faith from which the soul or spiritual part of a Ranger scout will grow.
The body of the Cross, strong and straight, will signify her material being.
The two arms of the Cross will remind her of her two-fold duty towards God and towards her neighbour.
The whole represents that spiritual power which a Ranger Scout must possess for the due performance of the quests of Service, which it may be her privilege to undertake.

The Rover Uniform


Rover Uniform

Navy or khaki shirt; navy or khaki long or short trousers; navy beret or broad brim hat; Stockings of a uniform colour (when shorts are worn); Group neckerchief with woggle; brown leather belt with FSE buckle; optional items include lanyard, staff, knife, navy pullover.
Rover Squire: - yellow and green shoulder knot;  red or maroon garter tabs.
Rover Scout: - red, yellow and green shoulder knot; red garter tabs; Rover epaulettes; leather lanyard.

Ranger Scouts

As for Rover Scouts, with skirts substituted for trousers, stockings optional, and no garter tabs.  Rangers wear a blue, yellow and green shoulder knot, blue epaulettes and Ranger Mates stripes are blue.



Smartness in Scouting

Scouting is judged by what is seen in public, and so it is vital that we must not just be good Scouts, but that we are seen to live up to the image which over 100 years of Scouting has given us. Thus it is the duty of every Scout, from the youngest Otter to the oldest Rover, to see that his personal appearance and behaviour are always of the best.

A recognisable uniform is a vital part of a youth movement which seeks to prepare young people for full citizenship, for it gives great strength and effectiveness to the FSE and an obvious focal point for loyalty to Scouting traditions and values.  Much of Scouting is based on the power of the example set by Commissioners, Scouters, Patrol Leaders and even Sixers to the members for whom they are responsible, and thus smartness, aided by regular inspections, should be the watchword of every leader in the FSE.

The best publicity for the FSE is a cheerful, and smart looking Scout who is part of a well-run group. Which of these Scouts are yours?

Drill in Scouting

B-P. wrote about the usefulness of drill in Scouting for Boys (Camp Fire Yarn 19), and
summed up by saying that it is a useful method to make us learn to do things in the right
way and in the right order. Drill by hand signals detailed in the same yarn should be
efficiently practised by all Troops.

Having said that, the most fundamental parts of Scouting depend on freedom and
initiative, and so the amount of drill required is quite small. Nevertheless, drill is still a
special challenge to our Movement, and must be smartly done. Our standards must be the

A simple example of where slackness can creep in is in the Salute: it should be checked
from time to time: not only should the salute itself be correct but the movement of the
arm should also be smartly done. Here again the good example of a leader will help a
great deal.

Drill for Wolf Cubs should consist of 'Alert', 'At Ease', and the various turns, as well as
the ability to march - especially how to start and stop.

Scout Flags

  1. The flags in use in the FSE are as follows: Union Flag, or National Flag for Wales, Scotland or Ireland. St George's Flag is normally carried by Rovers.
  2. The European Flag.
  3. Group Flags bearing the Federal Emblem, of a pattern approved by the Province Commissioner. It is usual to have separate flags for Wolf Cub and Scout sections.

Flags in goups 1 and 2 should have spearpoint finials whilst Group and Rover flags
should have FSE finials.

All flags, and especially dedicated flags, should be treated with great respect; for instance dedicated flags should not be flown on a flagpole, or carried without an escort.

Flag Salutes

The Union Flag is lowered to the Queen, other Monarchs, Presidents, and at the playing of the National Anthem. Group Flags are lowered to the National and Federal Commissioners.  Flags are never lowered when on the march.

Flag Carrying

Flags are made to be flown, and thus the usual method of carrying is Flying Free, unless there is a high wind in which case it should be Gathered In with the back of the hand facing forward. Flags can also be carried at the Slope, in which case the flag should be carried over the right shoulder. The left arm has nothing to do with flag carrying, and should be allowed to swing freely when' on the march.

Flag procedure in church varies from group to group; if no group tradition exists, then the advice of the National Leadership should be sought.

Leaders Uniform


Navy or khaki shirt, navy or khaki shorts, or navy, khaki or brown long trousers. Navy beret or broadbrim hat.

Stockings of a uniform colour with garter tabs of the same colour as the section, (when shorts are worn). Group neckerchief with woggle. Brown leather belt with FSE buckle.

Group Scouters may not wear any proficiency badges, except for training emblems.
These are the 'Gilwell' woggle on completion of a PTC, and the Wood Badge and grey neckerchief with special badge on completion of the full Wood Badge Course.

Hat badge and tape colour appropriate to warrant, higest rank only.

Lady Scouters: As above, but substitute skirt for trousers. Stockings optional, no garter tabs.

Individual members have the option of a blue neckerchief with white edge.

All members of the National Leaders Council wear the blue neckerchief, with the exception of Province Commissioners who wear Purple.


Rover Handbook v1.0.0

For Use by the

European Scout Federation

(British Association)

Registered Charity 272404

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© 2012 Tony Ward