American Heritage Girls, the fastest growing all-girl Scouting organization in the United States, chartered another troop in Cary recently, the fourth in Wake County to open in the last two years.
Founded in 1995, AHG is the first all-girl group to formally partner with the Boy Scouts of America.
“AHG is structured much like the BSA, with a focus on faith, service and fun that makes the two organizations perfect bookend programs to one another,” said Patti Garibay, American Heritage Girl founder and Executive Director.
Designed to provide leadership and character development, the group offers more than 240 badges and activities including special father-daughter activities. Purity, service, stewardship and integrity form the foundation of the statement of faith and are part of what led Garibay to establish the program.
Creating a faith-based all-girls organization was an emotional calling for Garibay. “The defining time came when the Girls Scouts of the United States allowed for flexibility in spiritual wording of the oath,” explained Garibay, a former GSUSA leader.
Wanting something more for her daughter is what led Stephanie Massey to volunteer as the coordinator for Cary’s newest troop - NC0244. Heritage Girls appeals to Massey’s 12-year-old daughter, EmmaKay, because it is similar to the Scouting program her three older brothers have enjoyed. “It’s really fun because we go camping, rock climbing and other adventurous stuff. We also learn more about Jesus,” EmmaKay said.
Weaving the tenets of the Christian faith throughout the AHG program is what Massey likes best about AHG. “Each troop has a Shepherd who says devotions, prayer requests are taken and the girls sing hymns,” said Massey who plans to assist other groups that want to form an AHG in the Southwest Wake Region.
EmmaKay is looking forward to the June Court of Awards event that includes a father and daughter event for sixth graders.
“There’s a Daughter of the King badge and a special dance when the fathers give their daughter a tiara ring,” she said.
The launch meeting for NC0244 was held on March 5, 2012 and 22 girls joined. The troop, which meets at Peace Presbyterian Church now includes 30 girls.
Massey said it was a little nerve-wracking that first night, not knowing how many girls to expect. But she felt like God was helping her put everything together.
“I want AHG to be a place people want to be and look forward to coming to every Monday night,” she said.
Published April 4, 2012 in The Cary News
Picture credit Stephanie Massey. Pictured are members of NC0244. Top left to right, Marie Lupino, Anna Kate Peterson, Brianna Ledges, EmmaKay Massey and Bethany Guthrie center bottom.
For more information about American Heritage Girls visit www.ahgonline.org
The AHG Oath: “I promise to love God, cherish my family, honor my country and serve in my community.”
Liza is the Faith Filter columnist for the Cary News. Her stories of faith and lives changed by trusting in God are published about four times a year.