Gaelic Awareness Training for Girl Guides

by Sep 28, 2015

Earlier this year, I helped to create and deliver a Gaelic Awareness training session for the Harbourside Area of the Nova Scotia Council of Girl Guides of Canada. Here I’ll give a bit of the back story on that session, and tell you how to get a free e-book copy of our training materials.


Gaelic Awareness Training Materials - Title Page

Gaelic Awareness Training Materials for Girl Guides booklet


My friend Terri Roberts, who is a fitness and dance educator and a National Trainer with Girl Guides of Canada, asked me to work on this project with her. There is a real interest in Gaelic culture and heritage in Nova Scotia, and Terri perceived a corresponding need for training materials which could be used to reach and educate adult volunteers who work with children.

Terri’s request was a good fit with my previous experience founding and serving as president of Dìleab, a voluntary group which existed in the Halifax area from 2011-2013. The purpose of Dìleab was to connect children with Gaelic language and culture outside of the schools. Dìleab is no longer active, but the need remains for training and information for adults who wish to bring Gaelic to children in informal and voluntary settings.

These materials were designed to accompany a face-to-face Gaelic Cultural Awareness training session for Unit Guiders (troop leaders in the terminology of the Girl Scouts of the USA). Unit Guiders in Harbourside (or potentially other areas) can attend a Gaelic Cultural Awareness training session with Terri and myself, and then use these materials to refresh their memory and select information and activities that are most suitable for the age level and interests of their unit. Contact me for more information!

Through these training materials, Canadian girls who have Scottish roots in their families, communities, and/or province can learn to appreciate the unique Gaelic culture and heritage. This experience may open the door to further interest and participation in cultural activities, now or even later in life. Rebuilding positive awareness about a language is an important early step in minority language revitalization, as I have noted in a previous publication.

At the time of Canadian Confederation in 1867, Gaelic was Canada’s third most widely-spoken language after English and French. The First Nations, French, and British are called the “founding peoples” of Canada, but a significant proportion of British immigrants were actually Gaels—that is, Gaelic speakers from Scotland. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the British and Anglo-Canadians deliberately sought to eradicate Gaelic language and culture throughout Canada. However, the unique Canadian Gaelic legacy has survived into the 21st century and is being revitalized in Nova Scotia. The Scottish Gaelic language and culture are a fundamental part of Canadian history and can play a proud role in the nation’s multiculturalism alongside other immigrant cultures and First Nations.

The materials include fact sheets for unit guiders on Nova Scotia Gaelic Culture with a special focus on Halifax, the provincial Gaelic flag, the Gaelic language, and Gaelic names.

There are also activities including an action story on Finn MacCool and the salmon of knowledge, a free colouring page featuring the salmon of knowledge, a game for introducing yourself in Gaelic, a Gaelic song of the “mouth music” (port a beul) type, and a crash course in Cape Breton step dance.


Am Bradan Fiosa / The Salmon of Knowledge colouring page in action!

Am Bradan Fiosa / The Salmon of Knowledge colouring page in action!


These training materials are a work in progress. Over time we may be able to add more videos to the accompanying YouTube playlist, with dance steps and further language games. Whenever more materials are added, I’ll update the blog post to reflect that.

For questions about arranging a Unit Guiders training session, please contact me by e-mail.

The training materials are available as a free e-book download to blog subscribers — see below!

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