American Heritage Girls
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|American Heritage Girls|
|executive director||Patti Garibay|
The American Heritage Girls (AHG) is a Christian-based Scouting-like organization The organization has more than 20,000 members (2012) with troops in 48 states in late 2012, plus Americans living in seven other countries.
All girls are eligible for membership while adult leaders must subscribe to a Christian statement of faith.
The American Heritage Girls was founded in 1995 by Patti Garibay and other parents from West Chester, Ohio to form a Christian alternative to the Girl Scouts after allowing the substitution of another word for "God" in GS promise and supposedly banned prayer at meetings. The organization started with 100 girls.
In June 2009, the AHG formed a partnership with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The Memorandum of Mutual Support recognizes the common values and goals of both organizations and formally established a relationship, as AHG had been working with the BSA on projects and utilized BSA camps especially with the BSA mixed-sex Venturing membership division.
In May 2013, the AHG dissolved its relationship with the BSA in reaction to the BSA's new policy on gay youth. Also that month, American Heritage Girls joined the Faith Based Boys Coalition. The Faith Based Boys joined with other groups to form an alternative boy scout program. A leadership meeting was held in Louisville, Kentucky on June 29, 2013 to discuss forming a new boys group. The AHG cofounder Patti Garibay was invited to the Kentucky meeting as an advisor. It was revealed in September that American Heritage Girls would be partnering with Trail Life USA, the new boys scouting group which was modeled on AHG.
The American Heritage Girls program is divided into several levels based primarily on age. Girls participate in troop activities and work toward earning 80 badges, learn leadership skills, social and spiritual development:
- Pathfinder— kindergarten/5–6 years old
- Tenderheart— 1-3rd grade/6–9 years old
- Explorer— 4-6th grade/9–12 years old
- Pioneer— 7-8th grade/12–14 years old
- Patriot— 9-12th grade/14–18 years old
Girls can proceed through various ranks. As a Tenderheart, members can earn a PRAY award by making a pizza with crust, cheese and sauce to learn about Holy Trinity. Troops must do 3 community service projects per year.
As a Patriot, they are given the chance to work toward earning the Stars and Stripes Award, the highest honor achievable in the program, and is considered equivalent to the Boy Scouts' Eagle Scout Award. It requires earning a minimum of 16 badges, earning the Dolley Madison Level Award, performing a service project with a minimum of 100 hours of service that demonstrates leadership, leadership development, writing a life ambition/spiritual walk essay, completing a mini-resume, and asking for and receiving reference letters. Girls must be between the ages of 15 and 18 before completion and complete a board of review.
- Connor, Tracy. (February 3, 2014). Wiccans, earth-lovers, do-gooders: There's a 'scouting' group for your kid. NBC News. Accessed on January 17, 2013. Archived at AHGonline.org.
- Hilty, Lindsey (June 30, 2009). "American Heritage Girls Gain Momentum". JournalNews. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
- American Heritage Girls 2010-2011 Ministry Report. American Heritage Girls. 2011.
- "AHG Fact Sheet". American Heritage Girls. 2012. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
- Coghlan, Heidi. "American Heritage Girls - Christ-centered scouting for girls of all ages". Parenting: Kids' Club. About.com. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- Brown, Angela K (March 22, 2004). "Some Unhappy with Girl Scouts Form New Group". Associated Press.
- "Memorandum of Mutual Support". Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
- "Memorandum of Mutual Support - Dissolution Statement". American Heritage Girls. May 23, 2013.
- Token, Jody. (May 2013) American Heritage Girls join Faith-Based Boys Coalition. American Heritage Girls. Accessed October 14, 2013.
- Wiggins, Kimberly. July 16, 2013. Orlando group creates faith-based alternative to Boy Scouts. MyFoxOrlando.com (WOFL-FOX35).
- Butts, Charlie. (June 14, 2013) Christian girls’ group founder advises new boys’ scouting group. OneNewsNow.com (American Family News Network). archived.
- Lohr, Kathy. (September 09, 2013) Trail Life USA, The 'Other' Boy Scouts Of America. National Public Radio.
- Official website
- Godly Girl Group, by Candi Cushman, January 2006, Focus on the Family.
- FIRST-PERSON: Not Your Mom's Girl Scouts, by Penna Dexter, Baptist Press, April 26, 2007.