AHG founder: ‘America’s heritage was built on the solid rock of faith — and American Heritage Girls is here to continue its legacy’
November 7, 2022
CINCINNATI, Ohio — Reverence and respect for America and all that it stands for is key to the experience for girls and young women ages five to 18 nationwide who participate in American Heritage Girls (AHG, www.americanheritagegirls.org), the premier faith-based, scout-type leadership development program in the country.
As the nation prepares to honor those who fought to protect America on Veteran’s Day on November 11, AHG regularly encourages patriotism among its members, as well as a deep respect for those who have made immense sacrifices for their friends and family back home.
AHG has long focused on building young women of integrity through service to God, family, community, and country. Through its thoughtful badge programs, service projects, leadership opportunities, outdoor adventures, virtual connections, and more, AHG stresses Christian values and family participation across its many programs for girls.
AHG Founder and Executive Director Patti Garibay said, “Like the patriots before them, American Heritage Girls must understand their heritage to improve the future. We must understand both the sacrifices — and the mistakes — of our forefathers while respecting those who are on the front lines to protect our nation. If we erase our heritage and our history (as so many other groups have done), we’re bound to repeat our mistakes and release our commitment to freedom. The freedom I’m referring to does not come from government, leaders, or finances. It comes from the Lord God Himself. America’s heritage was built on the solid rock of faith — and American Heritage Girls is here to continue its legacy.”
Among AHG’s many specially designed offerings is the “Free to Honor” program initiative, which shares the importance of honoring America and the sacrifices made by others — including those made by scores of American veterans — to bring the country to where it is today. AHG members learn this pledge: “I promise to love God, cherish my family, honor my country, and serve in my community.” Throughout the “Free to Honor” program, AHG members spend a day devoted to each of these concepts: Heritage, Unity, Patriotism, Honor, and Respect. Girls can also earn a special “Free to Honor” patch reflecting America’s history, discovering service opportunities, and learning the characteristics of a respectful citizen by completing specific badge requirements.
“Faith is the spark that remains in the hearts of many of our fellow countrymen,” added Garibay. “We are the ones writing the script of America’s future today. With every word, decision, and act — for good or bad — we are either rebuilding our foundation or contributing to its further decay. Each of us plays a part.
“Members of American Heritage Girls,” Garibay continued, “are equipped to lead and learn. Girls are encouraged in their faith walk to be women of integrity. History is rolling up like a scroll — and we need to respond to the divine hand of God and the moment of grace that’s been extended to us. Let’s seize the opportunity before us! Our young women are encouraged to share the Gospel, engage the culture, and stand like shining lights in a dark world. I believe if we can understand our past, then we can build for a bright future.”
Many AHG Troops prepare various service activities for veterans to honor Veteran’s Day on November 11. In the AHG Program Year ending May 30, 2021, girls performed 512,710 service hours across the country despite challenges brought on by the pandemic.
American Heritage Girls was founded in 1995 when Founder and Executive Director Patti Garibay became concerned with the direction the Girl Scouts of America was headed. Garibay, along with a group of concerned parents, wanted a faith-based, scout-type character development program for their daughters, and American Heritage Girls was born. Today, there are Troops in all 50 states and girls being served in 15 countries around the globe. Girls can join a Troop at any time; if a Troop is not available nearby, they can become a Trailblazer and enjoy the AHG program alongside their parent. A variety of Christian denominations are also represented as Charter Organizations for Troops. Thousands of volunteer members across the country are helping girls grow in their faith, cultivate a heart for service, enjoy the great outdoors, and have more fun than they can imagine.
At AHG, girls ages five to 18 meet together as a single Troop at the same time and then break out into Units by Levels. This gives AHG girls the important social experience of interacting with friends and godly mentors of various ages; members also learn leadership skills within a group setting. AHG Troops are located in local communities across the nation. If none exists in a given area, families can bring the AHG Program to their own area. An American Heritage Girls Troop Development Coach is available to provide resources to potential Charter Organizations and other families to form a new Troop. To hear more about the purpose, mission, and vision of AHG from Founder and Executive Director Patti Garibay, click here.
AHG’s “Raising Godly Girls” radio feature and Raising Godly Girls blog shares guidance and biblically based advice on many key topics affecting girls today — from bullying and identity to anxiety and body image issues. It gives parents, educators, and faith community leaders a set of tools, resources, and Scripture-based advice to assist in raising girls after God’s own heart. The “Raising Godly Girls Minute” with Patti Garibay airs on 1000+ Christian radio stations across the country.