Everything posted by MomWhoCamps
BadenP, I suppose you could be right that this could be "an AHG only propaganda." If you look at the original PDF of the FAQ, though, you'll see that it has the BSA logo on the header. I hope and expect that BSA would take swift action against any organization fraudulently using its name and logo.
Agreed. Thanks, Wulf. Thought everyone might be interested in the below FAQ on the AHG/BSA partnership. The original PDF can be found at http://www.ahgonline.org/pages/page.asp?page_id=166193 , along with a brochure about the two programs. Thoughts? FAQ for AHG/BSA Relationship Who are the American Heritage Girls? From the AHG web site: American Heritage Girls was founded in 1995 in West Chester, Ohio by a group of parents wanting a wholesome program for their daughters. These parents were disillusioned with the increasing secular focus of existing organizations for girls. They wanted a Judeo-Christian focused organization for their daughters and believed that other parents were looking for the same for their daughters. This became the catalyst for the birth of the organization we have come to know as the American Heritage Girls. American Heritage Girls began its first year of programming in the fall of 1995 with about 10 troops and roughly 100 members. Most of the troops met in the West Chester area and worked on badges written by the founding parents. Organizational events were started that year which assisted the organization in tying city-wide troops together. American Heritage Girls is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country. The organization offers badge programs, service projects, girl leadership opportunities and outdoor experiences to its members. This program of character building has successfully served thousands of girls since its inception and will continue to do so long into the 21st century. The BSA has a unique relationship with the American Heritage Girls (AHG). Unlike MOUs with other organizations that we work with to serve youth, the BSA and the AHG signed a Memorandum of Mutual Support in June 2009. American Heritage Girls were represented at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree. They have modeled much of their program and delivery on the BSA model and do joint recruiting in some local councils. Are BSA Training Courses open and available to AHG volunteers? Yes. AHG leaders use many of our e-learning courses, including Youth Protection and Weather Hazards. For attendance at any instructor-led BSA training with a prerequisite, that requirement would have to be met. What about Wood Badge? In light of the unique relationship with the AHG, it is fitting and mutually beneficial for AHG leaders to attend Wood Badge courses. Providing the local council training committee and Scout executive approves, that these leaders are trained in their AHG leadership position, and that they complete the BSAs youth protection training prior to attendance. It is not necessary for them to be registered members of the Boy Scouts of America. However, if they are not registered BSA members and attend as American Heritage Girls members only, they must provide an insurance certificate and sign a holdharmless agreement. The Wood Badge symbols of completion (beads, neckerchief, and woggle) are international Scouting symbols with varying meanings around the world, but have special Scouting significance nevertheless. These items are not appropriate for AHG-only leader recognition, nor wear on their uniforms as AHG is not a member of WOSM or WAGGGS. A certificate of completion would be appropriate. If an AHG leader subsequently joins the BSA, the Wood badge symbols could be awarded. What insurance requirements are necessary for AHG participation in BSA activities and camps? AHG has its own liability and accident and sickness insurance. Neither AHG nor their members are covered by BSA insurance, unless they are also registered as member of the BSA. Are AHG Troops able to use BSA facilities? Yes, at the discretion of the local council. They must provide an insurance certificate and sign an indemnification and hold-harmless agreement. What joint activities can be enjoyed by AHG/BSA members? Individual councils can make the decision locally, provided such activities are consistent with BSAs Youth Protection policies, the Guide to Safe Scouting, and the councils insurance liability requirements or limitations. Can AHG members participate in BSA product sales? No. Can Scout Shops carry AHG merchandise? National Scout Shops cannot, however local council Scout shops can with the approval of the local council subject to the same limitations as other not-BSA items. Any local council contemplating doing so should call BSA Supply to ensure compliance with BSA policy. Can AHG be the chartered organization for Venture Crews? Yes. We highly endorse this program element. What marketing tools are available to promote the creation of BSA/AHG units? AHG has prepared some tools, including a co-branded brochure. They can be found at: www.ahgonline.org Can AHG units and BSA units share a charter? No. AHG and BSA units can be chartered to the same chartered organization, but AHG and BSA are separate entities and have different polices. Why might it be beneficial for a local BSA Council to partner with the American Heritage Girls? The rental of underutilized camp facilities, chartering AHG associated Venture Crews, joint service projects, shared marketing efforts such as booths at Homeschool Conferences, joint family/training events, and a sales tool when establishing new units in Christian congregations. 1/17/12
I'm honestly surprised by all the rancor about AHG and its supposed ultra-conservative religious agenda of "converting" young girls. Yes, it's a Christian organization, but, IMO, saying that AHG is an exclusionary aimed at converting young girls to Christianity is like saying that LDS BSA troops and packs are exclusionary and aimed at converting young men to LDS...it's patently ridiculous. Some AHG troops, like some BSA troops and packs, are sponsored by evangelical churches. On the other hand, some are chartered by mainline Protestant churches and Catholic parishes. Actually, in our immediate area, I can think of one troop sponsored by an evangelical church, 1 by a Methodist church, 1 by a UCC church, and 2 or 3 by Catholic parishes. For what it's worth, the Catholic interest in AHG seems to be growing in our area. I'm wondering how many who have criticized the organization have any first-hand experience with AHG? My first grade daughter is a Tenderheart in an AHG troop chartered by a United Methodist Church. Like BSA, the CO has a significant amount of influence in the direction and "feel" of the troop. A troop sponsored by an evangelical church will likely have a different feel than one sponsored by a Catholic parish. Like BSA troops and packs, one is not exactly like another, and it's a good idea to look at several before committing to one. As far as the religious leanings of the national organization? I don't think they've ever claimed to be an evangelical organization. The AHG Statement of Faith is pretty moderate as far as I'm concerned. AHG is a faith-based scouting organization that, in my opinion, takes scouting back to what it used to be. We chose AHG for our family for several reasons. First of all, when my husband and I discussed our scouting experiences, we found, as many families have, that his BSA experience was far richer than my GSUSA experience. The result? He stayed in and made OA and eventually Eagle, and I quit GSUSA after about six years of scouting when it became difficult to find a troop with which to connect. We also liked the fact that it was faith-based. What sold us? We saw a group of AHGers camping one weekend. Once we did our research and found out about the BSA/AHG mutual support agreement, there was no doubt in my husband's mind that we were going with AHG. To be honest, I wasn't that excited about putting my daughter in Brownies, anyway, so that suited me fine. What have we found? Our AHG troop is about 80 girls strong. New troops are popping up all over our area as more and more people discover AHG. The agreement with BSA has helped give AHG a boost, to be sure and the alliance appears to be growing stronger each year. AHG leaders are now allowed/encouraged to attend BSA leader training, including Wood Badge. In fact, BSA's youth protection training will be mandatory for all AHG leaders starting in the fall. AHG troops are using BSA camping facilities and attending summer camp doing all the same activities that used to be reserved for just the boys. Our Explorer level girls (4th-6th grades) are going to camp at a local BSA camp this summer, and our Tenderheart girls (1st-3rd graders) are going to a day camp at another BSA camp in August. You may have also heard that AHG is going to Philmont this summer to discuss ways to enhance the BSA/AHG alliance to the advantage of both organizations. Whether you agree with the move or not, AHG is the girl's organization that BSA has decided to partner with on a national level, stating that BSA and AHG share similar values. That's a strong endorsement in my book. I'm looking forward to seeing the partnership grow over the next 15 years or so that my son and daughters will be in AHG and/or BSA. Finally, what does a faith-based scouting organization for girls look like in practice? To be honest, it probably looks a lot like a church-chartered BSA troop or pack. We pray at the opening and closing of meetings and over meals. When we go camping, we have devotionals on Sunday mornings. I like that we have the opportunity to meet and scout with others that share our values. We are planning for our son to join the Cub Scout pack affiliated with the same CO as our AHG troop even though our elementary school has a pack that's closer. For me, there's an added benefit in reinforcing our values outside of just Sunday mornings, and it's nice for the kids to have a peer group outside of school. Others may feel differently. Bottom line? We love AHG! For those who don't or aren't interested? No harm done. Back to your regular programming.