AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS at OLV

Welcome to the official website for American Heritage Girls Troop AL-1128 at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church


About American Heritage Girls (AHG):

Mission

"Building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country."

Vision

American Heritage Girls (AHG) is the premier national character development organization for young women (ages 5-18) that embraces Christian values and encourages family involvement.

Inclusion Policy

All biological girls of any color, creed, race, national origin and socioeconomic status who agree to live according to the standards of the AHG Oath and the AHG Creed are invited to be members of American Heritage Girls.  

AHG Oath

“I promise to love God, cherish my family, honor my country, and serve in my community.”

AHG Creed

“As an American Heritage Girl, I promise to be compassionate, helpful, honest, loyal, perseverant, pure, resourceful, respectful, responsible, and reverent.”

Structure

There are five Program Levels in American Heritage Girls: Pathfinder (ages 5-6), Tenderheart (ages 6-9), Explorer (ages 9-12), Pioneer (ages 12-14), and Patriot (ages 14-18).  This multi-level structure allows girls from all Program Levels to meet together as a single Troop, but split into separate Program Levels (units) for age-appropriate activities. It also offers many opportunities for girls to experience different leadership roles.  As a girl ages through the program, her leadership opportunities and responsibilities increase accordingly. These lessons carry through to all areas of a girl’s life.

Emphases

The AHG character development program focuses on girl leadership, building teamwork and confidence, social and spiritual development, and life skill enhancement through the earning of AHG badges from six different “frontiers” - Our Heritage, Family Living, The Arts, Outdoor Skills, Personal Well-Being, and Science & Technology.  AHG’s badge program is multi-leveled to continuously build on existing skills and create confident, well-rounded young women.  Each Frontier Badge can be earned at three different program levels (Tenderheart, Explorer, and Pioneer/Patriot).  This also provides opportunities for girls to interact across age groups, as older girls can earn badge credit for mentoring younger girls in specific areas, as the troop works together to earn a badge for girls at all levels.

Other Awards and Service

Girls also have the option to earn Sports Pins for sports programs they are already participating in, and are expected to earn at least one service star per year.  As girls move up in age and program levels, the number of hours required to earn a service star increases.  Patriot Level girls may go above and beyond to earn the highest award for American Heritage Girls, the Stars and Stripes Award. This is the most prestigious of awards, and it requires a great deal of time, sacrifice and devotion to achieve.  As leadership awards go, it would be recognized as the equivalent of the Girl Scout Gold Award.  

Church and Family Involvement

American Heritage Girls recognizes the importance of the role of church and family in the character development of young girls. Spiritual development is promoted through various religious patches and recognition programs, as well as troop activities.  While some activities offered may be limited to registered troop members only, many other activities encourage family participation. For example, our troop held family campouts last spring and fall, and plans to host several more activities this spring and summer for our Troop families, including our 2nd annual Raingutter Regatta in April, a Mother/Daughter High Tea in May, and a Father/Daughter Luau in June.  


About Troop AL-1128 at OLV:

American Heritage Girls Troop AL-1128 was chartered by Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church on June 30, 2017, under Family Life Ministries, and is advised by Deacon Bob Martin and AHG’s National Catholic Committee (NCC). “AL” represents our state of charter; “1128” represents the scripture Luke 11:28, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”  The Troop Leadership Team chose this verse because we feel that God has called us to make this transition into a faith-based scouting program for our girls.  

Religious Affiliation

AHG embraces and supports ALL Christian denominations and religious affiliations.  While Troop AL-1128 is a Catholic Troop, Troop members are NOT required to be Catholic.  However, girls and parents should be aware that all girls will be exposed to Catholic teaching and will be invited to participate in Catholic faith-specific activities, as well as broader Christian activities.  We are blessed to have another Catholic AHG Troop at OLS, who has provided invaluable mentorship to our leadership team, and with whom we try to coordinate some of our activities.  We have also networked with other AHG troops in our area, and hope to begin coordinating some activities with them in the future.

Meetings and Troop Activities

Troop AL-1128 holds formal meetings at OLV once a month on a Sunday afternoon, where we practice flag ceremonies, pray, and work on various badges together.  We also typically offer at least one additional troop activity and/or unit activity per month.  Last fall we learned about citizenship and our government, Native American culture and the environment, worked on cinematography and cooking skills, went on behind-the-scenes tours at Panera Bread, the Golden Flake Factory and the North Shelby Library, and even had a fun night out at the movies.  Upcoming activities planned for our Troop members include an Overnight Adventure on the USS ALABAMA battleship, a visit to High Point Climbing Gym, a horsemanship clinic, local Troop Camping, Outdoors School at the Alabama 4-H Center, a lock-in for our girls aged 5-8, and a high-adventure camp weekend for girls aged 9+ from AHG troops all over the Southeast.  

Service

We strive to serve God, our community, and our country through service projects and activities that reflect our love and honor of our Catholic faith, parish, and country.  We kicked off our service projects for this year at the end of last summer by hosting a community-wide “Christmas in July” packing party where we packed 67 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child that we then dropped off for shipping in November.  In September, Troop members made 10 yarn wigs for kids with cancer to be distributed through The Magic Yarn Project.  We also served our parish by participating in the OLV School grounds clean up project in August, running a game booth at the OLV Fall Food Festival in October, supporting the OLV Angel Tree project in November, and helping the Knights of Columbus serve and clean up at the Parish Thanksgiving meal.  In December, we honored our fallen heroes by laying wreaths on graves of US veterans at Alabama National Cemetery, and helped spread Christmas cheer by caroling and visiting with the memory-impaired elderly at Lakeview Estates. We will also be providing support to the Knights during their Fish Frys this Lent.  

Fundraising

Last fall we helped gather sponsors for wreaths to be laid at the Wreaths Across America remembrance ceremony.  This fundraising effort helped fund our USS ALABAMA Overnight Adventure Trip. This January and February we are selling Krispy Kreme products to raise funds for the spring and summer troop activities mentioned above.  Selling baked goods at the OLV Lenten Fish Frys will be our last fundraiser of the program year to help cover the remainder of troop expenses, and possibly allow us to set aside funds to help families with their membership fees for next program year.  We are grateful for all of the support we have received from parish members in our fundraising efforts, and pray that you all will continue to support us in this way. As always, we covet your prayers for our troop girls and leaders above all.

Membership

OLV’s AHG Troop AL-1128 currently serves 29 girls, aged 5 to 14, from 23 families. We are prepared to serve girls up to age 18, and with the continued support and prayers of Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church and its parishioners, we hope to expand our membership and program to build up more young Catholic women of faith, strength, and character to be leaders in our parish and community.

AL-1128 also has adult volunteer positions currently available for both men and women.  Volunteering with our troop is a great way to make an impact in the lives of growing Catholic women within our parish community.  Please contact Sara Lanza, Troop Coordinator, for more information on girl or adult membership.  ahgsara@gmail.com 256-303-2084

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