The lost art of writing letters is revived by AHG’s Pen Pal Program — girls develop a network of friends across the country without technology!

After struggling with isolation after the pandemic, AHG’s program provides opportunities for girls to find meaningful connections

August 22, 2022

CINCINNATI, Ohio Today’s youth are desperate for connection. After the isolating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, young people value personal relationships more than ever before. The CDC reports that youth who feel connected at school and home are less likely to experience negative health outcomes related to sexual risk, substance use, violence, and mental health.

American Heritage Girls (AHG, www.americanheritagegirls.org) is not only aware of the need for connectivity and the needed alternative from social media overload, but is also equipped to provide girls ages five through 18 with the tools to foster meaningful relationships with other like-minded girls their age. AHG offers a unique and fun opportunity for girls to make friends in other Troops across the nation through their Pen Pal Program. Each girl receives a pen pal from a different state at the same Program Level to communicate with regularly, creating a network of friendships all across the country.

Patti Garibay, AHG founder and executive director, stated, “Our Pen Pal Program is a fun way for girls to connect with other AHG members across the country! Girls are expected to write their pen pals at least once a month, and many communicate even more frequently. AHG encourages ‘old-fashioned’ letter writing, especially for younger girls, as it develops a special understanding of written communication and a sense of excitement with the daily mail. Girls may show how much they care about their pen pal by sending additional letters or cards for birthdays and holidays!”

Parents have been raving about AHG’s Pen Pal Program for years. One AHG dad said, “In January of 2020, my two daughters were assigned their first Pen Pals through AHG. They were super excited and began exchanging letters over the next several months. In June of 2020, our family was able to go on an 8,000-mile road trip around the United States. During our trip we were able to visit both Pen Pals. All [of the] families had a great time, and the girls were overjoyed to meet each other in person.”

Another parent commented, “My daughter just became a Patriot. She has been with AHG since she was 5. In all of those years, she has grown into an amazing, confident young woman. She has developed life-long friendships, even across the country thanks to Convention, camps, and the Pen Pal Program. Her faith is stronger because it extends past home and church! Her heart to serve amazes me every day and I believe that was developed through so many acts of service with AHG. She is truly a godly young woman of integrity.”

“For girls searching for meaningful relationships, AHG can supply the resources and programs to help them to feel connected again,” Garibay commented.

Garibay recently spoke on the Focus on the Family nationwide radio program about the importance of raising godly girls and how parents and grandparents can help equip the next generation of women. Host Jim Daly said, “Patti’s advancing a very noble cause and I’m so encouraged by her commitment to godly values and her desire to pour into the next generation of young women.”

AHG’s mission is to build women of integrity through service to God, family, community, and country. Itis dedicated to providing authentic, positive, and values-driven character and leadership development opportunities and outdoor adventure for girls across the nation.

American Heritage Girls was founded in 1995 by a group of parents who wanted this faith-based, scout-type character development program for their daughters. 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.

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. 

The “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. 

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