Sharing Skills and Knowledge the Guiding Way

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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6 Responses to Sharing Skills and Knowledge the Guiding Way

  1. Pam Boomhower says:

    How true – we all keep learning…and having fun…as you say, we can’t know it all and Guiding is a safe and supportive place to learn

  2. I totally agree that it is a good thing we don’t know everything. It makes the girls realize that the Guiders aren’t all-knowing Godesses and the girls learn how to learn by watching the leaders learn and struggle at times.

    One of the truly great things about guiding is it is a place where mistakes are ok. Young and old in guiding are always learning and challenging themselves and that’s a good thing even if mistakes are made. Just one of the many reasons why I enjoy guiding.

  3. Guider Tamara says:

    I live in Edmonton, and the base has the PPCLI (Princess Pat Canadian Light Infantry). How was the song disrespectful so that I can think up some unique way to change the line/ wording so that it is not disrespectful to our service men and women. Thanks! Guider Tamara

  4. Erin says:

    I noticed that they sang it as “The princess Pat, lived in a tree” (which I had heard from a troop of Girl Scouts I camped with once) but I learned it as “The princess Pat, not infantry” so I did know about the regiment but I didn’t know it originated as one of their songs.

  5. Glitter Owl says:

    I’m wondering the same thing as Guider Tamara… “How was the song disrespectful so that I can think up some unique way to change the line/ wording so that it is not disrespectful to our service men and women. ”
    We sing it a few times a year, usually around times if we discuss the military (like remembrance day) or when we did a jubilee challenge and we needed a royal-ish song. When we first introduce the songs to new girls, I always talk about the PPLI (the daughter of my parents’ friends joined up and served a tour in Afghanistan and our Sparks sent a christmas care package to her…with enough cookies to share of course) and also that our Regina Pats are named after Princess Patricia of Connaught and associated with the PPLI

  6. Lori Purvis says:'s_Canadian_Light_Infantry
    really low on the page is information about the regimental flag – Ric-a-Dam-Do. Click the link and you’ll find the song. The first verse is different from what I was taught was the correct one
    “The Princess Pat’s Light Infantry
    They sailed across the seven seas
    They sailed across the channel too
    and took with them the Ric-A-Dam-Do”
    and the last verse we sang as the second because it explained what the Ric-A-Dam-Do is and what are the colours. Just my input…I hope it helps

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