Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Re: Scout Handshake
Re: Scout Handshake
Thu, 25 Feb 1999 09:09:20 -0500
Dale Kelly <ddkelly@SPRINT.CA> wrote:
> Scout Handshake:
> My impression and understanding on this OLD tradition was that the Founder
> Lord Baden Powell while serving with the army in Africa, met a zulu chief
> upon entering the village the chief laid down his spear and shielf and
> offered his left hand. BP asked Why the left Hand? In our culture this is a
> sign of respect and TRUST. In order to shake with the left, we have to leave
> ourselves totally vulneralbe to attack. BP was very interested in the
> culture and in this particular tradition. When he returned and began the
> Scouting Movmenet he brought with him this left handshake. It is a sign of
> trust, brotherhood, friendship. And is recognized world round as a Scout.
Although it's a great story, it does not appear to be true.
A Scouter in my District had the opportunity to meet with Lady
Baden-Powell many years ago. He asked her about the handshake and the
story and it gave her quite a laugh. She said that Lord Baden-Powell
simply wanted the handshake for the Boy Scouts to be "different,"
therefor he chose to shake with the left hand. Years later the story
evolved - perhaps based on truth, perhaps not - and the myth became reality.
This particular Scouter is still active in his 80s, spent time as a
Scout Exec in Canada, and with the exception of a short period during
WWII, has been active in Scouts without interruption since he was a boy
in England. He has some really wonderful stories and enjoys telling
them. We are trying to capture some of them for publication in Scouting
Magazine. Stay tuned!
Tim Hewitt, SA
Troop 350, Old Orchard Beach, Maine