The year my son went to Alaska with his Boy Scout Troop, I earnestly began to ponder how we could offer a comparable adventure experience for our three daughters. That same year, we learned about American Heritage Girls (AHG) and helped start a troop in the area.
AHG is a Christian scouting program for girls that was started in 1995 and was modeled after Boy Scouts of America. AHG’s mission is “Building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country. “Faith-Service-Fun” in AHG is played out through bi-weekly meetings, service projects, social events and outdoor activities.
AHG is for girls ages five to eighteen, and while inclusive and non-competitive, the programing offers the individual girls the opportunity for achievement, leadership and skill development, and mentorship from Christian adult leaders. The opportunity to be with friends and enjoy activities together, however, is by far the biggest draw. Family campouts are a highlight for girls and their families and provide yet another venue for gaining practical life skills and opportunity for forming and deepening friendships.
Focus on service exposes girls to a wide range of possibilities and experiences for how to be of service to God and others. While service is recognized and rewarded in the program, the emphasis and expectation suggests incorporation of service, not just as an activity, but as an attitude and way of life that girls will hopefully embrace and embody in their lives even after they no longer receive stars to place on a uniform.
Badges earned individually or in unit meetings provide practical and enriching experiences. Completion of the Emergency Preparedness badge equipped high school-age girls with CPR certification; a trip to DC was the ultimate Citizenship and Government badge field-trip; and the cake-decorating class introduced girls to a practical and popular skill. Some homeschool families even select badges to incorporate as part of their curriculum and in so doing earned badges relating to history, money management, history and arts, science and technology and personal management.
Each year offers new possibilities, and while a trip to Alaska isn’t quite on the docket yet, it is not out of the question.
For more info about AHG, see the website: www.americanheritagegirls.org.