American Heritage Girls was begun more than 20 years ago when a group of parents decided that they wanted a character development program for their daughters that was modeled on scouting and centered around their faith. The organization that they started spread to every state in the US and to over 15 countries worldwide. Right here in our own little city, however, the AHG troops are represented by two women with a passion for their work spurred on by devotion to their faith and a love for seeing their girls grow into women.
Tiffany Root runs the AHG troop that operates out of Turning Point Calvary and has been a member of the American Heritage Girls since 2014. “I got involved in AHG,” says Tiffany, “because it is Christ-centered. I wanted my daughter to be involved in something that helped with the teaching of our beliefs and that she would be around like-minded families.”
Maegan O’Neill, who leads the troop at Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church, was motivated to join the organization for similar reasons. “As a mom of two daughters, I was looking for an activity that involved both our Catholic faith and having fun,” she says. “We loved the idea of meeting at our church, earning badges in different frontiers, building friendships and serving our church and community.”
Meetings typically occur twice monthly and – after recitation of a prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, AHG mission statement, oath, and creed – will focus on working on the scouts’ badges. These badges fall into six categories that help the girls pursue a wide variety of interests – Heritage, Personal Well-Being, Family Living, Arts, Science & Technology, and Outdoor Skills.
“We loved getting to see girls try new things and find other interests that they were not aware of,” says Maegan. “It was great to see them overcome struggles in unfamiliar activities and share their strengths with the others.”
And this dedication to the girls’ growth in confidence, the pursuit of leadership skills, building friendships, and helping each scout mature into a well-rounded individual is at the heart of all that Tiffany, Maegan, and AHG do.
“The girls build long-lasting friendships,” says Tiffany. “They learn about God; they learn to be compassionate, helpful, honest, loyal, perseverant, pure, resourceful, respectful, responsible, and reverent. The girls learn to love God, cherish their family, honor their country, and serve in their community.”