On behalf of American Heritage Girls, and Cathedral mother and AHG Coordinator Katie Lewallen, we are happy to announce a formation scouting group for Catholic girls and young women: American Heritage Girls.
You may have heard His Excellency, Bishop Conley, reference this group in talks or articles, and I encourage you to familiarize yourself with this growing group.
Below is information about American Heritage Girls, and then information on how you can get involved:
"I promise to love God,
Cherish my family,
Honor my country,
and Serve in my community."
"Building women of integrity through
service to God, family, community and country."
The history of AHG:
American Heritage Girls was founded in 1995 in West Chester, Ohio by a group of parents wanting a wholesome character development program for their daughters. These parents were disillusioned with the increasing secular focus of existing organizations for girls. They wanted a Judeo-Christian focused organization for their daughters and believed that other parents were looking for the same. This became the catalyst for the birth of the organization we have come to know as the American Heritage Girls.
American Heritage Girls is a Christ-centered non-profit character development ministry for girls ages 5 – 18, dedicated to its mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country. The AHG program is built upon six Program Emphases that address the spiritual, mental, physical and social needs of today’s young woman. The American Heritage Girls is an interdenominational ministry which believes in partnering with local Christian churches, para-church organizations and private schools in order to accomplish its mission. Just as Jesus carefully chose His leadership, so does the American Heritage Girls. Each Charter Organization and AHG Volunteer agrees to adhere to the AHG Statement of Faith. Providing faith-filled adults to mentor our girl members is of utmost concern.
As a church ministry, AHG believe that the responsibility for spiritual formation in children lies with their parents, and that the Church is best poised to assist parents with spiritual formation. Along with churches, families, RE, private schools, and other religious activities, AHG believes it can help parents reinforce the values they hold dear through a program that complements their family values. AHG can be considered an additional tool in helping our daughters counter today’s culture.
There are 6 program emphases in AHG. Implementing all 6 emphasis makes for a well rounded program for all the girls.
Life Skill enhancement - Similar to other scouting programs but the AHG badge program is all biblically based and complements our Catholic faith beautifully. The badges include several focus areas such as life skills, love of country, outdoor skills, love of God through love of others, science and technology, the arts, etc.
Girl leadership - Girls are encouraged at all age levels to become servant leaders. They are encouraged to take ownership of their troop and to plan, organize and implement troop and community outreach activities
Developing teamwork and building confidence – They learn the importance of working as a team as they explore God’s creation through outdoor adventures.
Character development - Through learning the importance of being an active productive citizen through community service and becoming a servant leader.
Social development - AHG provides a safe all girl environment. We have several special events such as a Mother daughter tea, father daughter event, etc. The multi- level troop structure provides opportunities for the older girls to mentor the younger ones and be good role models.
Spiritual development - Girls are encouraged to live their lives as Jesus taught using biblical foundations as a moral compass. All activities are centered around living out their faith. The faith based badge curriculum and religious recognitions programs all help the girls to live out their AHG oath.
AHG program (all 6 emphases) is progressive, meaning it seeks to involve the girls at the skill and understanding levels they are capable of handling. Girls can become competent in a manner which encourages development, rather than rush it. The activities should meet the girls where they are developmentally (physically, emotionally, socially, intellectually and spiritually)
Any girl, age 5-18 can be an American Heritage Girl. Girls of all different backgrounds are welcome in AHG and are encouraged to join at any/every age! You don't have to start as a Pathfinder (age 5) in order to gain the benefits from participating in the AHG Program.
AHG has a multi-level structure, which means that girls from all levels comprise ONE Troop and meet together as a single troop at the same time. Following a flag ceremony, devotions and prayer, and announcements, badge work and activities are done within age appropriate groups (units).
There are five age level divisions in American Heritage Girls. In a new troop many times the two older girl groups are combined. Troops range in size from a few girls to 100 or more girls.
Pathfinder - Ages 5-6 and in Kindergarten
Tenderheart - Ages 6-9 and in grades 1-3
Explorer - Ages 9-12 and in grades 4-6
Pioneer - Ages 12-14 and in grades 7-8
Patriot - Ages 14-18 and in grades 9-12
What to expect when joining AHG:
- Working on badges in units (by age levels above), badges include several focus areas such as life skills, love of country, outdoor skills, love of God through love of others, science and technology, the arts, etc.
- Social events - Troops typically try to have a Mother-Daughter event, such as a formal tea. A father-daughter event is also planned annually such as a theater performance followed by a pot luck dinner, a ball room dance event with an instructor to teach the girls and dads ballroom dancing and more.
- Service – at least 3 service projects annually such as serving our charter organization (Cathedral of the Risen Christ Church) in any way we can, visiting the Veteran’s Home singing patriotic songs and visiting with residents, making Christmas Cards for military service men and women, visiting nursing homes to help them celebrate birthdays or holidays, trash pickup in the community, and more.
- Leadership opportunities for the girls – Pioneers/Patriots plan camp outs, hikes, recruitment events, service projects, etc. 6th graders traditionally plan the Mother-Daughter Tea. There are also many leadership opportunities within the troop during meeting time, such as teaching younger girls a skill, older girls teaching the younger girls the flag ceremony, leading in song etc.
- Camping and hiking - Typically, two camp outs per year, in the fall and the spring/summer, and also a fall hike and a spring hike. The girls have opportunities in both low and high adventure activities, and games/exercises to build team work and trust.
- AHG encourages all girls to participate in earning a Religious Awards. We also watch over the girls with prayer, godly leaders, follow up with absent families, minister to families in need and doing badge work to build their faith (such as All God’s children, Daughter of the King)
The troop’s structure:
Our troop is chartered by Cathedral of the Risen Christ Church. Two groups of volunteers make up the Troop’s Ministry Team, the troop’s board and the troop’s leaders. The 5-member board works to govern the troop and is responsible for developing the Troop’s policies and guidelines, and taking care of the administrative duties. It is composed of a coordinator, vice-coordinator, treasurer, troop shepherd, and the charter representative.
The troop’s leaders are primarily responsible for implementing the program at the unit level. All registered volunteers are background checked by AHG, required to take safe environment training, training in biblical conflict resolution, special needs training if applicable, and a short training session on AHG policies such as two deep leaderships. All adult volunteers sign a Statement of Faith that they promise to adhere to which aligns in every way to our Catholic faith. AHG stresses family involvement within the troop as vital to accomplishing its mission, and dads are encouraged to volunteer as well.
We are hoping to start our groups this fall. Our meeting day of the week/time will be the 2nd and 4th Wed. from 6:15-7:45. This may change depending on the number of applicants we receive, availability of the school, and leaders’ schedules. One thing we love is that we all meet on one night, learn a quick lesson, work in groups, and then move into our leveled divisions.
I encourage you to visit the national website at www.Americanheritage girls.org
You may also contact me directly with any questions.
American Heritage Girl’s Coordinator