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TRADITIONS Celebrating the birth of Jesus












AHGequip LIVE! Recap


St. Louis Troop Update


End-of-Year Parent Survey COVER STORY


The Lead in Leader


Rush Revere SERVICE


Veterans Day


Operation Christmas Child Update GIRL STORIES




Troop Holiday Traditions


Wreaths Across America







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New Staff Spotlight Staff Education






HOLDING ONTO HOPE IN 2017 Dear Friends, “Behold, the former things have come to pass, now I declare new things; before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.” (Isaiah 42:9) 2017 has arrived. Many of us reviewed the past year and developed resolutions to “do better” or change habits to ensure an even better year. As Christians and friends of AHG, we are called to a different standard – to proclaim or give the New Year to the Lord first and foremost, before any “new things” spring forth. Have you given your New Year to the Prince of Peace, the Lord of Lords, and the Great Comforter? Have you dedicated this year to growing closer to Him? We must resolve to embrace and live His greatest commandments - loving Him and our neighbors as ourselves. As you read this edition while enjoying its new look for a new year, may your heart be lightened and your commitment strengthened. AHG Girls are learning to love the Lord their God while loving their neighbor as themselves. The power of the Holy Spirit, through its work in the hearts and minds of AHG Girls and Volunteers, provides great hope for the future. I pray you will join me in proclaiming 2017 the year of the Lord – the year that AHG and its friends yielded to Him first before our works even began. Serving Him,

Founder /Executive Director of American Heritage Girls


HERITAGE HEADLINES “ And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:15 Whether its faith, service or fun, communities across the nation are witnessing contributions of local AHG Troops. Heritage Headlines, AHG’s quarterly magazine, seeks to spread those good news stories while encouraging other Troops to follow in their footsteps.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Patti Garibay DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Janet Gora EDITORS Michelle Beckham-Corbin Chelsey Ross DESIGNER Becky Lipps CONTRIBUTORS Patti Garibay Lauren Meadors Sarah Kaiser

Direct all Letters to the Editor, address changes, or other correspondence to: American Heritage Girls, Inc. 175 Tri-County Parkway Cincinnati, OH 45246 513-771-2025


AHG in the news Most recent media spots for the AHG, Inc. National Office

Bible Belles Weekly Podcast Spotlights Garibay

American Heritage Girls featured on WFAX Radio

Patti Garibay was a guest on Heroes for Her, the Bible

WFAX, a Christian radio station in Washington D.C., recently did

Belles podcast led by Erin Weidemann. Garibay discussed

a feature on local charities that needed volunteer assistance.

a wide range of topics including: her time in the Girl Scouts organization, who and what AHG is, and how her father influenced many hard decisions during her lifetime. To listen to the podcast, visit patti-garibay-a-light-in-the-darkside.

Patti Garibay, American Heritage Girls (AHG) Executive Director and Founder, was featured on the WFAX Main Street program on Oct. 22 and 23, 2016. Patti’s interview with Doris Newcomb covered basic information on AHG, including why she started the Program, and how AHG is assisting girls in a variety of ways, including how to serve and to truly love God.

at the core we value serving and loving God. 6 | AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS

Three - minute performance with a surprise ending!

Patti Garibay Selected as First Guest for Brand New Podcast

Ambigram artist, Beth Gully, visits AHG, Inc. National Office

Garibay was recently a guest on the podcast, Brilliantly

Beth Gully, international author and illustrator, stopped by the

Brave - Parenting in a Post-Christian World. She speaks

AHG,Inc. National Office on Dec. 16, 2016 to live read her

to how she found God, how she was led to found the

book, The Other Side of Christmas. She continues to captivate

AHG Program, and how the Lord will bring His people to

audiences with her upside-down and backwards designs. The

His purpose.

Other Side of Christmas blends the Santa story with the story of the birth of Jesus. To learn more about this flippable book, visit

Listen to and follow the Brilliantly Brave podcast at Visit our Facebook page

(American Heritage Girls) to view the Facebook Live footage of


Gully’s reading.

You can't walk on water unless you get out of the boat. AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS | 7

VOLUNTEERVISION Volunteers across the country are key to the success of AHG

AHGequip LIVE! Takes on Colleyville, Texas!

Volunteers are the key to the AHG Program. Equipping them with new tactics to succeed is AHG’s newest way to thank them for their overwhelming support and dedication to creating women of integrity through AHG. AHGequip LIVE! is a new two-day training event for AHG Leaders and Volunteers. The training program made its debut stop in Dallas/Fort Worth on Oct. 28 and 29, 2016 at First Baptist Church Colleyville. Over 150 AHG Leaders and Volunteers gathered to hone their skills and expand their knowledge through peer networking, training sessions and Q&A discussions. “AHGequip LIVE! was fantastic training for us,” said Rose Marie Dillon, TX6201. “It was fantastic to see Patti’s vision for AHG and learn about why [AHG] was started and how it was started… I have learned so much. I have… 10,000 ideas that I’m taking back with me to my Troop and seeing how we can implement them.” Another AHG Volunteer commented on the many different aspects of AHGequip LIVE! that she found beneficial. “I really had a chance to network with some other Leaders, which was a really incredible experience. I learned some outdoor skills… [and] to learn how much [Patti] sacrificed and what she went through and the early vision and Mission of AHG… I really appreciated that.” AHGequip LIVE! is being hosted in five locations across the U.S. during the 2016-2017 Program Year. The tour traveled to St. Augustine, Fla. in January. Other stops include Laguna Hills, Calif.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Grand Blanc, Mich. For more information on dates and rates, visit

AHGequip LIVE! Lunch Sponsor


In February 2016, the Archbishop of St. Louis authored a letter stating that the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops investigated concerns surrounding girl involvement in Girl Scouts USA. This led to the creation of the Catholic Committee for Girls Formation that was charged with providing ministry to all girls in various organizations. AHG was one of the suggested organizations listed on the website and was the only program that offered a true scout-like experience, including a focus on Badges, service and outdoor activities among other emphases. Fast forward to January 2017… what has happened since then? The creation of this new committee has had a lasting impact on the AHG Program in this Midwest area. American Heritage Girls Troops have doubled in St. Louis, and the formation of many of these Troops was a direct result of the hard work and dedication of AHG Volunteers.

PRAY FOR CHRISTIAN VALUES AND THE GOAL OF BUILDING WOMEN OF INTEGRITY A few core Volunteers in St. Louis set to work to let the community know that AHG was a great Program to become involved in. These Volunteers hosted four info sessions in a six-week period, and they truly exemplified the meaning of the AHG Program. These “new” faces of AHG gave the St. Louis community the opportunity to see what the AHG Ministry was about and to get their questions answered quickly and efficiently. If it weren’t for the AHG Volunteers in St. Louis, the doubling of Troops and the increasing success of the American Heritage Girls Program in this area of the country would not have been possible. The AHG National Office also received a grant from the E. Walter Hausstette Charitable Foundation to help area parishes that hoped to form a Troop in the city. AHG prays for the continued success and growth of the ministry in this area of the country, especially as we enter in the New Year. AHG also hopes that other areas will lead like St. Louis, turning toward programs with a focus on Christian values and a goal of building women of integrity.





ways to better the Program for all involved. Every year, AHG, Inc. sends out an end-of-year survey that gives Leaders and Volunteers the opportunity to say what is working well and what may need improvement within the AHG Program.


44% 10 or more




American Heritage Girls is continually looking for


times during the Program Year


42% 5 to 9 times



during the Program Year




















AHG, Inc. encourages all Leaders, Volunteers and parents to contribute their thoughts and suggestions via surveys sent out throughout the year. If you have questions or are having difficulties receiving survey requests, please contact the AHG, Inc. National Office at 513-771-2025. For more information on our past Program Year, visit AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS | 9





GIRL LEADERSHIP is a critical Emphasis of the AHG Program. Being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean becoming ‘the boss’; leading can include activities like volunteering to set up tables at a Troop meeting or helping your family with seemingly everyday tasks. The importance lies in stepping up to do as you want others to do and to follow Jesus’ calling that we should help those around us and treat everyone with love and respect.



Jesus was a leader and proclaimed that each and every one of us should follow in his humble footsteps. He was a leader through his service to others and immersion into the community around him, and He calls us to do the same.

The AHG Program provides a safe place for girls to practice their leadership skills. Troop activities allow girls to develop characteristics such as integrity, commitment, accountability and responsibility that are integral to the creation of a strong leader. AHG Troops offer specific positions that allow girls the opportunity to work on this part of themselves to ensure that girls are developing emotionally, physically and spiritually at a progressive pace. AHG Troops also provide a variety of leadership responsibilities. Tasks can be simple but essential, like keeping track of equipment and supplies that belong to the Troop. The responsibilities can also require a more involved participant like the Unit or Squad Leaders that have an active role in developing the Troop agenda and experiences. The diversity in leadership opportunities allows girls to participate in whatever manner they choose, taking a more active or passive role and varying their involvement in Troop Leadership throughout the year. Developing a leadership skill set allows girls to succeed as they grow and mature into women entering college and moving on to the workforce. Becoming assured in their leadership abilities to not only direct others, but to do so with kindness, compassion and confidence, is one quality that AHG hopes girls get out of the Program and take with them throughout the rest of their lives. The AHG Creed


The American Heritage Girls’ Creed represents the personal characteristics of an AHG Girl Member. There are 10 qualities that define the women of integrity that AHG aims to build. All of these words can be applied to an effective Girl Leader. The 10 qualities that compose the Creed are: compassionate, helpful, honest, loyal, perseverant, pure, resourceful, respectful, responsible and reverent. All of these words are pulled from the Bible, coming from the books of Psalms, Job, Joshua, Hebrews, I Timothy, Proverbs, Leviticus, Luke and II Corinthians. Each of these words should be taken into careful consideration by girls as they look to lead lives of integrity and courage.


Lead by Example Alyssa Hannahs, a Patriot in Troop MI0408, hosted a donation drive event to benefit a local Humane Society. As part of her service project, she hosted a bake sale on Oct. 9 at Charlotte TSC. The proceeds of the bake sale were used to purchase needed items for the Eaton County Humane Society, which AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS | 11

included food, cat litter, cleaning supplies and other items that would help the Humane Society function more efficiently. A garden at Essential Pregnancy Services was created by Hannah Good, the first Stars & Stripes recipient in Troop NE0026. Recently, members of the Troop helped weed and mulch the garden in order to keep the area beautiful. Troop CA0608 completed a beach clean-up at Seal Beach in Southern California. Glorianna and Lailani, Tenderhearts in Troop TX0116, worked hard all year to lead service participation. They learned so much in the process. They collected items for Texas Children’s Hospital and MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital. Troop CO5280 took the initiative to host a Secret Keeper Girl event. The Troop was blown away at how hard the girls worked from early morning to late at night. Jobs included merchandise set up/tear down, stage set up/tear down, providing “talent” for modeling, a skit, and many of the Troop’s Leaders participated in stage work. The girls discovered how much they enjoyed being cashiers and developed skills for hosting a large event. Over 1,300 moms and daughters were in attendance. Throughout the year, Ella Hall, a Tenderheart in Troop FL0147, makes sweet potato pies and shares them with those in her community, including various groups, businesses and individuals. This year, the local fire department honored her for her commitment to serving. She is recognized in her area as the “little girl known for spreading smiles”. Her story was shared locally by the Fox News affiliate in Tampa Bay. Check out her story here:

THE AHG CREED Compassionate: Understanding others in fellowship, empathy, kindness and caring while respecting others’ opinions and emotions Helpful: Willingly serves others Honest: Always tells the truth and keeps promises Loyal: True to God, family, friends, community and country Perseverant: Strives towards a goal despite the impending obstacles Pure: Keeps mind and body pure Resourceful: Wisely uses time, materials and talents Respectful: Honors country, is obedient to those in authority, and is courteous to all Responsible: Accountable for one’s own actions Reverent: Faithful and honoring to God while being respectful to the beliefs of others


The Adventures of Rush Revere series is a #1 New York Times Bestselling series that seeks to teach accurate, patriotic American history in a fun and engaging way. The series consists of five books that follow substitute teacher, Rush Revere, and his trusty steed, Liberty, as they travel through time experiencing our nation’s incredible past. Authors Rush and Kathryn Limbaugh proudly support American Heritage Girls and created a special scholarship opportunity for AHG Members. The scholarship deadline was Nov. 30, 2016, and five $1,000 scholarships were awarded to American Heritage Girls Alexis Hale, Makenna Iselin, Sarah Self, Victoria Weston, and Liberty Whaley. The following page shares an excerpt from each of their winning essays.


Alexis Hale – KY1958

Sarah Self – TX0138

“I became an American Heritage Girl last year when Troop KY1958 opened, the first ever in our county. I had been in Girl Scouts for four years, but when we heard about AHG, we decided it was a better fit for our Christian family values. I love AHG! We are having fun, learning and giving back to our community. But most of all, we are putting God first in all things. I love spending time and bonding with my other Troop Members, including my sister, Alyssa. I also love that we say the pledge to the United States flag, as well as the AHG Creed, AHG Oath and the Lord’s Prayer. AHG is teaching us to respect ourselves, our friends and family, our community, and our country. AHG is teaching us to be godly leaders, not followers of the world. AHG is also helping us to have more confidence in ourselves and to be bold in our beliefs and to take pride in ourselves, our community and our country.”

“When I visited Troop TX0138, everyone was nice and fun and welcoming to me… Also, American Heritage Girls really incorporates “American Heritage” in their organization. I believe… you should follow the American heritage Girls Creed and Oath. Some of the words in the Creed that I think are most important and that past Americans showed the most are: loyal, perseverant, resourceful and responsible. When you strive to be all of these things and more, you are becoming a better person and a better American every day.”

Makenna Iselin – NC2911 “Service is one important aspect of participating in American Heritage Girls. As a Troop, we served at a community recycling day where we sorted the paper, glass and plastic into different bins. My Troop has served others with projects including baking cookies for hospice, packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, working at the Rescue Mission thrift store, and helping at a community recycling day. Serving others helps make us grateful for what we have. Through my seven years of being in American Heritage Girls, I have earned 46 Badges, 21 activity patches and completed over 400 hours of service… Over the seven years, my American Heritage Girls experience has been outstanding.”

Victoria Weston – AL3560 “With the skills I have gained through AHG, life and by the calling of the Lord, I want to go into the medical field and become a missionary to my own country and to others around the world through short-term missions. I have been given the opportunity to serve with my American Heritage Girls Troop for 11 years, volunteering my hours to better my community. Through my church and AHG Troop, I have served over 1,400 hours, which would not have been possible without my family. They have encouraged me and inspired me to move forward with my mission to serve my country and my God wholeheartedly.”

Liberty Victoria Whaley – GA2011 “I had no clue what American Heritage Girls was, but my mother made me go anyway. Now I know what it is, and it is really fun! I got to go camping with my Troop, and my grandmother got to come with me. I also got to plant trees for my city. That day, it was really cold. Another day… we helped a local pregnancy center called Sound Choices assemble baby bottles to give to churches to help raise money for mothers and babies. I’m glad I get to go to American Heritage Girls. It gives me an opportunity to learn about lots of different things. Right now, my Explorer group is working on a Badge where we learn about India and France. We had a French dinner with our Leader at her house, and we had to memorize a French phrase… When I grow up, I plan to be a mom and teach my kids to be patriotic Americans. Maybe they will even be American Heritage Girls!”


SERVICE AHG seeks to teach girls what it means to be an active citizen of the United States


One of the American Heritage Girls’ Program Emphases is Character Development, encouraging girls to gain the ability to make sound, moral decisions. This could include anything from activities aimed at learning about our government to honoring those who have served our country with courage and honor. Veterans Day is a common time of year for Troops to exemplify loyalty and to focus on and value their US citizenship.Troops often engage in patriotic activities like laying flags on graves, placing flags, and helping retire flags. We thank all AHG Troops for honoring their country and doing service that honors those that lost their lives to protect us.


#IPACKEDASHOEBOX American Heritage Girls is proud to participate once again in Operation Christmas Child (OCC), a project created by Samaritan’s Purse that donates gift-filled shoeboxes to children in need in over 150 countries. AHG, Inc. encourages Troops to participate by filling their own shoeboxes and donating to the non-profit. In honor of AHG’s 20th anniversary in 2015, AHG and OCC signed a Memorandum of Ministry Association (MOMA), seeking to establish and maintain a mutually beneficial and collaborative relationship to benefit youth, their families, their faith, and their communities. Last year, AHG donated over 28,000 shoeboxes to the cause, exceeding the 20,000 shoebox goal set to honor AHG’s 20th Anniversary. This year’s goal was set for 21,000 shoeboxes, representing AHG’s 21st birthday. AHG, Inc. and Troops surpassed this goal, packing over 24,000 shoeboxes for the OCC program. In addition to AHG’s 24,000 shoeboxes, an AHG Explorer, Faith Russell, collected over 20,000 shoeboxes herself to add to the OCC cause! Faith partnered with Keller Williams International and many other local Tennessee retailers to gather donations. Her story has been shared nationally, including a feature on NBC. What a wonderful testament to God’s glory. Similar to 2015, AHG Troops that packed over 100 shoeboxes could be entered into a drawing for a Member of their Leadership Team to win an OCC Vision Trip to assist with distributing shoeboxes to those in need. This year, the winner of the trip was Karen Wilde, an Adult Volunteer for Troop TX2012, which was announced via AHG digital media outlets and eBlasts in early December. Karen and AHG Program Manager, Kristi Tatro, will travel with OCC to Ecuador from Feb. 2 to 6. Thanks to all AHG Troops for a wonderfully successful year of helping spread the word of Christ to those in most need. AHG looks forward to sharing more of the OCC Vision Trip story in the next issue!


Karen Wilde, TX2012

Karen Wilde is the recipient of the OCC Vision Trip to Ecuador. She is married with three children, Dustin, Derek and Lauren. Lauren is a Pioneer in AHG Troop TX2012. Karen is a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Keller, Texas. She began teaching religion classes when she was in college and has taught for over 10 years. Wilde serves as the Service Coordinator for TX2012. She is responsible for organizing and coordinating service projects for the Troop. TX2012’s calendar has 18 service events planned for this year, including OCC, Keller Trash Bash, National Day of Service and multiple church-related events. Outside of AHG, her family has always been involved in community service and giving back. Karen has contributed to many organizations including Keller High School and Mount Gilead Cemetery Association. In her spare time, Wilde is an avid scrap booker and scrapbooks monthly with friends. She also loves to take photos, cook and do CrossFit. Don’t see your Troop’s OCC photo? AHG will be selecting more Troop photos for next issue’s cover story on AHG and OCC, including more on Karen and Kristi’s OCC Vision Trip! If your Troop hasn’t sent in your photos yet, email them to Don’t forget that photos should be 1MB+ and all girls in the photos must be media released.


GIRLSTORIES Incredible tales of leadership, volunteering and friendship

Camping Badge Camping gives us an opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of our daily routines and allows us to take time to smell the roses. Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature and the beauty of God’s green earth while camping with your Troop, family or friends. Troop CA0613’s Explorers, Pioneers and Patriots went on an autumn campout. They spent the weekend earning Hiking and Camping Badges and having a fun time learning about nature in Wrightwood, Calif.

aid bingo, hand signaling, and a two-mile unit bike ride. One of the girls’ even demonstrated with a melon how fragile our head is without a helmet.

Aviation Badge Aviation is an exciting field enjoyed by both professional and recreational flying enthusiasts. Aviation serves many functions and those employed in aviation-related field impact our lives in many ways. It has brought our world closer together and enabled missionaries to reach people untouched by modern civilization. They bring medicine, learning and the gospels to distant places. Explorers from CA0608 worked on earning their Aviation Badge with the help of JetBlue! The JetBlue employees and pilots gave them a tour of the

World Heritage Badge

airport, a cockpit, and the outside

The United States is known as the world’s melting pot. People from

learned about the primary

many different countries and cultures have called America their home. In order to truly understand America’s roots, we must learn to appreciate the customs and traditions of various cultures. Troop OH0213 coordinated a party to earn the Badge. The Explorers created different poster boards with information on a country. They spent time going to each board and reading the information. Four people came to the party to talk about where they visited, and passports were created for each girl so they could document the stickers they received at each board. Each Explorer, Pioneer and Patriot created a dish from their country to share during the party. The Pioneers and Patriots also taught the girls a craft.

Cycling Badge Cycling is an enjoyable activity for people of all ages. There are many reasons people ride bicycles, including for fun, for exercise, for transportation, or for racing. The Tenderhearts of Troop NY2911 earned their Cycling Badge by conducting a bike rodeo, complete with individual lanes, first 16 | AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS

of a commercial plane. They flight instruments and the parts of an aircraft. The girls learned so much and had a fun time doing it too.

HOLIDAYTRADITIONS Spreading Christmas cheer and sharing the birth of Christ

Every year, Troops engage in holiday activities, many of which become yearly traditions. Some of these fun activities include Christmas caroling, visiting nursing homes and veterans’ homes, having Christmas movie viewing parties, packing OCC boxes, and placing wreaths and flags with Wreaths Across America. 2016 was no exception!

Troop CA0016 During Christmas break, our Explorer Unit hosts a movie night at our Charter Organization. We invite friends and families in our small community to join us, wear our pajamas, bring sleeping bags, and delight in pizza, drinks, popcorn and dessert. This year, we watched Big Hero 6. We also went caroling and participated in the second annual parade of lights in our community and two local Christmas parades to remind our community of the true meaning of Christmas.

Troop CA0221 For the last few years, we’ve enjoyed doing an “ugly sweater” Christmas party with games, treats and an ornament exchange. This year, the girls played a fun game where each team had to make a snowman by toilet papering one of their teammates! After the game was completed, the girls tore off all of the paper, tossing it around the room like it was snowing! We also had three girls who were working on earning their Dance Badge perform a Christmas ballet routine for us! They all had a blast!

Troop FL0278 Although we only meet half of the month during December, it is our busiest month of the year! We start off the month with a craft night where we prepare handmade decorations for 120 veterans’ nursing home residents. The following week, we deliver the gifts, spend time with the residents, and sing Christmas carols. Our Mother/Daughter Christmas Movie/ PJ/Pizza Party is the last of our regular meetings for the year, and we end the calendar year with preparing and laying wreaths on veterans’ graves with Wreaths Across America.

Troop IN1911 To kick off our new Troop year, we gathered for an August Christmas party to put together kits for OCC. 18 girls, both new and returning, gathered to make and pray over homemade sewing, necklace, and school supply kits. We sang Christmas carols, drank lots of hot chocolate, and played games. The girls and Leaders completed 203 sewing kits, 142 necklace kits, and 40 school supply kits. They used these kits to fill their own family’s OCC shoeboxes in November, and then donated the rest to their host church’s OCC drive.

Troop KS0138 We had an Advent celebration during one of our December Troop meetings. We AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS | 17

began by listening to a presentation from the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program about the journey the wisemen took towards the star – what they were searching for, why they were searching for it, and what the journey must’ve been like. Then we prepared for our own journey! We bundled up and ventured out towards the nursing home nearby where we sang Christmas carols and visited the residents. Once we returned to our meeting space, we were surprised with hot chocolate that was prepared for us while we were away.

Troop MO1410 This Christmas, our Patriots and Pioneers wrote and performed a skit called, “The Reason for the Season,” that reminded us that Jesus is the ultimate gift. Our girls also made ornaments that state, “For Unto Us a Child is Born.” Many girls made several more to give as gifts to their siblings and other family members. We also did gift wrapping at Barnes & Noble in December. The Troop raised $136 in donations from the project, and the Patriots and Pioneers have already decided how they are going to allocate the funds – to our Charter Organization, a local foster agency called Hope House, and a little back to the Troop for camping supplies.

Troop OH1436 The Pioneers and Patriots planned their annual Christmas party for all the younger girls. Planning and implementing the party for them is a blast. Next up in our Christmas agenda, we had caroling for the seniors at the Otterbein Retirement Home. Seeing the seniors’ big smiles when we passed out the handmade Christmas cards was heartwarming. The final and latest addition to our Christmas agenda was Wreaths Across America. This year, our Troop’s goal was 50 wreaths, and we sold 62 of them! On Dec.17, we had the opportunity to lay the wreaths at the graves in Woodside Cemetery with other Cincinnati Area Troops. Thank you God for the gift of your son this Christmas season!

Troop OH2412 & OH3130 Missional Communities are outwardfocused groups formed from the Anthem House Church family. This year, two of our AHG Girls decided to work on a project through Helping Hamilton Ministries. Every Sunday, they drive a bus to areas in Hamilton, Ohio where homeless stay. They pass out sandwiches, and this year, we decided to provide presents for the homeless that we encountered on Christmas Day. Everyone purchased or received donations of the needed items. 18 | AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS

We wrapped around 100 gifts, and passed out the presents on Christmas Day. We believe that the service we do outside of the four walls is most important to the Kingdom of God.

Troop TB0001 Savanna is part of the Trailblazer program. She decided to make Christmas cards and salt dough decorations to give to a local nursing home. Savanna contacted the home and learned that they had 82 full beds. She set a goal to collect 164 cards so that each person could have two. With the help of her church community and a fellow AHG Member in Troop VA0633, Savanna was able to surpass her goal and collect 231 cards. This particular nursing home had never been visited by any Troops or other scouts in the area. Due to flu season, Savanna could not deliver the cards herself, but the activity director was excited to pass them along. She also decided to adopt the local police department and sent cards to Operation Gratitude for troops serving our country. In total, Savanna spent 15 hours working on this service project. So many blessings have come from one little girl wanting to make Christmas cards.

Troop WA1900 First, our annual fundraiser was a wreath order. We encouraged the girls to sell wreaths, but offered an option for purchasers to buy a wreath to be donated. Our fundraiser leader contacted Willow Gardens and made arrangements for the donated wreaths to be handed out to the residents there. Our fundraiser was very successful, and we ended up with the community purchasing 95 wreaths to be donated! We set up a day where girls could hand them out to the residents as they came to dinner. In addition, we had a service project where we made Christmas cards to hand out with the wreaths!

Troop WI0214 We utilized the AHG National Day of Service to create ornaments with the seniors at Wilkinson Woods. The Leaders and moms cleaned up the ornaments, and for the third year in a row, our Troop sold them on a “take one and give what you can” program that spanned over a set of

three masses at our Charter. We raised over $900 to provide gifts and necessities to a family that we adopted, which was made up of four children and a mom who had just lost their veteran dad/husband; this was the first Christmas without him. Our Troop wanted the family to see joy in the holiday, and the mom was so grateful and thankful for our donation and promised that she would pay it forward. In one of their darkest years ever, our Troop provided a little bit of light and changed that family’s life forever. That little light is shining so brightly in all of our girls.

WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA Honoring those who served our country

Each year, American Heritage Girls Troops build relationships with charitable organizations, including Operation Christmas Child and Wreaths Across America. Each December, Wreaths Across America remembers, honors and teaches by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at over 1,100 locations in the United States, at sea, and abroad. Many Troops also participate in laying the wreaths that they fundraise for on veterans’ graves on Dec. 17; the perfect culmination of their devotion to acquiring wreaths for those that served our country.

No Soldier Left Behind Meet Anna, a second grade Tenderheart who joined AHG in February 2016. Anna’s father is a member of the Air Force and is stationed at Langley AFB Virginia. Anna is homeschooled along with her two sisters, Peyton and Addison, by her mom. When Anna first heard about the fundraising her Troop was doing with Wreaths Across America, she was ecstatic. Since her dad is on active duty in the military and her pawpaw is a Vietnam Veteran, she wanted to get as many wreaths laid on soldiers graves as she possibly could.

She held posters up at shopping centers to get people to sign up, and her family reached out to friends and extended family asking for donations. During vision therapy to assist Anna with vision and reading difficulties, her therapist, Darren, suggested that she should create a video about AHG and her Troop’s fundraising efforts for Wreaths Across America. The video was put up on social media and it went viral, eventually leading to an interview with the local news. As the fundraiser ended, Anna’s family found out that even though the AHG Troop fundraiser was over, people could still purchase wreaths through the organization until Dec. 3 at midnight. Amy recalls Anna saying, “Mom, we need to do more videos to get people to purchase a wreath because I don’t want any soldiers to be left behind.” Yorktown National Cemetery needed 1,582 wreaths to cover all the graves, and they were about 200 short. The cemetery has never been completely filled with wreaths at Christmas and Anna wanted this year to be the year it happened. Her mom helped her record a few more videos asking for AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS | 19

help. Before bed, the cemetery still needed 36 wreaths, so Anna said a prayer and told God that she was going to trust him on the outcome. At the end of the day on Dec. 3, the total for Yorktown National Cemetery hit 1,606 wreaths, more than was needed to lay a wreath on every veteran’s grave in the cemetery. Anna was beyond thrilled when she heard the news the next morning. She shared a video on Facebook thanking all of her friends and family for the support.

His Death is Not Forgotten This year, Troop OH2412 worked with other Cincinnati Troops to fundraise for Wreaths Across America. Nearing the end of the contribution period, Woodside Cemetery was totaling around 1,350 wreaths, which wasn’t enough to cover every veteran’s grave. But at the end of the donation period, the Troop was notified of an anonymous donation, raising the cemetery’s total to 1,735 wreaths. This allowed every veteran, whether they were buried in the assigned veterans sections or in a family plot, to receive a wreath this Christmas. Last year, Members of this Troop observed veterans’ loved ones crying as they drove through the cemetery on ceremony day. The Troop Coordinator also listened to the tearful testimonial of a wife of a soldier killed in combat eight years ago of what these wreaths mean to her. She said she knows her husband’s death isn’t forgotten, and that someone out there is still honoring him all these years later.

The Sacrifice They Have Made Jenna volunteers with Honor Flight Houston, and it was through this organization that she volunteered to escort Mr. Ted Kirkpatrick, a World War II Air Force veteran, to the Wreaths Across America event at Houston National Cemetery. Jenna has participated in Wreaths Across America for the past several years and is happy to honor our veterans in a small way. This year at Houston National Cemetery, every grave received a wreath, totaling over 74,000 graves. It’s an event that she looks forward to each December, and she works for weeks to get donations for the cause. This year, she collected $680 in donations. Jenna truly loves and 20 | AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS

respects all veterans and understands the sacrifices that they have made, which has led her to consider a career in the military herself.

Bringing Home the Sacrifice AHG Troops from Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland gathered on Dec. 17 at the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. for a remembrance ceremony. Girls from VA1907 participated in the Honor Guard, and girls from VA0226 escorted the military representatives and announced the ceremony. Despite ice and hazardous conditions in the morning, AHG Troops helped to place 3,600 wreaths on veterans’ graves.

“It’s always a joy to participate in Wreaths Across America because of the way it brings home the sacrifice our military men and women made for our country,” said Sarah Hamaker, Pioneer Unit Leader for VA1907. Sarah also serves as the Wreaths Across America Assistant Location Coordinator for the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery. “Laying a wreath on a veteran’s grave provides a meaningful connection.”

faith Our commitment to our Father and His Son

As many know, faith is the factor that sets American Heritage Girls apart from many other scout-like organizations. With faith comes prayer. Prayer is an essential element of the AHG Program and is a component that AHG, Inc. encourages Troops and Girl Members to focus on. Many Girl Members specifically acknowledge that one reason they love the AHG Program is because their Troop meetings are free spaces to talk about their faith. They also enjoy that their friends have the same values that they have and love God just as they do. Prayer matters. Let’s see how Troops have recently dedicated their Troop time to prayer.

1 TIMOTHY 2:1-2 Troop MO0110 spent two chilly nights at a Pioneer/Patriot Camporee primitive camping at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. As the girls and their Leaders prepared to attend the trip, the Troop came up with a number of goals that they wanted to complete. The Troop wanted to climb to the highest point in Missouri, Taum Sauk Mountain, in order to pray over the state and nation. Michael Wilson, Vice Coordinator of Troop MO1818, initiated this idea and joined the Troop so that he could participate. Michael led the Troop in prayer that day; prayer for the upcoming election, the nation’s and Troop’s Leaders, and for the girls and Leaders to be a light in the community to share God’s love with others. Additionally, Troop MO0110 wanted to hike the three-mile Mina Sauk Trail that eventually leads to the highest point in the state, but also ventures over the tallest waterfall in Missouri and presents many geologic features. Much of Taum Sauk Mountain has old volcanic formations, so the girls, along with guest expert Scott Dreher, pointed out and observed the geological features along the hike and back at the campsite. This culminated in the earning of the Geology Badge.

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” 1 Timothy spoke to the Troop and allowed them to see that regardless of ethnicity, gender, political positions or other superficial dividers, we are called to pray for and share God’s love with all people. Attending camp the weekend before the election added an exemplified meaning to their prayers. The Troop focused special attention on the outcome of the election; recognizing that God can change hearts; and that He is the true King and Lord.

SPIRITUAL BOUQUET Every first Tuesday of the month, Troop WI0214 gathers in the Wilkinson Woods chapel to pray the rosary. They pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, an intercessory prayer which prays directly to Jesus, asking him to stand before God for you or someone you have an intention for. The Troop puts out an ‘ask’ in the church bulletin, allowing the parishioners to send over needs for prayers for anything that is on their hearts. “The girls happily lead the rosary. They’re excited to pray outside of church and school with their friends,” said Troop Coordinator, Ann Sarnowski. “It counts as a service to their community. This is the perfect thing that we should be doing as a Troop.” The Troop also includes the senior residents at Wilkinson Woods. It allows the girls to pray with people who share their beliefs outside of their own generation. This special time has created a bond between the Troop and the residents, who gladly accept multiple monthly visits from the AHG Troop.

1 Timothy 2:1-2

Each person that is prayed for, whether they requested the prayer or not, receives a prayer bouquet – a card in the mail that has a poem telling how many prayers from the rosary were sent up to Heaven for them. “There’s just something about these little voices,” said Ann. “They are heard louder than anything… it’s calming, meditative prayer that works.” Troop WI0214 shared that the parish has seen many miracles arise out of this act, such as unbelievable recoveries from life-threatening car accidents and healing of cancer patients. The Troop will continue to pray for those that need it most and to give little bouquets of happiness to those in dark times.

MORE THAN A BASIC BIBLE LESSON Troop NY2911’s Troop Shepherd, Sharon Swart, goes above and beyond meeting the religious needs of her Troop. She not only prepares a wonderful bible lesson every week for the girls, but she also takes the time to deliver it twice. The Troop is split into two groups by age so that they can each have a lesson that is better tailored to their maturity level. AHG thanks Leaders and Volunteers that go above and beyond to ensure that girls understand and comprehend, as well as value and treasure, their religious beliefs.



Lauren MeadOrs Troop 895 West Chester, Ohio



Lauren Meadors AT A GLANCE Troop: 895 Profession: Area Team Specialist,

American Heritage Girls, Inc.


ince 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 grow and mature into women. AHG Alumnae often report back about how much the AHG Program has benefitted their lives. These young women are making a huge difference on 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! Heritage Headlines Magazine is adding a section featuring an Alumna in each issue. Meet Lauren Meadors Lauren was a member of AHG's founding Troop #895 in West Chester, Ohio. Lauren laughs as she recalls memories of her Troop. “This was before we had the state identifier, before the four digit standard; I feel kind of like a rebel with only three numbers on my vest.” Her Days in an AHG Troop Like many AHG alumnae and Members, Lauren’s mom was the reason she became involved with the AHG Program. “My mom and her best friend put myself and her daughter in a Troop together, so best friends with best friend daughters going to a Troop together. We had a lot of fun. We were both in the Troop two years, and we met a lot of good friends, girls I’m still

City you grew up in: Cincinnati, Ohio friends with to this day.” An essential Emphasis of the AHG Program is life skill enhancement, which is often completed through Badge work. Lauren reflected on loving this part of the Program as it gave her an opportunity to work on new skills while also having fun with friends and her Leaders. She enjoyed it so much that she had difficulty narrowing her favorite Badge down to just one! She decided on the Social Skills and Etiquette Badge. “We practiced different things in our Troop meeting, [and] then as a celebration, got to have a high tea party. We got all dressed up and went to a historical home. They had costumes for us and hats, and as a 10-year-old, I really remember loving that experience.” HUGS (Heritage Girls United Give Service) allows Troops to become involved in service within their community. These service projects allow AHG Girls to put ‘legs on their faith’. Like many other AHG Alumnae, Lauren recalls the service being a substantial and gratifying part of the Program that still impacts her to this day. “We did a variety of service projects, but the one that sticks out most to me was a historical event. We were serving at the different stations for this festival, and I got to hang out at the candle dipping station. It was a long day, but I remember enjoying getting to talk to different people. Then after our shift was done, we got to go around and explore other opportunities at the event too.”

Name of your high school: Homeschool Any pets: Taylor, a Black Lab Siblings: Six younger siblings! Two sisters and four brothers Favorite book: When Character Was King – A Story of Ronald Regan Favorite TV show: Sherlock Favorite place you’ve traveled to: Cape Town, South Africa Favorite bible verse: Isaiah 61:1-3 Favorite social media platform: Facebook Favorite food: Curry Chicken Favorite flavor of ice cream: Raspberry Chocolate Chip Favorite sport: Volleyball Favorite color: Red Favorite Badge: Our Constitution


Her AHG Involvement Outside of Her Troop Lauren is also a member of the AHG, Inc. Staff. She is currently in the position of Area Team Specialist I. “My role focuses on recruiting and selecting Hometown Mentors and Ministry Expansion Leads. I spend a significant amount of time speaking with potential Volunteers to dialogue with them about the two positions. We discuss the different aspects of the different roles and their gifts and talents to decide together if they are a good fit.” She fondly remembers job searching and how God led her to make a difference with the AHG Ministry. In 2013, Lauren moved back to Cincinnati from South Carolina in order to be closer to her family. She prayed that God would lead her to the right job before she moved. “One afternoon, I was talking to my mom about [job searching] and she mentioned receiving an eblast about an open position at AHG, so I quickly called and began the interview process. AHG was actually the only place I applied, and the Lord opened the door, so it’s a pretty cool story.” Lauren loves working with AHG, but specifically with the hard working Volunteers that are responsible for AHG’s success. “I love getting to meet so many


of AHG’s incredible Volunteers and getting to learn about the unique gifts God has put inside them,” she said. The dedication of these Volunteers helps instill lifelong values in girls, creating women of integrity that love and believe in God and his masterpieces In her Staff position, Lauren enjoys still having that focus on service that she found while in her AHG Troop. Giving back to others is still an integral piece of her life, so having a focus on service at work is an added bonus. “I love Operation Christmas Child, and getting to be a part of that as a Staff. I love getting to collect [items] for a couple of months, taking the time to collect a variety of things for the kids that we get to touch through the program.” But Lauren’s absolute favorite part of AHG is the diverse group of people involved in the Program. This explains why the National Convention is one of her fondest memories so far as an AHG Staff Member. “It’s such an unbelievable experience to be there with hundreds of girls and their Leaders and moms and the excitement they have around the Program. Getting to meet them face-toface, all these great people we get to talk to on the phone. It makes the Program come alive; to be able to touch and see

these people and to see what God’s doing and see and hear the stories of the girls, not just what we put on paper, but the real, live Troops.” Lauren exemplifies living as a woman of integrity. She had a big message to share when asked what she would like AHG Girls and Members to know. “Don’t give up,” she said. “… Ministry is hard, it is not for the faint of heart, but it is worth it. So never give up. Even when it’s challenging, push even harder, and when it’s joyous, push harder because it will be worth it in the end. And same for girls; this journey is not easy; school is not easy; church sometimes is not easy, even good environments can be hard. Family is worth fighting for, so never give up… and have fun while you’re doing it.”

"There are many ways that you can help build the future women of your community. " The AHG Ministry would not be possible without its nationwide team of dedicated Volunteers. High-Impact Partners (HIP) Volunteers are the men and women serving in the highest level of AHG volunteerism; these positions include AHG’s Ministry Expansion Leads, Hometown Mentors, Stars & Stripes Project Advisors and Trailblazer Coaches. To learn more information on becoming one of these Ministry Volunteers, visit

HIPHAPPENINGS Letters from dedicated Volunteers

Including God in Your Decisions - Written by Sarah Kaiser Google defines balance (n.) as 1. an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. 2. a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. When you are asked if your life is “in balance,” you probably combine some of these to determine your response. Are your responsibilities and activities proportioned so that you can remain mentally and emotionally steady? You have been fighting a cold for the last week. While the baby naps, the school calls and asks you to come pick up your son who, along with several others, has lice…again. Once you get home, you treat his head and gather all the sheets, blanket and jackets that could possibly be infected. You brace yourself to deal with the mountain of laundry, but halfway through the first load, the washer quits, and you aren’t able to fix it. That is also probably the day your husband calls to tell you he will be at work late. How do you react? Though you may not have personal experience with all these particular scenarios, chances are you have had several situations and seasons where you felt completely emotionally overwhelmed. Are the demands of family, ministry and work pulling you in so many directions you feel ready to break, and you can’t even think

about how to fit in taking care of yourself? Maybe those are the moments you yell louder, “Hurry up!”; “Stop it!”; “Leave me alone!”; “HELP!”; or maybe you fall into bed and just cry. There are definitely days or seasons when life is out of balance, but when your default-mode is stressed, weary, resentful, angry, or anxious, it is time to re-evaluate priorities and get life back in balance. There are four main ways to rebalance life: define your priorities, establish and maintain healthy boundaries, develop and keep good habits, and, most importantly, maintain an intimate relationship with God. 1. DEFINE PRIORITIES The best way to decide what your priorities are is not to figure it out as you go, but to first clear some time for you to spend in prayer. Pray about what God wants you to prioritize for this season and seek His answers. Spend time with your spouse and family discussing what your family priorities are. Write those priorities on paper, and post them where you can all see them regularly; they will help you make decisions about where your time and energy need to be. Understand that whatever God is calling you and your family to do, he will give you what you need to do it. Use your time intentionally and do not spend time doing things that

are not important to you and your family. 2. HEALTHY BOUNDARIES Another main component of maintaining balance in life is establishing healthy boundaries. Using your list of priorities as a guide, build some margin into your schedule; schedule margins in your days, seasons and years – if you are so busy you can’t find time to stop doing, how will you hear God? How will you see him at work around you if you are always rushing to the next activity? When we are too busy in any of our life areas, we over-focus on what we are doing when we really need to focus on the Lord. Your “margin” may look different than your friend’s, but the goal is to have time set aside for rest, recharge and reflection. A daily nap or free time, a weekly Sabbath, a weekend retreat, a family vacation – all of these are examples of giving yourself a break from the regular routines so that you can focus on being instead of doing. Lysa TerKeurst in The Best Yes (2014) puts it well: “A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.” Your goal should be to fix your schedule so there is space to fill your soul with all the good things God has for you. Then, because so many people were AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS | 25

coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31) When your schedule has some boundaries and margin, you will have more flexibility to gracefully handle the extra things that may get thrown your way, such as the sick kids, the lost shoes, and the flat tire. Many women have a desire to please others, and these women are often overscheduled and worn out because they do not want to disappoint others by saying “no.” Maintaining healthy boundaries includes having the wisdom to know what you can handle and what would add unnecessary stress to you, your family, your finances, and your time. Maintaining a balanced life mean being able to say “no” to all the things that would add stress and not fit your priorities. 3. GOOD HABITS Establishing habits that are good for you can be a challenge, especially when you are usually focused on keeping so many plates spinning. But keeping good habits – taking care of your soul, body and mind – are an important part of keeping a


balanced life. Good sleep, nutritious foods, and regular exercise will keep your physical body healthy and strong, but will keep you also keep you from feeling constantly worn out and unbalanced. You need to have good habits to maintain strong spiritual health. Look at Christ Jesus as an example: He had regular alone time and prayer; He had knowledge of scripture and focused on his spiritual growth; He had a small group of close friends: and He protected His heart and mind from evil. A healthy spiritual life includes these components. 4. RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD You are probably familiar with Mary and Martha – when Jesus was visiting their home, Martha was scurrying around cooking and cleaning, but Mary just sat and listened to Jesus. Martha got really frustrated and told Jesus to do something about it. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42) One of the best ways we can

regain balance is to nurture an intimate relationship with God. God longs to have a close relationship with each of us. We can do our part by reading His word daily and setting time aside daily to study what He is saying to us. When making decisions, do so prayerfully, inviting God to direct your path and how you spend your time. Trust God to guide your decisions and provide resources to do what He has called us to do. He will bless you with the time, energy and helpers to do all the activities He has called you to do. If you are frantically failing to “keep up,” determine what He wants for you and let go of the rest. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) Sarah Kaiser is currently serving as a Hometown Mentor for AHG, Inc.



Happenings at the AHG, Inc. National Office

New Staff Spotlight The AHG, Inc. National Office Staff is growing! New Staff Members come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, but all are called to share their talents with the AHG Program Ministry.








PLEASE WELCOME Katrina Baker – Merchandise Coordinator Lauren Eggebrecht – Troop Coach Stephanie Fryer – IT, Merchandise and Risk Administrator Becky Lipps – Graphic Design Specialist Doreen Ogden – Merchandise Coordinator

AHG STAFF EDUCATION American Heritage Girls Staff routinely attends conferences and educational seminars that will help advance learning and enhance the AHG Program. Many times these educational opportunities focus on improving the safety of AHG participants and building relationships with outside organizations and influencers that will propel the AHG Program to the next level. Throughout the coming years, AHG will continue to focus on providing the most up-to-date, exciting, enriching experiences to all Girl Members to keep the Program relevant, faith-filled and fun. National Youth Protection Symposium AHG Staff attended the National Youth Protection Symposium in Alexandria, Va. from Oct. 12 to 14, 2016. This conference brought together prominent experts and community- and youth-serving organizations to go over the latest in training programs, policies and initiatives that affect the protection of youth.

AHG, Inc. places an exemplified emphasis an overall health, including the mind, body and spirit. Alongside of weekly health classes and Biggest Loser competitions among Staff Members, the AHG Wellness Committee pulled together a field day full of games and fun for staff to participate in on Nov. 17, 2016. Participating Members of the AHG Staff were broken up into two teams and put through a number of fun exercises to complete. Activities included a relay race of sit ups, pushups, squats, hula hooping and more; pumpkin seed spitting contest; Thanksgiving trivia with wellness activity completion when providing an incorrect answer; hacky sack tossing; and dizzy bat races as the finale. It was an hour full of fun, cheering and support while getting exercise on a beautiful sunny day in Cincinnati! AHG, Inc. encourage Troops to have fun while staying active, especially during the chilly winter months.

are trained on youth protection. Vieth has also agreed to formulate a KEYS training for AHG girls. This year’s Symposium affirmed that the AHG Staff is taking necessary measures to keep girls safe. One of the biggest takeaways from the event was the knowledge that no family is exempt. Unfortunately, victimization will touch a large majority of families and combating these dangers comes through awareness of the issues. AHG, Inc. works diligently to guarantee that all girls involved in the AHG Program are protected and know of the dangers in their own environments. Adult Volunteers are also equipped and prepared with the most effective youth protection techniques. AHG will continue to stay involved in opportunities like this Symposium to ensure that girls are receiving topof-the-line protection from the everchanging dangers in today’s society.

The AHG KEYS training came out of this symposium two years ago. One of the speakers at the 2016 symposium, Victor Vieth, founder of the Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center, reviewed AHG KEYS. KEYS is the program created specifically for AHG, Inc. to ensure that Leaders and Volunteers AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS | 27

stars & STRIPES Leading with integrity and humility

The Stars & Stripes Award teaches girls perseverance, self-respect and a strong feeling of satisfaction. The goal of the Stars & Stripes Award is the experience and the realization of the servant’s heart that is needed to lead with integrity and humility. The Award Procedure and Project blesses a Candidate’s community and develops her skills in organization, communication, time management, and project management.

REQUIREMENTS A candidate must complete a number of requirements to achieve the Award including:









Abigail Herwaldt, IL0224 - #266 Project: Made Biblical Course for Retreat Center

American Heritage Girls has impacted my life in many ways. Without AHG, I would not have met the lifelong friends that I have. I would never have gone on a campout or learned how to do things like build fires, tie knots, or survive until I am found. I would not have had the fun and crazy experiences that I had earning Badges, doing service projects, or going to AHG Troop events. Being an American Heritage Girl also has made me a better person. I have learned what it means to be a woman of integrity. I have learned basic life principles that I noticed many other people lack, like leaving no trace and treating everyone with respect no matter who they are or what they have done. I am beyond grateful for the experience I have had in American Heritage Girls, and it is something I will cherish forever.


Elizabeth Farr, OH0222 - #271 Project: Added Storage and Shelving for a Pregnancy Clinic

I felt God’s peace about this Project... There were times where I was stressed out, but when picking all of our needed supplies at Lowes, I felt that God was really guiding me through everything and ensuring that everything would be taken care of… The biggest impact that AHG has had on my life is definitely in getting me ready for my life on my own, having to carry my responsibility, and conversing with others. It has given me so many opportunities to strengthen myself as a leader, and I’m glad that I took every opportunity that I could. Leadership often is a hard thing for me to do, not because I cannot or do not wish to do it, but because I can be a bit of a shy and reserved person at times. I usually do not like to step out and act as the dominant person, but with AHG, I have been given training and guidance so that I may grow more in leadership.

Keri Smart, WA3130 - #272 Project: Made Shelter for Archery Range

While working on the Stars & Stripes Award, I have been able to reflect on my character and how AHG has been a great influence on my life. I have realized that when one earns the Stars & Stripes Award, they have done what the Mission of AHG is, “Building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country.” … AHG has provided me with an effective way to grow while following God. (AHG) Being a Christ-centered organization, I have been able to grow spiritually. [I look to]Colossians 2:6-7 "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him. Rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving." AHG also has been a great place to make good friends while learning various life-skills and completing Badges. Without AHG, I don’t think I would be who I am today and may not have had a place to fellowship with other girls of all ages.

Elizabeth Hasley, TN1004 - #273 Project: Renovated Truck that Delivers Church Services to the Inner City God taught me many things through this experience. The major thing that I learned and that helped me grow was that I had to put my total trust in Him. I had to trust God that my description would get approved on time. I had to trust that all the funds would come in on time. I had to trust that I would have enough volunteers. I had to completely depend on God through it all. Although I did get stressed out and panicked, I always knew deep down that it would work out because God had called me to do it. God drove home the point to trust Him and He would provide on the last work day. On that work day, I had all the volunteers necessary and all the money and supplies needed. A hundred dollars was given to me on that day for the Project. I was overwhelmed. God not only provided, but He did above and beyond what was necessary.

Samantha Burke, CA3125 - #274 Project: Made Prayer Garden and Walk at her Church

James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I really had to persevere to finish this Project, and this verse really helped. It helped to remind me that my being able to persevere and finish this process would be a testament to my faith. …Perseverance has always been my favorite word in the Creed. It is a word that has helped me get to where I am today in both AHG and life. The process for this Award has been one of the hardest things I have ever done.


Caroline Fish, AZ1212 - #275 Project: Renovated Supply Room at her Church’s Preschool

Based on all the biographies I have read on people of faith, it seems to me that no matter how wonderful the plans we make for ourselves may be, God always has better plans for us. With this in mind, I am trying to trust God with my future instead of struggling to control everything on my own as my natural tendency would be... I know I want to do something with my life that is directly related to the work of the church in the world and that will help others discover the truth that I seek... My spiritual journey so far has been more eventful than I could have imagined. I have had ups and downs that over time have led me closer to Christ. I have accomplished some great things, including my Stars & Stripes Project… I know that everything in my past is part of God’s plan and that God will use my experiences to shape me into the person He has called me to be.

Leia Amos, GA2012 - #276 Project: Beautified Backyard Area for Emergency Shelter

The biggest challenge about my Stars & Stripes Project was finding a Project. With such a small town, it was extremely difficult to find a Project that would fit the required parameters. God commands us to “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:16). This came to mind at every turn when I was looking for Project. I came across many that were ‘too small’ or didn’t fit the requirements. As I explored the first potential Project, I was reminded by the teacher at the school where I was to work that if I expanded the project to meet my own needs, but it was beyond what the school needs, then it was similar to being a Pharisee. They did things that seemed righteous, but only to make themselves look holy. This was at the forefront of my thinking as I explored the next several Projects… God commands us to be patient and trust in Him always. Waiting on God’s timing helped me grow in patience and perseverance.

Madelyn Sutton, TX1228 - #277 Project: Created Ministry – Making Specialized Sensory Blankets for Foster Children

This spring, I went into surgery and in the process, one of my vocal cords was paralyzed. It has been rough having no voice…My disability has brought me closer to God through prayer and realizing that I should be dependent on Him and not myself. Through this journey, God has laid on my heart an ambition to pursue a degree in American Sign Language (ASL). The idea of learning a different language that could help the people in my own community is an amazing feeling, and it will give me the sensation that I have done what was brought before me because God had this plan for me all along. The fact that He made it so clear to me is what gives me the confidence and boldness to do His will…. (Psalm 118:24) “For this is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it” has become a verse I depend on. Through my disability, each day is a gift from God, and choosing to rejoice in Him is something I can do despite my circumstances.

Katie Duke, TN1004 - #278 Project: Added Shelving and an Organized Clothing System for Pregnancy Center

God’s first calling on my life is to realize my identity in Jesus as a child of God and to let Him love me. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!” (I John 3:1). He created us in His image and gifted us with beautiful talents. Through AHG, I have grown in my skills and discovered some of my talents. I have learned how to lead, seen the successes and failures in my leading style, discovered that I enjoy teaching and mentoring younger girls, and fostered my love for service. As a result, I more fully understand who God made me to be and how I can use my gifts for the glory of God. At the same time, I have learned that my identity is not found in how I use my God-given gifts or what I do, but in who I am in Christ.


Mary Walter, TN0413 - #279 Project: Made Garden Stones for Rosary Garden

My time in AHG has had a huge impact on my life. I’ve been able to make friends, learn survival, social, and leadership skills, and to make community service a regular part of my life. I have been able to push myself to my limits under the hardest of circumstances. For instance, at the end of one of my work days, I was literally so tired I could barely stand up. Since I was homeschooled until my junior year of high school, most of my peer interaction was with fellow Christian girls in AHG, which meant most of my influences were positive. Also, because not all of my friends were of the same denomination, I became curious about the differences in our beliefs, which caused me to question and delve deeper in to my faith. This process strengthened my Catholic beliefs… I would never have dreamed that I would have mostly Protestant workers creating rosary garden stones, but because of the respectful friendships and interdenominational nature of AHG, the Project went well, and we all had a great time together.

Bentley Roberts, FL0014 - #280 Project: Increased Safety and Renovated Warehouse that Serves the Poor The future has always felt like a very scary place for me, and I tend to stay in the present as much as possible... Ultimately, I will do what God wants me to do. God is calling me to work in the mission field, and I plan to answer His calling. I do not know whether it will be here locally in the states or across the globe, but I know he wants me to help others. No matter the cost or risk, I am giving back to the Lord; I’m doing what the Lord has called all of us to do. Giving all glory to Him is telling others his glorious name, our ultimate job while here on earth…God is my ultimate leader, and I am excited to move forward with my dream job in my future and only positivity ahead of me… Pursuing the Stars & Stripes Award with American Heritage Girls has truly given me a good taste of what I want my life to look like in the future. I want to give back every day in the same capacity I did with my Project.

Sophia Fulton, MN0521- #281 Project: Renovated Youth Room for a Christian Ministry

One thing that God has shown me in the past year is just how miraculous salvation is. However, the way He’s revealed this to me is not typical; God has shown me the wild beauty of salvation by showing me more and more of my flaws. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized how dreadfully imperfect I am. I’ve realized that I have so many more flaws and brokenness than visible at first glance. However, rather than discouraging me, these realizations have shown me just how amazing God is to rescue me and accept me even with all these flaws. Like Jonah says in Jonah 2:6, which I think is one of the most beautiful images of salvation, “I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O LORD my God, snatched me from the jaws of death!”

Alexis Layman, AK1920 - #282 Project: Built Trellis System for Botanical Garden

This experience has been one I will definitely never forget. I appreciate the …staff for letting me do my Stars & Stripes Project with them and for their patience in the process. It was the first they’ve ever had done and their introduction into the AHG Organization! I’m very grateful for my family and friends in and out of AHG who were willing to undertake this journey with me…Having patience and faith in the process and that God would provide what was needed took some doing. Sometimes it was waiting for a phone call back; sometimes it was an email. Other times, it was waiting for the sun to move, literally, so the plants wouldn’t be shocked so badly when we needed to transplant them. We had rainy work days and 80+ degree work days, which are much rarer for Anchorage. I learned what worked on the trellises and what didn’t... Most of all, I’ve learned that things will work out for the best and that I have a bunch of amazing people who are willing to take the time to help me in my tasks.


Kaitlyn Honnen, MI3130 - #283 Project: Made Portable Stage and Sound Booth for a Christian Camp

AHG has had a huge impact on my life. I have been a part of this Program for 10 years, and I would not be the woman I am today if not for AHG... I used to be scared of speaking in public and, because of American Heritage Girls, I can now give a speech in front of 200 to 300 people with relative ease. Because of AHG, I know knife safety, can build a fire, tie a knot, and put up a tent. I am scared of heights, yet thanks to AHG, I know that I can make it to the top of a 30 foot climbing wall… I think the two biggest impacts AHG has made on my life are my relationship with God and my character. I trust God completely with my life, and I strive to be like the examples of godly women that I see in my Troop… AHG took a shy, scared 7-year-old girl and turned her into a proud, strong daughter of the King. AHG has fulfilled its mission in me - I am a woman of integrity. I am an American Heritage Girl.

Hannah Wade, MO2005 - #284 Project: Made Kitchen Functional in a Home on a Church Property

I want to demonstrate the love of Christ in a natural way. I think our situation in America requires us to live out our faith openly and not always to “shout it from the rooftops”. I want to make sure everyone I come in contact with knows that there is a God who loves them, and that if they believe in Him, He no longer sees any of their terrible crimes. I also want to tell kids and teens who aren’t ready to believe that I care for them. Maybe then they’ll stick around long enough to realize who God is and how much He cares. The only ways I have found to accomplish these goals as a job are through either social work or writing. I don’t know what God has in store for me, but I know He can and will use me for His glory, and I know that He will work through my struggles, not in spite of them, because His grace never ends.

Hallie Jones, TX1202 - #285 Project: Remodeled Animal Pens and Gardens for Christian Medical Facility

I have been actively looking for opportunities to be unashamed of my faith to my peers and will be leading a Bible study of concepts I am very passionate about. By pursuing God in my heart and proclaiming His influence over my life in my words and especially deeds, I hope to continue forming a meaningful relationship with God. Although sometimes I feel like a failure and separated from God, I know that all He wants is my genuine interest in our relationship, and He will restore what is broken inside me. I no longer want to give “Sunday school answers” to the most important questions in life. I want to be an intentional, genuine and fearless follower of Christ. I believe that AHG has better equipped me to follow God’s direction in my life and has strengthened me as a person of character. I thank God for my experiences in AHG and am working to provide all I can to the younger generation of my Troop. I am ready to make my plans, but (will) listen to God’s directions for the next leg of my life journey.

Deirdre Ferrari, CA1334 - #286 Project: Built Garden for Christian Ministry

God has always been important to me. I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was 8-years-old at Vacation Bible School. Church, Awana and American Heritage Girls have given me more opportunities to learn about God’s love for me and His purpose for my life. My life ambition goals consist of using my God-given gifts of art, music and working well with young children to bring other people to know and love Christ. One of my life ambition goals is to improve on my art skills by taking classes after high school graduation in college so I can share this gift with others. I have always loved art and being able to share what I love and also what God has gifted me with would be amazing. I hope to take classes so I can achieve this goal I believe God has given me.


Emily Arneson, MO2005 - #287 Project: Added Benches and Scripture Plaques to a Prayer Garden

My time in American Heritage Girls has had a huge impact on my life, though it’s hard to see until I start imagining what my life might have been like had I never joined. The Program provided me with a safe Christian environment to grow in my faith and introduced me to a lot of other girls around my age who were Christians too - more than I ever would have met without the Troop. As I got older, it became an exercise in responsibility and leadership without ever giving me more than I could handle, and there was always someone nearby waiting to help me if I couldn’t do it on my own. My advice to other Stars & Stripes Candidates is this: “Believe in yourself: As long as you are willing to work hard, you can do it. Remember that the point of the Award is the journey, not the destination .You‘re challenged so that you have the opportunity to grow. Don’t procrastinate, but don’t let a tight deadline discourage you."

Allison Shidaker, TX1230 - #288 Project: Made Butterfly Garden at Nature Center

AHG has helped me with my spiritual walk in several ways. First of all, it has provided me more ways to serve. My Troop has a service project every month. I try my best to make it to as many projects as possible because I certainly do not want to miss any opportunities to serve God with my friends! I find service projects to be a really fun way to serve and get closer to the Lord. Secondly, American Heritage Girls has given me many remarkable friendships. I have made so many reliable friends that lead me closer to Christ…Lastly, this organization has helped me realize that I do have a heart for serving. I love going out and showing Christ’s love. For example, my Troop serves at the Special Olympics every year. This service project is one of my favorites! It is so much fun to make such memorable friendships with the competitors and to let them know that they are loved.

Anja Dale, IN2114 - #289 Project: Created Prayer Room at a Church

I did grow spiritually through the experience of this Stars & Stripes Project. I prayed about the Project for over a year before I found the right one. Once my Stars & Stripes mentor suggested the prayer room project, I prayed about it consistently until it was approved. Throughout the entire Project, I was asking for God’s grace and guidance. I often had moments of frustration and doubt, and I wondered if the project was making a difference. I was only able to continue to work past those difficulties through the Lord’s strength and encouragement. The dedicated AHG Volunteers were the ones who demonstrated a true Christian’s values and inspired me to work harder and become more dedicated in living out those virtues. Project prayer room was a simple project, but was created and finished in the name of the Lord, which made it a special place. Any hindrance that was had during the Project was part of God’s plan. He led me to finishing through the service, knowledge and gifts of others.

Hannah Walker, VA0711 - #290 Project: Built Fire Pit Area for a Church

My mom would often say, “Satan throws darts our way.” I never truly realized all that the devil was capable of until my high school years. Throughout high school, I was bullied… Nevertheless, I can look back to all the positive things Christ has done in my life and how He created a pathway past Satan’s darts. Christ truly is my HERO. Yet this took me a while to understand….This summer (2016) I went to youth camp with the church my family has been attending for the last year… I love meeting new people and going places where I do not know anyone. The speaker was impeccable, the friends were outstanding, and the prayers were spectacular. God created in me such a desire for prayer…. After camp, I can truly say that I want to be a godly girl who just radiates Jesus wherever I go. I’m sure that I will experience more persecution in my life; however, I will focus on the fact that living for Christ is not always easy, but it is what He wants from us.


Samantha Thompson, TX2289 - #291 Project: Built Bookshelf and Round-A-Bout for School Library

My future plan is to be a history professor, but I’d really like to write, and one day make a career out of it… God has likely had a hand in these decisions from the very beginning. I have worried constantly for so long, but I’m sure God is looking down and thinking that I’m headed to my place in this world; a place He has set out for me... My future is paved before me in God’s eyes. I may not see the clear image ahead of me. I may not see the end or the expectations I have might not be accurate. Things are bound to change, and so am I. However, I know God doesn’t. Despite how unworthy I am, He loves me. He is constantly looking out for me even when I don’t pay it attention. I woke up this morning because of Him. I got to school safely because of Him. I am blessed with the wonderful people in my life because of Him. I am well cared for and fortunate because of Him… Despite my worries and my uncertainty, God is always there. God will work through me. I will learn and grow.

Morgan Kjellman, CA0818 - #292 Project: Made Rollers to Transport Mats for Wrestling Team

I feel as if God was with me every step of the way because He knows how I am in serious crunch time, so He helped me remain calm when troubles came, and He helped me become more patient. Because of this experience and Him helping me, I have become closer with Him and he has helped me through everyday life. For example, I am now being considered for the banquet captain at my job. I did not know I was a good leader, but He has really helped me mature in that area and become more organized. Throughout my Project, I was compassionate towards others, I was helpful, and so were a lot of my helpers. All of my helpers persevered through the Project even when it was hot and boring, and they were all very respectful. I need to give a huge thank you to all of my helpers. Without them, I would not be able to receive the support and help I needed to finish my Project.

Nichole Harryman, TX1001 - #293 Project: Made Cabinets for Youth Room at Church

I have always done community projects from time to time; but after joining AHG, my service hours greatly increased. I actually enjoyed working on a broad range of service projects. It has helped me to figure out where I would like to serve in my community. It is through this service that I discovered I love working with kids, especially kids with disabilities. These children… are so caring and wish to make you happy, but because of their disabilities, many people don’t give them that chance. Whenever they are given that chance, it makes them so happy and makes them feel accomplished… One thing I can say through all my time in AHG, “This is the one place that is safe to fail.” I have been told this many times. Realizing I am not a failure when I fail was hard for me to grasp. I have come to understand when I fail, I am actually learning how to do the task better than before. AHG has been a great influence and has helped me to grow and mature in many areas of my life. Thank you, AHG!

Alayna Finnan, MN0100 - #294 Project: Converted Office to Bedroom for Christian Ministry

Through this Project, I have learned that leadership is not as difficult as it seems. One does not necessarily have to be outgoing or loud to be a leader. One can be quiet and still be an excellent leader. It is all about how you organize yourself. I discovered that I can be a leader in my own quiet way. Another thing that I discovered about leadership is that a leader does not have to know everything. When it came to doing this project, I really did not know much, but I knew people who did. I was able to bring in outside help to guide the process of finishing the bedroom. An example of this is when I had my dad help explain to people how to paint a wall. I really knew nothing about painting, but he did. By using outside help for guidance, I was able to learn along with all of my volunteers.

An overview of the Stars & Strips Award is avalable on the Girls Page of the AHG website or through any Registered Leader. Visit


NEWTROOPS Features new Troops every Tuesday at

AL1989 First Baptist Church Pelham / Pelham

NC3125 Sacred Heart Catholic Church / Salisbury

AL8617 Dauphin Island United Methodist Church / Dauphin Island

NE3130 Christ Community Church / Omaha

AZ1320 First Southern Baptist Church at Sahuaro Ranch / Glendale

NY0122 Goodwill Church / Montgomery

AZ1556 Surprise Church of Christ / Surprise

NY2222 Trinity Baptist Church / Burnt Hills-Rexford

AZ3232 Calvary Chapel Church / Tucson

OH1031 New Albany Evangelical Free Church / Pataskala

CA2112 At the Cross Oceanside Church Inc. / Oceanside

OH7070 Mentor Church of Christ / Mentor

CT2016 Evangelical Community Church / Stamford

OR0310 Path Church / Central Point

DE0111 New Covenant Presbyterian Church / Lewes

PA1606 Cranberry Community United Presbyterian Church /

FL0106 Epiphany of Our Lord Council of Catholic Women / Tampa

Cranberry Township

FL0147 St. Paul’s Catholic Church / Tampa

SC0023 Harvest Baptist Church / Rock Hill

FL0210 Lifebridge Church / Winderemere

SC1234 Covenant Baptist Church / Union

FL1209 Auburndale First Baptist Church / Auburndale

SC1914 Grace Alliance Church / North Charleston

GA0514 Grace Baptist Church / Evans

TN4130 St. Elizabeth Orthodox Christian Church /

GA2345 Christ Church, Presbyterian / Evans


GA3130 Titus Ranch, Inc. / Moultrie

TX0002 Fairfield Baptist Church / Cypress

ID0356 Candlelight Christian Fellowship / Coeur D’Alene

TX0621 Alpine Church of Christ / Longview

IL2025 Blessed Sacrament Church / Morton

TX0814 Our Lady of the Atonement / San Antonio

IN1476 Fair Haven Christian Church / Franklin

TX1866 Cathedral School of St. Mary / Austin

IN2500 Highlands Latin School / Carmel

TX1925 St. Theresa Catholic Church / Austin

KY0252 Christian Academy of Louisville / Louisville

TX2115 Hempstead Church of Christ / Hempstead

KY4250 First Christian Church / Somerset

TX2777 Faith Lutheran Church / Wylie

MI3620 Woodlawn Church / Royal Oak

TX5657 The Branch Church / Carrolton

MO0146 Holy Infant Church / Ballwin

VA0325 St. Mary’s Catholic Church / Alexandria

MO1922 Incarnate Word Parish / Chesterfield

VA2812 Victory Christian Fellowship / Lynchburg

MO2016 Greentree Community Church / Kirkwood

WA1021 Holy Family Parish / Kirkland

MO4900 St. Margaret Mary Alacoque / Saint Louis

WA3125 Laurel Community Baptist Church / Bellingham

MO5160 Sunrise United Methodist Church / O’Fallon MO7622 St. Michael the Archangel / Shrewsbury



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Heritage Headlines Magazine Winter 2017  

Heritage Headlines is a quarterly magazine publication of American Heritage Girls, Inc.