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AHG: A Thread for Discussing the Program

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  • AHG: A Thread for Discussing the Program

    I'm going to try to start an open, frank, and civil discussion of the program that AHG makes available for girls. The American Heritage Girl badges are arranged into six frontiers to make them even easier to find and use:

    Heritage Ancestor Detector, Caring for My Environment, Citizenship and Government, Native American, Our Flag, Our Heritage, World Heritage

    Family Living Cake Decorating, Cooking, Family Helper, Gardening, Home Care & Repair, Home Decorating, Memory Maker, Money Management, Pet Care, Sewing, Toys & Games

    Arts Cinematography, Creative Crafts, Creative Writing, Dance, Music Appreciation, Music Performance, Needle Arts, Photography, Puppetry, Textile Arts, Theater

    Outdoor Skills Archery, Camping, Canoeing, Cycling, Fire Safety and Fire Building, Fishing, Golf, Hiking, Horsemanship, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Cooking, Outdoor Skills, Snow Skiing & Snowboarding, Swimming

    Personal Well-Being Bible Basics, Book Adventurer, Daughter of the King, Emergency Preparedness, Personal Hygiene, Physical Fitness, Social Skills & Etiquette, Travel

    Science and Technology Aviation, Computer Fun, Geology, Internet Adventure, Kitchen Scientist, Space Exploration, Women Inventors, Young Meteorologist, Zoology

    At each level, a girl must earn a merit badge from each frontier to earn her level award (in addition to other requirements, including leadership and service requirements.) The badges can be earned at the Tenderheart, Explorer, and Pioneer/Patriot levels. So, for example, my daughter just earned the Tenderheart level Skiing and Snowboarding badge, but can earn it again as an Explorer by completing more difficult requirements than those that she completed as a Tenderheart. The highest award is the Stars and Stripes Award, which has requirements similar to Eagle, including a number of merit badges that must be earned, including several badges that are required for the award.

  • #2
    Are the skill-in-subject awards specifically called "Merit Badges", or what terminology is used?

    Are the ranks you referred to age-based, or are they earned ranks that all Girls earn?

    And what do you call them, "Girls", "Scouts", or some other term?

    Comment


    • #3
      I suspect that they're not allowed to call them "scouts", at least not publicly. Other groups in the U.S. and Canada not affiliated with WOSM or WAGGGS have the same issue.

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      • #4
        I know this has been talked about obliquely and I do not remember seening a specific answer, although there may have been one, but a straight questions:

        Can a legal resident of the United States who is an alien be a leader in the AHG?

        With all the rhetoric and obsfuscation, I thought I would go the easy route

        Comment


        • #5
          OGE, yes. From what was posted in the original thread, the OLD adult registration form basically said you had to be an American citizen. That has since changed to include resident aliens. Some anti-AHG folks still want to cling to the obsolete form to prove a point.

          http://www.americanheritagegirls.com/uploads/AdultVolInfoWithApp11.pdf

          ....."Those individuals holding leadership positions must be at least 21 years of age; a legal resident of the United States of America".....(This message has been edited by sr540beaver)

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          • #6
            This is also in the adult registration form.

            "AHG is a Christ-centered scouting organization that recognizes the importance of religious faith yet leaves religious instruction to the members family and religious leaders. Members are not forced to participate in religious activities."

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            • #7
              I like the incorporation of the different areas of the Merit badges for advancement. Are their additional requirements on top of doing one MB from each frontier?

              Comment


              • #8
                Maybe this thread would be better discussed in the Girl Scouting section. Can it be moved?

                Comment


                • #9
                  What are the badge requirements for each level?

                  What resources does AHG provide to girls to help them learn about the topics?

                  Is the learning model unit-based (leader signs off on everything) or subject-matter based (the BSA MBC model)?

                  What are the requirements for the Level Awards?

                  What summer camp programs does AHG operate independently of other youth organizations?

                  What outdoor training does AHG offer to its leaders?

                  Why is the Leader Portal online restricted to registered adults only?

                  Why are only registered members permitted to purchase the Girl Handbook?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Those are all serious questions, by the way. I'd love to discuss the AHG program, but one apparently has to be a registered member of AHG to read the handbooks and requirements (or else fork over $60 for the unit starter kit!).

                    I'm not sure how we're supposed to discuss the program based on a list of merit badge names.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There have been some great questions posed here. Sorry I've been away from the computer all day and haven't really had a chance to address them. I'll try to provide answers as well as I can.

                      Are the skill-in-subject awards specifically called "Merit Badges", or what terminology is used? You got me here. I just checked my Handbook, and they are referred to simply as "badges." I think informally we sometimes refer to them as "merit badges" because, as many have said along the way, a lot of AHG folks have scouting experience from both BSA and/or GSUSA. Officially, though, AHGers earn "badges."

                      Are the ranks you referred to age-based, or are they earned ranks that all Girls earn? The simple answer here is "both." The groupings, Pathfinders, Tenderhearts, Explorers, Pioneers, and Patriots are age-based. So, there's no need to "earn" advancement to the next level. Girls simply bridge up, based on age and grade. However, girls also have the opportunity to earn level awards at each step. Those level awards are the only insignia that follows the girl from one level to the next, e.g. a Tenderheart girl's goal should be to earn her Sacagawea Award, which will then be worn on her Explorer uniform when she bridges up. Not all girls will earn their level awards at every level, but in order to earn the Stars and Stripes award, the Patriot level award, the Dolley Madison Award, must be completed first.

                      And what do you call them, "Girls", "Scouts", or some other term? Mostly, we refer to the girls by their level unit, Pathfinders, Tenderhearts, Explorers, Pioneers, and Patriots (or Pi/Pas, as we affectionately refer to the older girls). Officially, they're referred to as Girls, thus, the name Girl Handbook for the AHG manual.

                      I like the incorporation of the different areas of the Merit badges for advancement. Are their additional requirements on top of doing one MB from each frontier? Yes. The requirements for level awards get progressively more difficult at each level (as they should.) For example, as a Tenderheart, in addition to the badge requirement (one badge from each frontier), girls have to perform 5 hours of community service for each year as a Tenderheart, attend one special event for each year as a Tenderheart, make a poster or presentation depicting what the girl enjoys most about AHG and have it displayed for at least 2 weeks in a public place, attend one Explorer-level meeting, and participate in a Board of Review. On the other end of the spectrum, Patriots have to earn one badge from each frontier, perform 20 hours of community service for each year as a patriot (which cannot then be used toward the Stars & Stripes requirement), earn the religious recognition for your particular church or denomination (e.g. PRAY award or the like), plan, organize, promote and implement an activity, either multi-troop or community outreach event requiring at least 15 hours of participation, participate in an AHG recruitment effort, sharing how you've benefited from AHG, and participate in a Board of Review. The Explorer and Pioneer requirements are similar.

                      What are the badge requirements for each level? Badge requirements get more complex at each level. For example, both in complexity and number. So, a Tenderheart badge may have 3 mandatory plus one optional requirement that are relatively simple, while the same Pi/Pa badge will have 7 mandatory requirements plus 3 optional requirements, all of which are significantly more complex. For example, for the camping badge, Explorers have to "attend at least one campout where you pitch your tent and sleep in it for at least two nights." For the same badge, Pi/Pas have to "Design and pitch a shelter or lean-to using only a tarp and rope. You may fashion your own stakes from wood found at the site. In addition, design your own bedding using natural items, and a ground cloth." There are obviously a ton of other requirements. This just gives you an idea of the difference in level.

                      What resources does AHG provide to girls to help them learn about the topics? AHG provides "badge helps" for the leaders via its website and encourages the girls to do a lot of their own research as part of the badge requirements. This part of the program is not as well fleshed out as the similar BSA resources.

                      Is the learning model unit-based (leader signs off on everything) or subject-matter based (the BSA MBC model)? Leaders and/or parents can sign off on badge requirements, but all badges are subject to a leader-held "badge interview" in which the girls have to present their findings, projects, etc. to their unit leader in order to have the badge signed off.

                      What are the requirements for the Level Awards? See above.

                      What summer camp programs does AHG operate independently of other youth organizations? There are several. An email just came out earlier this week, or maybe late last week, about the AHG-specific camps that were being offered for this summer. I want to say that there were around 10, most in the mid-west. I don't know much more than this because none were near us. This is a building area for AHG.

                      What outdoor training does AHG offer to its leaders? Not sure on this one, as I'm still in my first program year with AHG, but a good question. AHG leaders are now able to enroll in any BSA training that they wish, which will undoubtedly add significantly to the current offerings.

                      Why is the Leader Portal online restricted to registered adults only? Not a clue. Took me ages to get a log on for that portion of the website.

                      Why are only registered members permitted to purchase the Girl Handbook? Again, no clue. Is that the case? I just tried to buy one online, and it looks like it would let me buy one without registering. Not sure on this.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Several terms got ammended a couple of years back by BSA request due to copyright. Ie, Tenderfoot level became Tenderheart; it is no longer refered to as a "Scouting program", but rather a "character development program"; Merit Badges became just plane Badges.

                        What are the badge requirements for each level?
                        It varies by level. This is one of what I see as needing improvements in the program. Currently AHG feels that every badge should have requirements at every level. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantage is that unlike Scouts, if they continue on with the badge they are building on their knowledge level, rather than a one and done. The disadvantage is that some things are limited because of the difficulty of implementing for young girls.

                        What resources does AHG provide to girls to help them learn about the topics?
                        The handbook provides a listing of requirements which are pretty straightforward, but there are no "Badge books" that list all the knowledge. It is similar to the listing you would see for merit badge requirements.

                        Is the learning model unit-based (leader signs off on everything) or subject-matter based (the BSA MBC model)?
                        The learning model is unit-based, ie, a leader (advancement manager) has to sign off on items. For some things you have to go outside the leader structure for completion, ie, "talk to a pilot about....." There is no Badge Counselor system.

                        What are the requirements for the Level Awards?
                        Earning one badge from each of the differnet fields at your current level. Earning at least one service star per year of membership at your level (gets more as you get older, ie, 5 hours for Tenderheart (1-3 grade), 15 hours for Pioneer (7-8 Grade)). Attending a unit event each year. Depending on your level, helping with or eventually planning and assiting with leading a unit event. A few other requirements, culminating in a Board of Review. The level award is not required for advancement, the program follows the Cub Scout grade based method in this area.

                        What summer camp programs does AHG operate independently of other youth organizations?
                        AHG tends to use BSA summer camps. National provides a National Summer Camp in Cincinatti Ohio which smalled Troops can attend. Well developed areas such as our Louisville area has it's own Summer Camp, organized by the area AHG leadership and run by a combination of the BSA summer camp staff and local AHG staff. This is also open to Troops outside the area, but like BSA summer camps.

                        What outdoor training does AHG offer to its leaders?
                        Minimal. The annual leader conferance has some programming for such and leaders are encouraged to utilize the local BSA training for this. Additionally, all AHG leadership will need to take BSA youth protection this year, as well as AHG's.

                        Why is the Leader Portal online restricted to registered adults only?
                        While AHG sets itself aside as morally different than Girl Scouts, they are sensative to not wanting to directly have any battles. AHG recognizes the GSUSA's right to run their program as they see fit, and while they don't agree with it, they want to avoid as much as possible the immage of attacking GSUSA. Additionally, a large protion of AHG funding (as a fledgling organization) relies on funds from materials. This is the easiest way to prevent copying as well.

                        Why are only registered members permitted to purchase the Girl Handbook?
                        Can't really answer this. I think to try to protect their intellectual property. As a comparatively small organization, much of the AHG policy revolves around avaoiding lawsuits as they do not have the millions of dollars that BSA has to combat them.(This message has been edited by pack212scouter)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          We will know that AHG has 'arrived' when their secrets are 'outed' on Youtube and their 'stuff' becomes widely available on eBay.
                          And we start seeing indignant threads about it in these forums.

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                          • #14
                            "And what do you call them, "Girls", "Scouts", or some other term?"

                            As I understand it, only the BSA and GSUSA are allowed to use the name "Scout" or "Scouts" due to their federal charters. Basically, it's a federally protected copyright. No other independent scouting organization in the USA is allowed to use the name "Scout."

                            Interestingly, in the United Kingdom, independent scout organizations like the Baden-Powell Scouts can freely use the name "Scout."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              One could wonder how Harper Lee got away with it?

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