Recently GGC shared a short video clip on their Facebook page of girls performing the well-known camp song “Princess Pat.” While the post was meant to highlight and thank the girls for their wonderful participation in a YTV promotion, we also learned that the song itself has a long and storied history. Though “Princess Pat” is sung by Guides and Scouts around the world, many of us do not know that it is a modified version of the regimental marching song of the Canadian Forces Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Unit and the version we sing can be seen as disrespectful or offensive.
I should disclose that I was well aware that the girls were singing this in the YTV promotion. My daughter is one of the girls in the video and since her own wonderful Guiders were not available to accompany the girls to the studio, I went along with them. When the information came to my attention about the history of the song, my first reaction was embarrassment – as a long time Guider I should have known the origins of this song and realized it was an inappropriate choice. But then I realized that I can’t know everything and in fact, that is a good thing.
One of the reasons I stay as a Guider is that I never stop learning. I learn from the Spark who completely transforms a craft using her imagination. I learn from the Guider who shows me that reading “boring” stories in a monotone voice in soft lighting is a great way to get excited girls at camp ready to go to bed. I learn from the parent who shows me a delicious peanut-free alternative for cupcake decorating that allows us to incorporate the girl with allergies without anyone knowing we had made a change.
The key to all this learning is that I was never made to feel bad for not knowing these things. It seems to me that the Guiding way is to teach girls and adults without them realizing they are learning or at least in a way that celebrates learning something you did not know before.
The story of the history of the “Princess Pat” was a great learning for me so I want to remind my fellow Guiders that is okay not to know everything and to celebrate that one of the best features of Guiding is the continuous learning opportunity.
By guest blogger Jan Ogden. Jan is a Guider with the 347th Toronto Sparks and on staff with Ontario Council.
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