Every part and point tells a story…

Every part and point tells a story…

Ever wonder how the BSA’s Universal Emblem came about? Every Scout knows what the image evokes within him or her, but learning the emblem’s history takes its meaning that much


The Vision: At the very inception of Scouting, Lord Baden-Powell had already envisioned the fleur-de-lis as part of his vision for a Scout badge, including a simple design of it in his 1908 publication of Scouting for Boys in which he explained and elaborated on his plans for the Scouting program.

The Inspiration: The shape of the emblem was adapted from the North Point symbol universally found on charts, maps, and maritime compasses of old. The design, a fleur-de-lis (or trefoil—a flower with three leaves), takes its name from the French word for “lily”… a sustaining symbol for peace and purity.


The Meaning: Here’s a quick 4-point explanation for this poignant 3-point design:

1. The North Point Trefoil image represents a Scout’s true-north direction, showing the right way in life as surely as a compass does in the field.
2. The Three Points (or plumes) of the fleur-de-lis, like the fingers of the Scout sign, are reminders of the three parts of the Scout Oath: Service to Others, Duty to God, and Obedience to the Scout Law.
3. The Two Five-Pointed Stars symbolize knowledge and truth, the total 10 points of the stars reminding us of the 10 points of the Scout Law.
4. The Eagle and Shield represent the concepts of country and freedom, and a Scout’s
readiness to defend them.

The Emblem in Action: Indeed a symbol of adventure, excitement, and achievement, the Boy Scouts of America Universal Emblem is that and so much more. When used to represent BSA products, programs, and services, the emblem can symbolize all of Scouting’s virtues all on its own. It establishes not just the organization’s identity, but the depth of meaning behind it.

What does this emblem mean to you?

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