Published: Apr 03, 2012 06:00 PM
Modified: Apr 03, 2012 12:22 PM
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 Girls 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 organization was an emotional calling for Garibay, who wanted a group with a spiritual component for her daughter. “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 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 any other prospective AHG groups in southwest Wake County.
EmmaKay is looking forward to the June Court of Awards 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 explained.
The launch meeting for NC0244 was held March 5, and 22 girls joined. The troop, which meets at Peace Presbyterian Church in Cary, 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.