SPRINGFIELD – American Heritage Girls (AHG) is a faith-based program that fits well with the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Girl Scouts that meets every Monday evening at First Baptist Church here. Other Missouri AHG troops are located in Versailles, St. Louis, and Kansas City.
This new organization for girls provides leadership and character development for girls kindergarten through 18 years of age. AHG troops meet to grow in their faith, serve in their community, practice leadership, experience teamwork, and build friendships.There are five levels: Pathfinder, ages 5-6, in kindergarten; Tenderheart, ages 6-9, grades 1-3; Explorer, ages 9-12, grades 4-6; Pioneer, ages 12-14, grades 7-8; and Patriot, ages 14-18, grades 9-12. Girls in this AHG troop will be able to earn badges in six frontiers: heritage, family living, arts, personal well-being, science and technology, and outdoor skills.
The troop coordinator is Kathryn Mainka. Denise Overton, wife of Pastor Michael Overton, is the troop shepherd. Other leaders are Crystal Listerman, Karen Strick, and Kathy Love. After one month there are 22 girls registered.
The church has provided financial support and meeting space for AHG. David J. Eslick is the coordinator between the AHG and the church, just as he is with Boy Scout Troop 5 and Cub Scout Pack 5, and Girl Scout Troop 5.
Each month the girls will work on a service project. Upcoming projects include making Christmas cards for soldiers serving overseas and helping the church with Operation Christmas Child, packing shoeboxes with items for children overseas. Girls who have become members of this new troop are from several churches in the community.
The oath for the American Heritage Girls organization is, “I promise to love God, cherish my family, honor my country, and serve in my community. Their creed is, “As an American Heritage Girl, I promise to be compassionate, helpful, honest, loyal, perseverant, pure, resourceful, respectful, responsible, and reverent.” Their mission is, “Building women of integrity through service to God, family, community, and country.”
The national office of American Heritage Girls is in Cincinnati, Ohio. AHG is the premier national character development organization for young women that embraces Christian values and encourages family involvement. During its 17 years of operation, AHG has experienced rapid growth. Founded in 1995 in Cincinnati, Ohio, AHG has grown from 10 troops and 100 members to an anticipated 18,000 members in 2012, according to Founder and Executive Director Patti Garibay.