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'The Future is in His Hands': Christ-Centered Alternative to Girl Scouts Turns 25

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A faith-based program that has been building Christ-centered character in girls around the world is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

American Heritage Girls (AHG) was founded in 1995 by Patti Garibay, a former Girl Scouts USA (GSUSA) leader for 13 years. 

Major changes in the direction of GSUSA led Garibay to part ways with the organization. She explained that the voice of God called her to begin a new program.

Garibay told CBN News, "AHG has, from its beginning, been a work of the Lord, not of me. I simply said yes to His call, and each day take the next step forward."

The Cincinnati, Ohio based program is reaching girls ages 5-18 in all 50 states and in 15 countries. 

There are five program levels, where girls begin as a "Pathfinder" and work at developing leadership skills so they can mature into the role of "Patriot."

AHG offers badge programs, service projects, leadership opportunities, and outdoor experiences, all with an emphasis on Christian values and family involvement.

Their mission is simple and pure, "Building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country."

The heart of AHG is focused in Christ, providing girls with experiences that build confidence and develop character - all while growing in relationship with the Lord.

The ministry has expanded with the Trailblazer Program - an alternative to joining the traditional AHG Troop. Girls who are unable to attend regular troop meetings due to living in a remote location or because of a disability are still able to enjoy the benefits of being in the program. 

Also, AHG helped start Trail Life USA, a faith-based scouting organization that was founded in 2013 as an alternative to Boy Scouts. 

"AHG is thrilled to work with Trail Life USA in bringing Christ-centered, goal-oriented programming to families across the nation," Garibay said.

She explained that the organization is launching new projects and activities for the future.

"AHG is embarking on so many new initiatives, including New Girl Handbooks featuring new badges and insights on what it takes to be a young woman after God's own heart, and an upcoming Girl Convention with an anticipated attendance of nearly 4000 from around the country."

And the organization created a Respect Life patch in 2015 to reinforce their commitment to honoring life from conception to natural death.

Girls can earn the patch by participating in an event that brings awareness to respecting life, or by providing a service to an organization who shares that vision. 

Garibay said their future is looking bright, including a recent move into their first stand-alone office building - complete with a chapel and museum.

"We are excited to see the new American Heritage Girls office become a beacon for the community of Springdale in this new beautiful and highly visible office building." 

"The future of AHG is in His hands. My role is to ensure through prayer and discernment, that the leadership of AHG continue to be dedicated to its Christ-centered mission while reaching more girls and families," Garibay concluded.

Click here to find a troop in your area, or to start an AHG troop.

The organization will celebrate their birthday at the AHG National 25th Anniversary Convention, July 22-25, 2020 in Cedarville, Ohio.

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About The Author

Andrea Morris

Andrea Morris is a Features Producer for The 700 Club. She came to CBN in 2019 where she worked as a web producer in the news department for three years. Her passion was always to tell human interest stories that would touch the hearts of readers while connecting them with God. She transitioned into her new role with The 700 Club in August 2022.