Close this search box.
Close this search box.
(Courtesy of American Heritage Girls)

Praise the American Heritage Girls

Why curse the darkness when you can light a candle,” is something that Patti’s father always said. It inspired Patti Garibay as she founded the faith-based interdenominational alternative to the Girl Scouts in 1995. The inspiration for such an alternative came from growing up with four siblings and her disabled father who lived with multiple sclerosis for forty years before his death in 2004.

It was his attitude of why curse the darkness when you can light a candle,” that inspired Patti to found her faith-based program and the publication of her book with this quote as the title.

Patti was an active leader and volunteer for Girl Scouts U.S.A. (GSUSA) for over 12 years. In West Chester, Ohio, she was highly influential in sharing the gospel with her troop.

It was in 1993 when a change occurred within the Girl Scouts that Patti disagreed with. She said that the Girl Scoutsoath didnt involve God as much and it bothered her.

This to me sounded like a politically correct way at the time,” she said. She also believed that if you were to change God, what would that mean for morals? I wanted to make a positive change and tried to do it through Girl Scouts. However, it did not work.”

With these changes, Patti decided to utilize public pressure by speaking up. She remembered all the doors being shut during this process and something needed to be done. Patti was determined to make the right change to better serve the needs of girls around the world if she could help it.

Starting from the Beginning in 1995

It was in 1995, that a group of parents (including Patti) founded a faith-based, scout-type, character development program for their daughters. American Heritage Girls was born that year and was dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community, and country.

American Heritage Girls is participating in badge programs, service projects, leadership opportunities, and outdoor experiences across the nation and the globe, all with an emphasis on Christian values and family involvement. 

Patti wanted this organization to start for her third daughter, as her other two were already past the age for these kinds of groups (AHG is for ages 5-18). I wanted to stand true in society,” she recalls thinking about that moment back in 1995.

Since that moment, Patti has been leading girls and women to help them live with integrity. She helps thousands of girls discover their true identity and purpose in Christ through AHGs transformative programming. 

What The Program Offers 

American Heritage Girl is for girls between the ages 5-18 who meet together as a troop of 35-40 girls. These troops give girls the important experience of making and interacting with new friends and mentors. Members also learn leadership skills within a group setting. There are dedicated adult volunteers that lead the troops while also incorporating the valuable input of the girls.

AHG troops are located in communities across the nation. If one doesn’t already exist in the area, families have the option to bring the AHG program to their own area. An AHG troop development coach is available to answer questions and provide helpful resources to potential charter organizations and families in order to form a new troop.

What American Heritage Girls is Like Today

Today, there are over 52,000 members globally, with troops in all 50 states and 15 countries.

There are thousands of volunteer members across the country helping girls grow in their faith, cultivate a heart for service, enjoy the great outdoors, and have more fun than they can imagine.  Girls can join a troop at any time and if there is not a troop available nearby, they can become a Trailblazer and enjoy the AHG program alongside their parent. There are a variety of Christian denominations that are also represented as Charter Organizations for troops.

How the Past Year Has Affected AHG

The past year tested the fortitude, courage, patience, and strength of everyone around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has created feelings of hopelessness and helplessness in men, women, and children. Social and physical distancing has also been detrimental to their mental state and their relationships.

How can fear become debilitating? It manifests itself into a variety of unhealthy behaviors. One such behavior, worry, is a negative focus on the future,” said Patti. Speculating what might occur under potential circumstances can provide each of us hundreds of sleepless nights.”

With American Heritage Girls, this program can help young girls get through some of the most difficult moments in their lives. 

What I wanted to do with AHG is to stand true to society and make a positive change in the community,” said Patti.