VOLUME SIXTEEN | WINTER 2021 | AMERICANHERITAGEGIRLS.ORG
HERITAGEHEADLINES HOPE for
TOMORROW: Trusting in God’s Faithfulness AHG Girls Adapt Overcome
& to Serve
in their Communities
Honoring Those Who Serve our Nation
Meet LILY LARSON: Photographer, Entrepreneur, & AHG Alumna
AHG3126 - AHG Heritage Headlines Volume 16 Winter
This Christmas season, VA1318 honored veterans by laying a wreath and planting a flag at every grave site at the Yorktown National Cemetery, totaling almost 1,600 altogether.
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Dear friends, I once read that “hope” is commonly used to express a wish: its strength comes from the power of the person’s desire. For instance, while recently in one of my most favorite places in the country, the Florida Keys, we “hoped” for sunny, windless, warm weather despite it being January. We hope for COVID-19 to end and for our lives to return to “normal.” We hope for our country to return to its moral roots. As Christians who believe in the truths of the Bible, “hope” is the confident expectation of what God has promised, and its strength comes from His faithfulness. Did you know the word “hope” occurs 130 times in the King James Version, appearing in 121 verses? “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV). For many of us, this verse is engraved on our hearts and comes to our minds during difficult seasons. Jeremiah acknowledges to the people of his time and to us today that God does not promise to immediately rescue us from hardship or suffering, but rather he promises us that His plan for our lives is good regardless of our current situation. He can and will work through disappointment to prosper us and give us hope and a future. My prayer for each of you is that your hope is not the kind that springs from a wishful thought but rather lingers in the abiding truth that where there is the Lord, there is always hope. May this volume bless you as we celebrate the hope that is Jesus. In His Service,
Patti Garibay AHG Founder & Executive Director
WINTER ISSUE FEBRUARY 2021
AHG News Sharing the AHG Program with audiences across the country on the Colson Center’s Strong Woman Podcast, the Catholic Telegraph, the Teach Them Diligently Podcast, and more.
HOPE FOR TOMORROW:
Trusting in God’s Faithfulness
Service Stories American Heritage Girls are fulfilling God’s call to be His hands and feet. Read about Troop service projects and their impact on local communities across the country.
Girl Stories Troop activities, special events, girl leadership, and more! AHG gives girls the safe and Spirit-filled space to grow in their identity and abilities.
Badge Stories AHG Badges give girls the opportunity to develop applicable life skills, grow in faith, and discover new passions.
Charter Organization Spotlight The secret to a thriving AHG Troop is a strong, supportive Charter Organization. Due West United Methodist Church in Marietta, GA is just that for the girls and volunteers of GA4224.
Alumna Spotlight Meet Lily Larson, Photographer, Student, and AHG Alumna.
Stars & Stripes Award Recipient Highlight Meet Anne Culbreth, Stars & Stripes Award Recipient #657 from TX2928.
High Impact Insight JoNell Baker, Detroit Area Coordinator, shares valuable information on the critical role of keeping the spirit of hope and joy alive during a difficult Program Year.
AHG, Inc. Updates Exciting updates, changes, and news from the AHG, Inc. Office and Staff in Cincinnati, OH.
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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” –Romans 15:13, NIV
OUTDOORS ARE OPEN Gear up and earn the new AHG Family Hike and Backyard Camping Patches along with an Outdoor Skills badge or two. Prepare for your adventure with some AHG Outerwear and Outdoor Gear at:
AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS | 5
ABOUT THE COVER MEET OUR AHG COVER GIRL
BEHIND THE COVER Moriah, an Explorer from OH0413, donned her AHG Uniform and new AHGstore arrivals for a fun merchandise photoshoot at Hueston Woods State Park.
Did you know that all AHG publications, social media photos, and video content feature the smiling faces of reallive American Heritage Girls? Even AHGstore merchandise is worn not by models, but by girls registered in the program! The AHG Marketing & Communications Team creates regular opportunities to photograph AHG girls and volunteers, hosting Cincinnati-local Troops at photoshoots and photographing girls from across the country at national events. As the AHGstore prepared to launch a new line of merchandise this fall, there was a need to model and photograph each piece from the exciting collection of new items. Ohio Troops, like OH0413, joined AHG Staff, including the photographer of this image, Audrey Hornsby, AHG’s Financial Specialist, for a sociallydistanced outdoor photoshoot at Hueston Woods State Park. Pictured here is Moriah, an Explorer from the Dayton-area Troop, all smiles as she shows off her AHG Class A Uniform and some of the AHGstore’s newest arrivals.
Looking to share this issue with friends, family, or someone you think might love the AHG Program? Share the digital version FREE by visiting issuu.com/americanheritagegirls. Want an extra hard copy for your daughter’s memory box or to give to a potential local Charter Organization? Order today from the AHGstore by visiting americanheritagegirls.org/store! 6 | AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS
T ESTING S ERV I C ES
Healthy Assessment Strengthens Families
PROVIDE YOUR CHILD’S END-OF-GRADE TESTING WITH EASE IN THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME! You can feel confident in your child’s end-of-grade assessment. • Challenge and asses your student’s in-depth knowledge with our pioneering Comprehensive Testing Program
• Traditional pencil and paper format option
• Convenient online testing and access to your child’s score reports
• Utilizes nationally recognized Stanford-10 testing standards
• Students build their test-taking skills
Have piece of mind in knowing the test results do not define who your child is, but rather assess what they have learned.
TO LEARN MORE
AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS | 7
AHGNEWS RECENT MEDIA SPOTS FOR THE AHG, INC. OFFICE AHG was all over the airwaves this quarter! Check out the many interviews AHG Founder and Executive Director Patti Garibay participated in with news outlets all over the country:
Whether it’s faith, service or fun, communities across the nation are witnessing contributions of local AHG Troops. The Catholic Telegraph October 2020 Issue “American Heritage Girls: Respect Life Patch Program Encourages Girls to Support Life in the Community” thecatholictelegraph.com/american-heritage-girls-respect-life-patch-program-encourages-girls-tosupport-life-in-the-community
Heritage Headlines, AHG’s quarterly magazine, seeks to spread those good news stories while encouraging other Troops to follow in their footsteps. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
SENIOR DIRECTOR OF MINISTRY EXPANSION
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS
The Lighthouse, 100.1FM WPMH Live Interview on October 14, 2020 with Colleen Dick
Strong Woman Podcast presented by Colson Center Episode 22: Why Curse the Darkness? with Patti Garibay
CONTENT MARKETING SPECIALIST
GRAPHIC DESIGN SPECIALIST
Teach Them Diligently Podcast Episode 38: From Mom to Movement Maker
Strong Tower Christian Media Recorded interview aired on November 4, 2020
Direct all Letters to the Editor, address changes, or other correspondence to:
Listen online, 93.7 The Light:
American Heritage Girls, Inc. 35 Tri-County Parkway Cincinnati, OH 45246
or Hope 100.7: myhope1007.com
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AHGONLINE CELEBRATING AHG TROOPS ACROSS THE WEB
Check out our social media channels for the latest AHG updates and happenings.
GET FEATURED Share your Troop photos with the hashtag #ahgfun on Instagram for a chance to be shared in Heritage Headlines.
THE JUMP www.thejump.com/ ahgcommunity
PINTEREST www.pinterest.com/ americanheritagegirls
COMMENTS & CONVERSATION
Happy New Year’s Eve! It’s safe to say we can all agree that 2020 was a 365-day rollercoaster—twisting and turning with no idea of what to expect next. We entered the year with 2020 vision and are exiting with mask-fogged glasses. Needless to say, 2020 was the exact opposite of what we’d optimistically anticipated. Thankfully, we serve a sovereign God who knew exactly how the year would play out. He was and is in control every step of the way, working behind the scenes for our good and His glory. Praise God! As we approach 2021, think about a blessing you might have received amidst a tough year, and drop it in the comments. Let’s encourage each other! “I loved the calmer schedule and much more family time. We focused our AHG activities to be outside and the girls have loved it! This summer we had a pop-up downpour on one of our hikes... it was such fun!” –Christine Reuther Chappell “AHG was our only in-person activity once COVID hit, and it was such a blessing to my daughter. She (and I) love it” –Noel Morgan
“Having an AHG Troop for my daughter has been a blessing to our mental health. It was one of the few in-person activities available even with Unit meetings being virtual. She had her first Unit hike ever because of this year, and so many more outdoor opportunities. –Rebekah Esch
“Time with family!”
www.linkedin.com/ company/ American-Heritage-Girls
–Diana Coppage Landrum “My blessing is my husband’s cancer is asleep and he is doing wonderful.” –Trish Lusher
www.youtube.com/ AHGchannel AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS | 9
SERVICESTORIES WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN ACTIVE CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES Service projects look a little different in today’s circumstances, but that hasn’t stopped American Heritage Girls across the country from giving back to their communities! Troop leaders looking for service ideas that are compatible with socialdistancing and virtual settings are invited to download the AHG in a Virtual Setting and Service in a Virtual Setting addendum from AHG’s online resource library.
HAVE A STORY OF SERVICE OR A CREATIVE IDEA YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
Submit your photos and project details to AHG via https://bit.ly/AHGphoto for a chance to be featured on social media or in a future issue of Heritage Headlines!
ARIZONA TROOP HONORED THOSE WHO SERVE ON VETERANS DAY Veterans Day is a popular day for American Heritage Girls Troop service projects and it’s easy to see why! The AHG Program provides girls with a deeper understanding of their country and appreciation for those who serve it. Girls cultivate honor for their country by participating in patriotic events, flag ceremonies, serving in their community, and through badge work. Serving others and being active citizens with their Troop, fosters a lifelong love for their country. AZ1318 recently gave back to the veterans in their community this past Veterans Day, honoring their service though handmade cards and ornaments to enjoy through the Christmas season.
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TEXAS TROOP PIVOTS PLANS TO SERVE ASSISTED LIVING RESIDENTS IN A NEW WAY When preparing for their annual Christmas service project, the girls and leaders of TX1213 looked for new ways to volunteer in a safe, socially-distanced way at their local assisted living home. Given the visitor restrictions at elderly care facilities worldwide, Troop go-to ideas like Christmas caroling and crafting with residents weren’t possible. Girls from the Boerne, Texas Troop flexed their creative muscles and created one-of-a-kind trendy Christmas wreaths for the residents they typically get to see in-person. Each wreath gifted to the residents allowed for the Christmas cheer to fill the halls of the assisted living home, keeping the spirit of Christ’s birth alive in the midst of a difficult season of isolation.
AHG TROOPS PACK 20,394 OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD SHOEBOXES Over 300 American Heritage Girls Troops participated in the #AHGOCC25 Shoebox Challenge this year! Troops were asked to pack 25 Operation Christmas Child (OCC) shoeboxes in honor of AHG’s 25th Anniversary. To meet this goal, Troops like VA2345, CA0608, and TX0240 got creative with their 2020 packing parties, masking up, spreading out, and carefully packing the boxes with sanitized hands! Thanks to the generosity of so many American Heritage Girls families, thousands of children will receive a tangible expression of God’s love through their efforts. Girls who participated will receive a special OCC/AHG Anniversary patch. Each year, Samaritan/OCC gifts a spot on their annual Vision Trip to a participating AHG Troop through a random drawing of eligible entries from the Shoebox Count Forms. The winning Troop this year is CO2118. Please join AHG in congratulating the girls and leaders from the Troop including Natalie Shafer, Troop Coordinator, whom the Troop designated to attend the trip! 2021 will certainly look a bit different due to the continuing worldwide effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, including global travel restrictions. OCC has shared that the normally-scheduled spring trip will be postponed to a later date than usual, but will still be honored! AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS | 11
GIRLSTORIES INCREDIBLE TALES OF LEADERSHIP, VOLUNTEERING & FRIENDSHIP AHG TROOPS ADAPT MID-YEAR AWARD CEREMONIES FOR SAFE CELEBRATION As the weather turned colder, Troops across the country found new ways to adapt and take their AHG activities indoors. With state, local, and Charter Organization guidelines in mind, Troops nationwide planned their AHG Award Ceremonies for girls and families to enjoy. Troop leaders flexed their creative muscles to present girls with their awards, patches, and badges in exciting ways, like the autumnal insignia presentation pictured with Emily, an Explorer from TN0177. The girls and leaders of AL2345 rallied together to create a safe, fun, and memorable ceremony. “We enjoyed the beautiful Christmas decorations set up by our Charter Organization, including socially-distanced seat markers. Before the ceremony, Girl Members added AHG touches, extra lights, and tulle to the stage as the Color Guard did a run through. Together, our Explorers designed presentation slide graphics and a photo slideshow that were presented during the ceremony. Two of our girls serve as the weekly pew-disinfecting crew for the church sanctuary. They generously added another day to their schedule and left our Charter Organization lemonyfresh following the ceremony,” said Kayla, Vice Coordinator.
GIRLS LEARN CITIZENSHIP AND RESPECT THROUGH AHG’S U.S. MILITARY HEROES EVENT When faced with planning this past year’s Veterans Day activities, AHG knew Troops would need to reevaluate their traditions and created new ways for girls to learn and give back to those who served. The AHG U.S. Military Heroes Event, planned by the AHG, Inc. Girl Impact Staff, took place November 9-13, 2020. Throughout the week, girls joined YouTube live events including a physical training session with Coach Jody from The Great Flip. The Bartholomews, an AHG Trailblazer family currently stationed overseas in Germany, joined Patti Garibay, AHG Founder & Executive Director, for a discussion about the sacrifices of U.S. Military Heroes and their families. Girls tuned in to hear from Elizabeth Harris, an AHG Alumna and Stars & Stripes Award Recipient, as she shared her experience as a midshipman at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. The event culminated with a large-scale service event for Operation Gratitude, making paracord bracelets to send to active duty service members, and a call to connect with a local cemetery to decorate the gravesites of veterans.
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GIRL LEADERSHIP EVENT EQUIPS GIRLS TO LEAN INTO THEIR CALLING In the lineup of virtual events planned for this unprecedented Program Year, AHG focused on maintaining the essential balance of faith, service, and fun in its programming. The AHG Girl Leadership Event focused on teaching girls about the different types of leadership, focusing on Biblical women and the example Christ laid out for us as the ultimate servant leader. Girls participated in fun activities, took personality and leadership style tests to learn more about themselves, and enjoyed YouTube live sessions with Lead Like Louie author Danise DiStasi, Frieda B. author Renata Bowers, ambigram artist Beth Gully, and more. “We really enjoyed working on this patch together. Leadership is something near and dear to me, but I have been waiting for a special time to cover with my girls...this was it! It was a huge success and the girls really enjoyed learning about themselves,” said Jillalison, an AHG Adult Member and mom to Averylynn and Emmajane, Tenderhearts in MD0414.
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BADGESTORIES LEARNING LIFE SKILLS AND BUILDING CONFIDENCE
OUTDOOR COOKING BADGE Being in the outdoors is a lot of fun. Cooking outside can add to the experience. You don’t have to eat boring food while camping. You can enjoy many foods you cook at home or create delicious recipes savored only in the outdoors. Learn some fun and tasty ways to have some great meals while you are away from the comforts of home. The great outdoors are still open! The girls and leaders of OK0047 planned a Troop campout in accordance with their state and local guidelines to allow girls to experience all that nature has to offer. Lennon, an Explorer, worked on her Outdoor Cooking Badge during the Troop campout. Using an open flame and a bit of creativity, Lennon made a delicious dump cake to share with everyone in the campsite!
SEWING BADGE Sewing can be as basic as replacing a button, repairing a torn hem, or stitching a hole in a seam. It can be as fun and creative as designing home fashions or as challenging as sewing a suit. Master the basics and you will be prepared to tackle bigger and more complicated projects. AHG History In the beginning, AHG was too small for a manufacturer to produce its vest and sashes, so the girls learned to do it themselves! Years of hard work go into filling up an AHG vest or sash with badges, patches, Service Stars, faith awards, and sports pins. When a girl advances to the next Program Level, her insignia collection stays on the previous Program Level’s uniform. Kristen, an Explorer from CA1271, found a way to display and enjoy the badges she earned as a Tenderheart. Kristen learned how to use a sewing machine with her grandmother’s help and turned her vest into a pillow. In the process of creating this one-of-a-kind memento, she earned her Sewing Badge, which is now proudly displayed on her new Explorer vest!
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HORSEMANSHIP BADGE Horses have always been a popular animal and a favorite of many girls. Horsemanship means knowing how to care for and ride a horse. Riding and caring for a horse is a big responsibility. Learning to do so correctly is essential for the health and safety of both the rider and the horse. This fall, the girls of NY4813 visited a local horse farm to earn their Horsemanship Badge together—albeit six feet apart! Surrounded by the beauty of the Hudson Valley fall foliage, Troop Tenderhearts, Explorers, Pioneers, and Patriots split up into small groups and learned about horseback riding safety, grooming techniques, healthcare for horses, and the costs associated with owning and boarding a horse. Each girl also received a horseback riding lesson from the teachers at the farm. The Troop enjoyed a day of outdoor fun safely, following New York State safety guidelines, proving that American Heritage Girls Troops can still maintain a full calendar of faith, service, and fun this Program Year!
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ARGUABLY THE MOST IMPACTFUL
IN THE WELL-BEING OF AN AHG T
IS THE CHARTER ORGANIZATION.
Troop is owned by a Charter Organiza which is typically a church, school, or
aligned Christian organization. Withou
support of their Charter Organization,
Troop would not exist. When the Char
Organization and Charter Representa
invest in their Troop, the AHG Ministry
have an incredible impact on the outre the organization.
In this issue, AHG is excited to shine a
DUE WEST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH GA4224
Due West United Methodist Church in
chartering an AHG Troop at their chur
GA, home to GA4224. Charter Repre
Bill Coffeen and Troop Coordinator Al
Melton reflect on nearly eight years of
and the great impact AHG has had on community.
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, an AHG
a light on
WHY DID YOUR CHURCH DECIDE TO CHARTER AN AHG TROOP? During the second quarter of 2013, a member of our congregation asked me as our church’s Charter Organization Representative to investigate an organization she was quite enthusiastic about called American Heritage Girls. I was quite interested to see how this new program might complement our existing scouting programs. After a fair amount of due diligence, I was convinced that chartering an American Heritage Girls Troop would enhance our efforts to reach out to girls and young women with a Christ-centered program of substance that focused on citizenship, service, and faith. The results have proven themselves over and over again.
HOW MANY YEARS HAS YOUR CHURCH HAD AN AHG TROOP? Our Troop has grown in numbers (now 69 members) and matured in leadership over the past seven going on eight years. The Troop’s success has been built upon a core of dedicated and trained leaders, many of whom were founding members. Watching them nurture their daughters into young women of integrity through the various Program Levels is such a blessing.
HOW HAVE YOU SEEN GROWTH IN YOUR MINISTRY PROGRAMMING SINCE CHARTERING AN AHG TROOP? Having GA4224 represent Due West UMC in its efforts to serve the greater community through girl-centered activities has energized our Women’s and Children’s Ministry to reach out to them and support their activities. We have some families within GA4224 that are also church members. Some of these members are heavily involved in other ministries within our church. Thanks to their connections with other families that join AHG, they have encouraged others to become involved with these ministries and the church. We are glad to support GA4224 as an outreach of our church to the community.
HOW ELSE HAS AHG AFFECTED YOUR ORGANIZATION’S MINISTRY EFFORTS? GA4224 participates in several service project opportunities during their Program Year, some of which are tied to church-sponsored missions. Due West United Methodist is a missions-focused church, so there are many opportunities to serve. These girls and adults promote and support our ministry efforts through service to their community. The Troop has supported our church’s Great Day of Service by painting the front doors to our main sanctuary entrance, collected toiletry items for our sponsored Venezuela Now mission, and donated food items and packed brown bag lunches on behalf of our church to go to MUST Ministries. These are just a few examples of how GA4224 has served our organization’s ministry efforts.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER POTENTIAL CHARTER ORGANIZATIONS LOOKING TO CHARTER AN AHG TROOP? If you are looking for a Christ-centered program that supports girls as they physically and spiritually grow amid rising secularization in our society, this program is for you. Its holistic approach wonderfully balances their Program Emphases of citizenship, faith, leadership, life skills, outdoors and social-emotional. The national organization provides localized training, support, and regional activities through the implementation of the North Atlanta Area Team which can only enhance the success of individual Troops.
For more information on the chartering process, visit americanheritagegirls.org/start-a-troop/charter-organizations The relationship between a Charter Organization and its Troop is designed to be a partnership. As a ministry partner, the AHG Troop serves as an extension of the Charter Organization. AHG values the role of the Charter Organization in the AHG Ministry as they are the “owners” of their Troop. AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS | 17
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T rusting in G od's F aithfulness AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS | 19
THERE WERE A LOT OF TERMS USED TO DESCRIBE THE EVENTS OF 2 0 2 0 —‘UNPRECEDENTED’,
‘NEW NORMAL’, AND ‘DUMPSTER FIRE’ TO NAME A FEW.
For some, it felt like the chaos wouldn’t end, that there was no relief in sight from the mounting stress and difficulty that comes with a once-in-a-century epidemic health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. But as believers, even in the midst of these challenges, we put our faith in God over our fear of the unknown. We continue to find peace in knowing that God is sovereign over it all, and that He will reveal an end in His perfect timing. Put simply,
BY PLACING OUR FAITH IN A BIG GOD, WE GET TO LIVE IN THE HOPE OF HIS
promises FOR TOMORROW.
Today, we stand tall in a new year and we witness our society embracing a spirit of hope. We see a worldwide passion for eradicating the virus that’s affected all of our lives, a desire to serve in our communities to better the lives of our neighbors, and a mission to embrace every opportunity for joy that 2021 holds. This year, 20 | AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS
American Heritage Girls continues to pray for girls everywhere, that they would witness God’s goodness, despite difficulty in our world, and experience the joy that is living a life for Christ. Finding God in the Darkness It can be easy to look back on 2020 and see nothing but strife. But as believers, we can’t write off the year as a waste when God was still doing great things for us. He saw us through illness, through economic struggle, and through social unrest. He gifted new life and innovation. He planted seeds of hope so that we could sow them. As we wade through the darkness, we must remember to listen for God and teach our girls how to do the same. As you prepare for 2021, cling to the words of Romans 15:13, NIV, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” It’s human nature to forget
to thank God in times of great joy, and to turn to Him for comfort when we struggle. In our selfishness, it’s easy to only turn to God when we think we need His help. The good news? God doesn’t get hung up on our selfishness—He offers love, comfort, and forgiveness. In Him, we are redeemed. If we listen intently, we’ll confirm what C.S. Lewis notes—we can hear God speak loudest to us in times of difficulty. We need only turn to Him. He is our hope, and He is hope for our girls too.
isolation, people were able to hear the gospel message without ever stepping foot outside their home thanks to the power of the internet. God’s Word has the ability to permeate these digital spaces—and with it, the spread of hope for a better tomorrow. Going Beyond Sunday But even without millions of online followers, every member of the church body has the opportunity to make a significant impact on the faith of the next generation. There is a need to model for our young people that faith doesn’t have to exist solely within the walls of a church. In fact, it’s in modeling the life of a servant-hearted, loving, and kind Christian that the church will grow in the hearts and minds of skeptical youth.
An Opportunity for Discipleship Prayer is our first line of defense in times of trouble. As Christians we know that God cares deeply for each of us, that He hears our prayers and cares for our world. But for young people without a strong faith, it can be nearly impossible to The responsibility of discipleship and look around at the current state of our the call of Matthew 25, is a calling world and see a good, good Father “MAY THE GOD OF that AHG heeds daily. Anchoring at the helm. Disbelief is spreading girls in their faith in Christ at a shocking rate. We know HOPE FILL YOU WITH as they grow into women Barna research shows of integrity is at the core Generation Z embraces ALL JOY AND PEACE AS YOU of every piece of AHG atheism as a belief at a rate programming. Every girl in TRUST IN HIM, SO THAT YOU double that of the general AHG, whether she comes American population. It’s MAY OVERFLOW WITH HOPE from a churched family or easy to see that statistic not, hears of God’s love and and panic, but there’s hope. BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY mercy, Biblical truths, and That very same study shows the promises of salvation SPIRIT.” that while a vast number of in Christ. This Program Generation Z don’t currently Year, American Heritage Girls believe in God, they are open (ROMANS 15:13, NIV) launched a series of virtual events to the idea of faith. With a postto meet girls where they are, like Christian population like Generation Z the AHG Medical Heroes Week and the comes great potential for discipleship. As AHG Girl Leadership Event, that could connect the Barna researchers point out, young people girls within the program to one another and their are likely to resonate with Christian ideals like communities through faith, service, and fun. diversity, empathy, and service, opening the door These events, with virtual connections and handsto belief. on activities, modeled how girls can become change-makers through living out their Christian In our new digital age, there is opportunity to faith. infuse faith and Christian teachings into the lives of children. In order to share the gospel with young people, the church needs to meet them where they are—online. Famous influencers and music artists make great strides in sharing the gospel online to a huge audience of young followers. Even in the midst of worldwide social
When trying to stitch together faith and fun for today’s girl, we have to go beyond Sunday, and offer more. Today’s Christ-centered activities aren’t just your grandma’s Sunday school class! There are Christian-owned dance studios across
AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS | 21
We know that establishing the building blocks of faith in childhood gives way to a strong relationship and reliance on God in adulthood. Today especially, we live in a time where parents are reevaluating the activities in which their children are involved. While it may feel like this year isn’t a time for recruitment—it has never been more important. Consider how AHG might be the place that girls in your community need most right now. A place full of encouragement, new experiences, and connection— somewhere girls can learn to anchor their hope in Christ. AHG Troops are bringing joy to girls, families, and communities who are desperate. Hope For Tomorrow What is holding you back from planning for joy this year? Is it the anxiety of the unknown? Are you making an attempt to manage expectations? Are you frozen with the fear of disappointment? It’s time we place our faith in God over our fear of uncertainty. This year, shift the conversation from ‘what could have been’ to ‘what could be’. Hope is looking forward to tomorrow with a fresh eagerness, not glumly commiserating in the past. Hope is about anticipation, yes, but more than that it’s about resilience in the current struggle knowing and trusting that good is around the corner. What a gift to give our girls, the ability to be perseverant—it is an AHG Creed word after all!
Faith and hope are rooted in perseverance.
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the country that encourage Godliness in choreography, song choices, and costumes. There are Christian summer camps that seamlessly knit together spirituality and outdoor adventure. And, of course, there are scout-type ministries, like American Heritage Girls, that give girls the chance to make friends and grow holistically in a fun, Christ-centered environment. It’s vital that we don’t limit a girl’s exposure to faith to one day a week—we must weave it into the everyday (and make it fun!).
So think, how can we, as a ministry, live in hope? What joys can we look forward to knowing His timing is perfect and His plans work for our good? God works in the everyday—we need only invite Him in. Could tomorrow’s Troop meeting be the day a girl in your Troop embraces the gospel? Could that campout be the day a girl realizes she has the power to overcome fear? Could your next service project bring a new family into the church? We live in the hope of knowing that God is in control, that His plans are mighty, and His timing is perfect. We live in hope for tomorrow.
ALUMNASPOTLIGHT Since 1995, the Mission of American Heritage Girls has been to build women of integrity. While the AHG Program targets those in girlhood, the sincerity and faith-filled spirit that is nurtured and grown through AHG continues as girls develop and mature into women.
MEET LILY LARSON LILY IS A PHOTOGRAPHER, STUDENT, STARS & STRIPES AWARD RECIPIENT, AND AHG ALUMNA.
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Lily joined Jacksonville-area American Heritage Girls Troop, FL1412, as a Pioneer. She stayed in the program throughout her junior high and high school years, completing five years of AHG in the Pioneer and Patriot Program Levels. Before graduating, she earned her Stars & Stripes Award after completing a service project for Hope Therapy, a non-profit that offers equine assisted activities and therapy programming for children and adults in Middleburg, Florida. As so many Stars & Stripes Award Recipients note, this project, along with the time she spent volunteering with her Troop, opened Lily’s eyes to what an incredible gift it is to serve. “Thanks to my time in AHG, I learned how to become generously servant-hearted,” said Lily. “AHG gave me an opportunity to see where my service goes and the effect it has on people’s lives. To me, serving others gives me purpose and adds value to my everyday life.” As an American Heritage Girl, Lily enjoyed having fun in the outdoors with Troop friends, being creative, and earning various badges along the way. Like so many AHG Alumnae, Lily looks back on
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her years in AHG as a time where she made true, Godly friends. “My Unit was incredibly tight-knit which allowed for deep conversations during our time together, and also lots of belly-laughter,” said Lily. Thanks to social media, Lily and her fellow alumnae are able to stay in touch and celebrate life’s milestones, like graduations, weddings, and more— together. Today, Lily runs her wedding and portrait photography business, Lily Larson Photography, while she earns her degree from Florida State College of Jacksonville, and nannies for a local family. Through her camera lens, Lily seeks out beauty and light, capturing some of the most joyful moments in the lives of her clients. As a business owner, caregiver, and student, Lily relies on the confidence and leadership skills she learned during her time in AHG to succeed. “I was able to learn just how capable I am to achieve goals that seem beyond my abilities. I often reflect on my time in the program and the way it shaped who I am today.”
Most importantly of all, though, is Lily’s steadfast belief in God—a faith she fostered during her most formative teenage years, a time she spent as an American Heritage Girl. “AHG taught me the importance of consistency with my relationship with the Lord. Having a safe place to work towards goals and badges, I was just as challenged to grow my relationship stronger and closer with the Lord during every Troop meeting. The accountability between girls and leaders was incredibly inspiring and encouraging. I believe my time in AHG was a vital piece in my foundation for my adult life. I had mentors who were always readily available to help. For this and so many other reasons, my time as an American Heritage Girl will always be remembered as one of the sweetest seasons in my life.”
FASTFACTS Hometown: Jacksonville, FL High School Alma Mater: Homeschool Siblings: Four Pets: Three cats Favorite Book: Everybody Always by Bob Goff Favorite Travel Destination: Anywhere I haven’t been yet! Favorite Bible Verse: James 1:2-6 Favorite Social Media Platform: Instagram Favorite Food: I love all foods! Any Asian food, or authentic Mexican Favorite Flavor of Ice Cream: Chocolate Strawberry Favorite Sport: Not big into sports, though I love the food served at watch-parties! Favorite AHG Badge: Cake Decorating Badge or Camping Badge
AHG Alumnae often report back on how much the AHG Program has benefited their lives. These young women are making a remarkable difference in the world around them. AHG is looking to connect with its alumnae and create some exciting opportunities for them to reconnect with old friends and learn how they can share their leadership abilities! Are you an AHG Alumna? Visit americanheritagegirls. org/alumnae to update your contact information and share what you’ve been up to!
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STARS & STRIPESAWARD RECIPIENT
ANNE CULBRETH TX2928 STARS & STRIPES AWARD RECIPIENT #657
STARS & STRIPES AWARD RECIPIENTS AT A GLANCE (Mid-2020-2021 Program Year Facts & Figures)
2020-2021 Program Year Recipients: 73 Benefiting Organizations Served: 73 Creed Word Most Used in Writing: Compassionate Total Service Hours: 17,004 Average Service Hours per Project: 236 What Stars & Stripes Award Recipients Like Most About AHG: Friendships and Leadership Opportunities #1 Thing Girls Learned: Prayer is Essential Total Number of Stars & Stripes Project Advisors: 20 26 | AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS
LIFE IN MERCY Project: Built a prayer garden area for mothers at this maternity home for women in crisis pregnancies. Total Supervisory Hours: 19.8 Overall Service Hours: 251
WHAT I LEARNED AS PART OF THE STARS & STRIPES AWARD PROCESS:
I learned the importance of perseverance through this process. I wanted to give up many times throughout the experience and it often felt like the whole world was pitted against me. Many things fell through, and if I had not persevered in trying to achieve things I had set out to accomplish, I would not have been able to finish the process. ANY ADVICE TO SHARE WITH FUTURE CANDIDATES:
Make sure that you are well acquainted with the area that you will be working with. Take lots of pictures, lots of measurements and take a note of what resources are at the site.
“In a year of social distancing, in a year we had so many activities closed, with the pain of seeing our churches closed, and a year that had so much confusion, in the middle of this pandemic, Jesus, in His infinite mercy, gave us a sign of hope and a great gift. Our pro-life organization, Life in Mercy, had the honor of being chosen by Anne and the American Heritage Girls to build a prayer garden at our maternity
¨Saying that there are too many children is like saying that there are too many flowers.¨
– Mother Teresa
For me, who works with teenagers that are facing unexpected pregnancies and other difficult realities, it was so refreshing to see this young lady, so sweet, so transparent, so cute, so committed to serving others, willing to coordinate this project. Watching these young women work, I often thought that if there were more young people like this, there
Anne arranged for a small dedication ceremony in the prayer garden, welcoming a deacon to bless the area and lead an inaugural prayer in the peaceful space.
would be fewer young people making bad choices and experiencing crisis pregnancies. This prayer space in the Mary Mother of Life home is the place where many expectant mothers may for the first time hear about Jesus, His love, His power, and His mercy. Every person who visits will know about Anne and her love for the lives of unborn children. The flowers in this garden are a reminder of the words of Mother Teresa: ¨Saying that there are too many children is like saying that there are too many flowers.¨ I admire and thank Anne´s parents and sisters for the home and upbringing they provide. My sincere appreciation to Anne and the American Heritage Girls for the great lovely work they have done.”
Zeira Becerra Founder and Director Life in Mercy
Anne and Zeira, the owner of Life in Mercy, who responded with tears of joy the first time she saw the garden.
“Mothers in a crisis pregnancy who are in need of a place to stay are welcomed at the house, and the house can be home to up to four mothers at one time. Each of the mothers that has the opportunity to stay there will have the chance to be impacted by the peace that can be found in the prayer garden that has been built. The impact of the project will last as long as the organization is present in this home,” said Anne. AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS | 27
GIRLS ARE WAITING TO PUT ON AN
End the nationwide AHG TROOP SHORTAGE. Take the first step in MEETING THE NEED in your community, visit americanheritagegirls.org/Start-a-Troop
NEWTROOPS See more every Tuesday at Facebook.com/AmericanHeritageGirls CA1910
Valley Center Community Church / Valley Center
Village Chapel Church / Ashville
St. Margaret Mary School / Lomita
Common Ground Youth Ministry / Stamford
Living Hope Church / Elk Grove Village
Nehemiah Community Church / Houston
Chesapeake Christian Fellowship / Davidsonville
Vineyard Church of San Antonio / San Antonio
True North Community Church / Petoskey
St. Timothy’s Anglican Church / Spring
Dell Lutheran Church / Winnebago
Highland Park Baptist Church / Kilgore
Triad Cowboy Church / Archdale
Wellspring Community Church / Harford
Trinity Baptist Church Asheville / Asheville
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HIGHIMPACT INSIGHT ADVICE FROM DEDICATED HIGH IMPACT VOLUNTEERS JoNell Baker lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Kerri, of 26 years. They have two earthly children Josiah, 16, and Elsie, 14, and one heavenly daughter, Elizabeth. Her passion for AHG started in 2013 when she and other moms started Troop MN0312. She served as Troop Coordinator for six years. She is currently one of her Troop’s PI/PA Unit Leaders. Since the summer of 2019 she has served as the Twin Cities Area Coordinator. Trials, we all have them. As AHG volunteers, we face trials in our Troops. Our girls face trials too— bullying, anxiety, and, of course, all that comes with being a child in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic. It can be easy to feel bogged down by the difficulties and allow grief over our circumstances to cast a shadow on our lives. But we have a light to cast out that darkness—we have hope. I believe hope and joy go hand-in-hand. I believe being a person who is hopeful and joyful is a choice we make, and one that we have to work at daily. It is so easy to become self-centered when trials come our way—it’s human nature to fall into a wallowing spiral of ‘poor me’. But we need to understand and embrace that our trials are a way that God uses to refine our faith and our dependence on Him, and in turn, pass this mentality along to our girls.
SO HOW CAN YOU FIND HOPE AND JOY TODAY, IN THE MIDST OF DIFFICULTY? THREE WAYS I ANCHOR MYSELF IN HOPE: 1. Read the Word Did you know that the word hope appears in the ESV translation 151 times? As we all face varying levels of adversity this Program Year, I encourage you and your Troop Ministry Team to prepare by reflecting on the words of 1 Peter 1:6-9 together. Another one of my favorites is Isaiah 43:1-4. Study this verse with the girls in your Troop, but as they read, ask them to replace the words in “O Jacob” and “O Israel” with their own name. ‘Customizing’ Scripture in this way can create a more personalized faith experience for the girl, and as a result, open her eyes to the love God has for her.
2. Pray in All Circumstances The girls in your Troop are carrying difficulties of their own, but as their leader, you are capable of showing them how to lay them down at the feet of Jesus. When I pray, I visualize laying bricks inscribed with the name of my burdens at the foot of Jesus’ throne. Visualization is a powerful prayer tool, but it’s one that some girls can’t grasp easily. At your next campout, bring this visualization to life. Gather stones from around the campsite and invite girls to write their burden on them. Then, find a safe space to set these burdens down and welcome a spirit of renewed hope with a group prayer. Providing girls with an opportunity to experience prayer in such a tangible way gives them the ability and confidence to visualize this practice in their future prayers.
3. Reflect on God and Marvel in His Goodness God has created us to be worshipful beings, drawing us close to Him through music. Christian music often offers a spirit of hope and joy. Ask girls and leaders to share their favorite songs or artists, and create a Troop playlist. Listen to this playlist during Unit time, before Troop meetings, or even sing them around a campfire. Taking time to witness the goodness of God and worship Him is essential to our faith lives. In the midst of difficulty, music can remind us that our God is in control, our God is the creator of all, our God is sovereign, God’s love is steadfast, and He is full of grace and mercy beyond comprehension. He has redeemed you, He calls you by name, you are His. How can we not find hope in that?
For our girls, the stakes have never been higher. Girls have unhealthy images of themselves and teen suicide rates continue to rise. We have to prioritize modeling a Godly hope and joy for the girls in our Troops. They are watching us and we need to be one of their lifelines. When we’re authentic with each other and build each other up, hope and joy will flow forth. Place your hope in God and find the joy this year—our girls need it. MN0312 joyfully welcomed the New Year with a Troop sledding adventure and plenty of smiles!
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AHGUPDATES HAPPENINGS AT THE AHG, INC. OFFICE AHG MADE DIFFICULT DECISION TO CANCEL NATIONAL GIRL CONVENTION After thorough research, prayer, and discussion, AHG, Inc. was saddened to announce the cancellation of the previously-postponed National Girl Convention. Many factors were discussed, examined, and prayed over by the Convention Planning Team and National Board of Trustees, including: Health and safety of members, current CDC Guidelines and Ohio State guidelines for large events, capacity restrictions along with health and safety guidelines in place at Cedarville University, financial stability of AHG, Inc. and AHG families, concerns of Exhibitors, vendors, and presenters, varied state travel restrictions and quarantine guidelines, and survey results of 25th Anniversary Convention registrants. In all things, Christ is the center of the AHG Ministry. Under His guidance and leadership, we have no cause to fear. We are at rest knowing that His plans and timing are perfect for the AHG Ministry and members. As we continue to place our faith and trust in Him, join us in continued prayer for all who are suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic around the world. We look forward to the fellowship and celebration at the next National Girl Convention, planned for the summer of 2025. 30 | AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS
AHG CORNERSTONE MONTHLY RESOURCE LAUNCHED FOR TROOP LEADERS Girls across the country are led by capable, passionate, and talented Troop volunteers from different walks of life. These Adult Members bring with them unique sets of knowledge and skills that aid in the education and discipleship of every girl they lead. AHG seeks to train and encourage leaders to tap
AHGEQUIP VIRTUAL launched for NATIONWIDE ADULT MEMBER TRAINING
into the vast library of resources guiding them through the AHG Program. Each month, Troop Ministry Team Members will receive a collection of helpful guidance on how to best-use AHG resources and run a healthy Troop. These coaching tips and topics will empower volunteers in their capability to lead and provide anticipatory guidance through common questions and concerns as the Program Year progresses.
In the spirit of adaptability, this year’s previously planned AHGequip LIVE! nationwide touring training event has become AHGequip VIRTUAL for 2021! The event will take place online February 22-27, 2021. Pre-recorded and livestream videos along with workshops, breakout sessions, and panel discussions will engage and inspire volunteers. AHGequip VIRTUAL does not replace AHGequip LIVE! events around the country, but rather is being offered during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to share the same inspirational and beneficial training to Troop leaders across the country. Just like a compass that points you in the right direction, AHGequip VIRTUAL is a training event designed to equip AHG Members with best practices, peer encouragement, and AHG Staff interaction in an interactive learning setting that will point them in the direction of making a positive impact on the lives of the girls in their Troops, their families, and other volunteers.
STAFFSCOOP ERIN MARCO,
CONTENT MARKETING SPECIALIST How long have you been working at AHG? Three years.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12, NIV)
What do you do in your Staff role? As the Content Marketing Specialist for American Heritage Girls, it’s my job to create and maintain the voice of AHG. My work ranges from conceptualizing and writing printed marketing materials (like this very issue of Heritage Headlines) to researching and recording Raising Godly Girls features for radio stations nationwide. I also collaborate with my fellow AHG Staff members and volunteers to edit print and digital collateral, making sure what AHG creates is consistent and correct. What’s your favorite part of working at AHG? There are two reasons I love my job at AHG—the work and the people. Before coming to AHG in 2018, I worked in the editorial and publishing world—I interned for national magazines, wrote for major brands, and even had the pleasure of serving as the Managing Editor for a regional media group. Working in the AHG Marketing & Communications Department was a leap for me professionally, but it’s a change I can look back on now and easily recognize God’s plan at work! My own faith has grown during my time at AHG, in addition to my creative abilities. I also love working with AHG’s other incredibly passionate and talented men and women who start each day with a prayer for the girls and the God we serve. It’s an honor to call them teammates. (Not to mention they’re solid chili cook-off rivals too, but that’s on hold this year until we’re back in the office together!) What is your favorite Bible verse? My favorite verse is actually the verse for the 2020-2021 Program Year! Colossians 3:12, NIV: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” I love a checklist, and this verse is a reminder seared into my brain for the start of each day! Anything else you’d like to add? Raising Godly Girls has been a passion project for AHG Founder & Executive Director, Patti Garibay, for several years. In 2019, I had the great pleasure of rebirthing the brand and tackling big issues in small, one-minute radio feature scripts. For a young, child-less writer, this was a huge challenge that I wasn’t sure I felt up to mastering! But wouldn’t you believe it, the week I wrote my first script my husband and I celebrated a positive pregnancy test! (It’s a boy, a funny God-wink to the writer of Raising Godly GIRLS I think!) Since that first script, so much love, research, attention, writing, editing, and re-editing have gone into every Raising Godly Girls Minute. But I need your help, AHG! If there is a Christian parenting topic you want covered, or a struggle you’re facing with your girl, I’d love to hear from you. Email me at email@example.com.
AHGSTORE DEBUTS WINTER NEW ARRIVALS The AHGstore has undergone an exciting transformation since it’s relaunch in 2019. The collaboration between AHG and Kerusso Ministry Solutions has given way to new merchandise concepts, fresh designs, and a boost in sales that makes an impact on the ministry’s bottom line and ability to serve more girls. Each AHGstore sale makes ministry expansion, and in turn, Kingdom expansion, possible. The start of the new year brought a wave of new arrivals to the AHGstore—customizable postcards and stickers for AHG Pen Pals, reimagined designs on well-loved activity patches (like Mother Daughter Tea and Father Daughter Dance Patches) along with brand-new items like a Winter Campout Patch and a contemporary, minimalist Chosen T-Shirt design.
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American Heritage Girls was born in 1995 out of the need for something new.
IT WAS A CANDLE LIT FOR OUR GIRLS IN THE DARKNESS OF OUR WORLD.
Your financial contribution to the Ministry of AHG can keep that flame aglow. It gives girls across the country the same opportunity, 25 years later, to emanate Christ’s light to their communities. Give your tax-deductible gift today: americanheritagegirls.org/donate