American Heritage Girls Offers Faith-Based Patriotic Alternative to Decaying Girl Scouts
My sister was a Girl Scout. Countless friends belonged to troops as well. Full disclosure, I've had my share of Girl Scout cookies over the years. But things have changed drastically. The once all-American organization continues to slip deeper into a moral decline. The good news is, there is an alternative.
While the Girl Scouts of America have distanced themselves from God, embraced atheists, and promoted pro-abortion organizations and figures, families looking for more are flocking elsewhere. They're landing happily into a sea of red, white, and blue known as American Heritage Girls.
AHG was founded in 1995 in West Chester, Ohio by a group of parents wanting a wholesome program for their daughters. One of those parents was Patti Garibay, who's now the group's executive director. She knows better than anyone what a terrific program AHG has become.
"It incorporates a lot of the fun activities that made the Girl Scouts great," Garibay told Breitbart Sports. "Girls take part in activities, enjoy their faith, and have fun while serving others." Garibay was very involved in the Girl Scouts as a leader when the social changes started to rear their head.
"In 1993 when the scouts allowed atheist troop members, I knew I had to act," said Garibay. Did she ever. Two years later American Heritage Girls was up and running in Ohio. Fast forward to today and there are troops in 49 states and 6 international countries. (Only Joe Biden's home state of Delaware has yet to form a troop)
"People want this," Garibay said. "We are a choice for families who still love scouting and want to have faith based principles behind it."
While growth of AHG has been steady, it's often hard to get the word out on limited funds. Especially with the powerhouse Girl Scouts of America ingrained in so many people's minds.
"Tradition is a powerful thing," Garibay said. "Creating favoritism because of traditions happens. But when reality comes into play, when things change and agendas change from their founders' visions, it's time for parents to wake up and show their children the way. It may be inconvenient to do something different, but it's still the right thing. Apathy is the acceptance of the unacceptable. It's time for America to stop being apathetic."
My daughter is in the midst of her first year as an American Heritage Girl. The program has been just wonderful. She's learning to love God and her exceptional country more and more. She's having a blast making crafts and selling cookie dough and candy. She's also learning life lessons. AHG shows her how to respect our flag. Soon, her troop will be sending Bibles to our troops overseas with notes of encouragement from the girls. We already participated as a family in a water walk to raise funds for people in Kenya who don't have clean water. A camping trip is scheduled for the summer. My daughter is getting everything a scouting program can offer, without Christ or our country having to take a backseat.
While AHG is building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country, the Girl Scouts are unraveling. Recently, GSA promoted Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis as an "incredible" woman. They named the pro-abortion activist to a 2013 "women of the year" list. AHG leaders would never expose our children to a radical like Davis. "It is disturbing to see Davis featured," Garibay said. "We were founded for that very reason. Parents need a Christ honoring and life honoring alternative. It's important for young girls to know that life begins at conception and it doesn't end until natural death."
Lessons the Girl Scouts used to be proud of.
"These are important issues and AHG does not stand with Wendy Davis by any means," said Garibay.
The real shame of the Davis showcasing is there are so many actual role models out there that young girls should be introduced to. "I got to meet Sarah Palin briefly a while back," Garibay beamed. "We would love for her to know more about AHG because I often think that Governor Palin would like American Heritage Girls."
Hard to argue with that. They stand for the same things. Just look at the AHG Oath which states: I promise to love God, Cherish my family, Honor my country, and Serve in my community.
Some other role models are a lot closer to home. The younger girls in AHG (Pathfinders and Tenderhearts) often look up to the older girls in their troop (Explorers, Pioneers, and Patriots). "It's a powerful reason for the girls to stay in the troop," Garibay pointed out. "The longer they stay in AHG, the more it can help them transform into women of integrity."
How's this for a contrast? The Girl Scouts are promoting Wendy Davis and they have ties to Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile, American Heritage Girls will partner with the Diocese of Arlington as a sponsor for their national prayer gathering and rally in Washington, D.C. prior to the March for Life later this month. Girls in Michigan AHG troops even designed and earned a Pro-Life Patch to display on their uniforms by participating in events that support the pro-life movement. The Life Is Very Good Youth Rally or Abortion Barbie? There are options out there, folks.
Joshua Ackley, the lead singer of the "homopunk" band The Dead Betties, was listed as the main media spokesman for the Girl Scouts until recently. His name was removed from their web site after a Breitbart News article exposed his after-hours activities. How a guy known for writhing on the ground and touching his genitals is associated with the program in any way is mind boggling. "I do believe your spokespeople should emulate and represent what you stand for," Garibay said. "I think it says a lot."
It speaks volumes. A once proud organization is now falling on the wrong side of the culture war. Thankfully, we have been blessed with AHG.
Every AHG meeting features a flag ceremony. The U.S. flag and the AHG flag are both prominently displayed. "We teach respect for our flag and in turn, the girls love learning about our vets and their sacrifices," Garibay said. "It makes the vets feel great and honored."
Service in general is promoted by AHG with a servant's heart in mind. "Girls gain the most when they give themselves away," Garibay said. "That's a Christ principle. They are beautiful and talented and designed to be difference makers. When girls find out they are made in God's image, we will not see bulimia, cutting, or promiscuity. We will see more joy."
Boys shouldn't feel left out either. AHG is now helping and counseling Trail Life USA. "What a neat blessing to see a new boys program that's Christ centered and modeled after what AHG is doing," said Garibay. "It's interesting to see after 19 years of doing this, we're now the one's helping! Who would've thought? It's a God thing that we would be helping someone else. I certainly wish someone was there for us in the beginning, Everyone needs a mentor."
Fortunately for the girls across the country there are plenty of mentors giving of their time. They are the committed leaders of American Heritage Girls. My daughter and I can't wait for her next meeting.
To learn more about American Heritage Girls visit http://www.ahgonline.org/
Follow Kevin Scholla on Twitter @KevinScholla