Tuesday, April 27, 2010

American Heritage Girls Webinar

     I went to an American Heritage Girls webinar today. I learned both good news and not so good news from the information session.
     Despite having a Memorandum of Mutual Support with the Boy Scouts of America, AHG has been asked to cease and desist using certain terms to which BSA has the rights due to a federal charter granted in the 1950s (I hope I got that right). American Heritage Girls will no longer be permitted to have 'merit badges', they will be badges. AHG can't call themselves Scouts or Scouting; the current wording will be Character Development Program. If someone can think of a great term to use in places of Scouts/Scouting, please contact the national AHG office. The current level Tenderfoot (grades 1st-3rd) will be changed to Tenderheart as of Summer 2010. This will be reflected in new written materials including the new handbook.
     Speaking of the handbook, the new handbook will be available at the 15th Anniversary Convention in July in Ohio. It will be spiral bound, include 20 new badges (including Boating and Climbing) as well as six sports pin. Troops may continue to use both the old and new handbook but leaders are encouraged to purchase the new handbook (still at the same price $16) and to encourage their girls to budget and save to purchase the new handbook which has a completely new look and layout.
     American Heritage Girls has been endorsed by Dr James Dobson in his NY Times Bestseller List book. Dr Dobson no longer feels that he can support and encourage membership in Girl Scouts but he endorses American Heritage Girls.  An AHG Troop in Colorado recently visited Dr Dobson and later this week he will be visiting a troop meeting.

     In addition, American Heritage Girls will be flying to Colorado tomorrow to visit Dr Dobson and tape an episode (or two) for Family Talk , a new radio show featuring Dr James Dobson, Ryan Dobson and LuAnne Crane. The channels broadcasting this new show can be found here. AHG didn't have an airdate for the show about American Heritage Girls.
     Tell 15 is a marketing initiative to let more folks know about American Heritage Girls. Each AHG family is asked to talk about AHG to 15 contacts before the end of the program year (5/31/10). In this way the organization can grow, new girls can join troops and new troops can be formed. Check out this to see if there is a troop in your area. 

Other miscellaneous info learned through the webinar
1. Be sure to become a fan of AHG on Facebook
2. There is talk about doing a popcorn fundraiser; it would not be at the same time as Boy/Cub Scouts.
3. It's okay to say "troop' and 'camporee' but not jamboree.
4. American Heritage Girls will have a presence at the Boy Scout Jamboree this summer.
5. The Memorandum of Mutual Support has permitted some AHG troops to utilize BSA camps and/or sell AHG merchandise in the Boy Scout Shop. This is NOT nationwide.


Lorri said...

Thanks for this info. I was a Girl Scout leader for 3 years, and while the local troops can distance themselves from the politics, it is tough when you know all your fundraising efforts help the head office. Plus, having a son in Cub/Boy scouts, it was easy to see what a superior program BSA is. The final straw was when we moved and all the local troops were "full." No offer was made to help or information giving about starting our own troop. Sad thing is, I'm a trained leader - a rare commodity. I couldn't believe they'd turn away such a resource!

We took the year off from girl scouting, but AHG looks promising. The troops in our area seem to hold meetings at churches - can I safely assume that like BSA, the meeting location is simply a location and that the leaders keep the meetings faith-neutral. I did see the statement of faith, but beyond that, we're not going be made to feel uncomfortable if we have a different denomination than the sponsoring church?

Renee said...


We ended up with AHG when we moved to Alabama two years ago since no one was being helpful in finding a space for my registered Girl Scout daughter; not even the troop at my own church :( It bothered me that they were so unfriendly esp since we came from living overseas where my dh served our nation in the Army and my eldest had just earned her Gold Award.

Having sons in Cub and Boy Scouts, I will say that AHG (ime) is "more Christian" in that our meetings open and close with prayer and there are even badges that are specifically Christian (such as Daughter of the King). But I think it will depend on the leadership of each individual troop. Our leader is aware that she has girls of multiple denominations and is respectful of their differences.

I would encourage you to contact a troop. We permit girls (and their mom) to visit a meeting to see if we are what they are wanting in a Scout (oops I can't say scout) --- character development program.

Paula said...

It's a shame that AHG girls can't be called scouts. I hope BSA wasn't responsible for that. AHG is a scouting organization that I've had two daughters in. BSA should be supportive of AHG. Yes, it is a character building program too based on faith in God, but the badges required also make it a scouting program.

Renee said...

Paula it has something to do with a federal charter that the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have with the government....