American Heritage Girls
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|American Heritage Girls|
The American Heritage Girls (AHG) is a faith-based Christian Scouting-like organization founded in 1995 by Patti Garibay and other parents from West Chester, Ohio, who wanted "a wholesome program for their daughters" after the Girl Scouts allowed girls to substitute another word for "God" in the promise (as allowed in the Girl Scout handbooks) and allegedly banned prayer at meetings (see also Girl Scouts of the USA: Issues). The organization has more than 20,000 members (2012) with troops in 48 states in late 2012, plus Americans living in seven other countries.
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 establishes a relationship, 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. The organization would be based on the AHG program. 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 AHG mission statement is:
Building women of integrity
through service to God, family,community and country.
The vision statement reflects similar values:
American Heritage Girls is the premier national character development organization for young women that embraces Christian values and encourages family involvement.
AHG's Statement of Faith:
We believe that there is One Triune God – Father, Jesus Christ His one and only Son, and the Holy Spirit – Creator of the universe and eternally existent. We believe the Holy Scriptures (Old/New Testament) to be the inspired and authoritative Word of God. We believe each person is created in His image for the purpose of communing with and worshiping God. We believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit who enables us to live a Godly life. We believe that each individual is called to love the Lord their God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength; and to love their neighbors as themselves. We believe that each individual is called to live a life of purity, service, stewardship and integrity.
Girl membership in the organization shall be made available to all without regard to race, color, creed or national origin, under such rules and regulations, not in conflict with the provisions of the AHG Oath: "I promise to love God, cherish my family, honor my country and serve in my community", and the Purpose and the Basic Policies of AHG. All girls are invited to belong to AHG as long as they will say the Oath and abide by the rules and regulations of AHG and the chartered Troop.
The organization's official oath and creed are:
I promise to love God,
Cherish my family,and Serve in my community.
Honor my country,
As an American Heritage Girl, I promise to be:
Compassionate — Understanding others in fellowship, empathy, kindness, and caring. Respect others' opinions and emotions.Reverent — Faithful and honoring to God. Respectful to the beliefs of others.
Helpful — Willingly serve others.
Honest — Always tell the truth and keep my promise.
Loyal — True to God, family, friends, community and country.
Perseverant — Continuing to strive toward a goal despite obstacles.
Pure — Keep my mind and body pure.
Resourceful — Wisely use my time, materials and talents.
Respectful — Honor my country, be obedient to those in authority and courteous to all.
Responsible — Accountable for my own actions. Reliable in all situations.
The American Heritage Girls program is divided into several levels based primarily on age. Girls participate in troop activities and work toward earning more than 240 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 Patriot, they are given the chance to work toward earning the Stars and Stripes Award, the highest honor achievable in the program.
American Heritage Girls has several strategic partnerships. AHG formed a partnership with Big Idea and VeggieTales in June 2010, the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation in August 2011, Pure Freedom and its founders, Bob and Dannah Gresch in April 2010, and a partnership with iShine Ministries started in March 2009.
The highest AHG award is the Stars and Stripes 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.
- American Heritage Girls 2010-2011 Ministry Report. American Heritage Girls. 2011.
- Hilty, Lindsey (June 30, 2009). "American Heritage Girls Gain Momentum". JournalNews. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
- Brown, Angela K. "Some Unhappy with Girl Scouts Form New Group". Associated Press.
- "AHG Fact Sheet". American Heritage Girls. 2012. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
- "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.
- "Program Levels". American Heritage Girls. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
- AHG partnership page
- Official website
- "Girl Scouts face religious rebellion", Associated Press story, MSNBC
- 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.