The Scout Handshake

Shaking hands using your left hand can feel a bit awkward for the first few times, but it becomes second nature after a while. So why do we as Scouts shake hands with our left hand?

The left-handed Scout handshake is a formal way of greeting other Scouts of both genders and is used by members of Scout and Guide organizations around the world. The handshake is made with the hand nearest the heart and is offered as a token of friendship. In most situations, the handshake is made firmly, without interlocking fingers, and many organizations only use this handshake when both people are in uniform. There are some variations of the handshake between national Scouting organizations and also within some program sections.

The 1935 Boy Scout Handbook says that “By agreement of the Scout Leaders throughout the world, Boy Scouts greet Brother Scouts with a warm left hand clasp.”

All World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts members share the left handshake, and when meeting other Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, it may be used in conjunction with the Scout sign done with the right hand.

There is a story that when Baden Powell entered Kumasi, the capital city of the Ashanti he was met by one of the Great Chiefs of the Ashanti, he saluted them and then offered his right hand out as a sign of friendship, but the Chief transferred his shield which he held in his left hand to his right which contained his spear and offered his left hand as a sign of friendship. When asked why Baden Powell was told that by offering his left hand which traditionally was used to hold a shield for protection he was showing his trust to his enemy or friend for with out the shield for protection he was open to attack

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls