Today, on Flag Day — when America commemorates the date in 1777 when the country approved the design of its first national flag — American Heritage Girls (AHG, www.americanheritagegirls.org) stands proudly behind this shining symbol and of the freedoms Americans enjoy.
Thousands of parents and caregivers of daughters across the country are already aware that AHG offers a faith-based, scout-type experience for girls that includes badge programs, service projects, leadership opportunities, outdoor adventures, and much more — all with an emphasis on Christian values and family participation.
One of the first badges AHG girls earn, in fact, is the ‘Our Flag’ badge, which conveys a knowledge of the flag’s history, a respect for its colors, and an understanding of how to carry, display, and handle the flag. “Even beyond that, AHG girls learn the faith connection,” said AHG Founder and Executive Director Patti Garibay. “Flags in the Bible were often used to identify the tribes and families of Israel, as the Lord commanded. As Numbers 2:2 shares, ‘The Israelites are to camp around the tent of meeting some distance from it, each of them under their standard and holding the banners of their family.’”
In addition, an AHG volunteer in Louisville, Kentucky, wrote the song “Old Glory” to help teach flag etiquette to her young members in a fun, engaging way. The song is filed with The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) as an AHG copyrighted property, and its first live performance was at AHG’s 10-year anniversary in 2005. Among its lyrics are these beautiful words:
Old Glory, you tell the story of the land of Liberty
Old Glory, you tell the story of the land of the Free
Blue tells of the courage to fight
White’s for the values we live by
And red speaks for those who’ve given their lives
Cause freedom has a price
Said Garibay, “AHG provides girls with a deeper understanding of their country and heritage. Girls cultivate honor for their country by participating in patriotic events, flag ceremonies, serving in their community, and through badge work. By serving others and being active citizens with their Troop, they learn a lifelong love of their country.”
She added, “Our mission is building women of integrity through service to God, family, community, and country.”
An AHG recipient of the program’s Stars & Stripes Award — the highest recognition available to an American Heritage Girl — offered proof of this when she shared this beautiful sentiment: “The girls I bonded with during the toughest years of adolescence still provide me with unfailing support. These friendships were forged over learning to scale rock faces, tying boat knots, and understanding the history of our flag.”
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