- - Sunday, November 13, 2011

Culture challenge of the week: When girls need friends

My column last week warned parents to be wary of the Girl Scouts. The Scouts’ original mission has been corrupted by leftist ideas and its trajectory hijacked by pro-abortion, pro-homosexual politics.

As recently as last week, I received more information of continuing relationships between Planned Parenthood programs and Girl Scout troops.

Some parents desperately wish it weren’t so.

As the Scouts’ Anniversary Convention winds up, Girl Scouts past and present feel torn. Many remember and long for the Scouts of old - the character-driven vision of young womanhood rather than today’s advocacy-driven picture of liberal activists.

Mothers want to trust the Girl Scouts - an organization that nurtured great friendships, practical skills and leadership qualities in their own lives. I wanted to trust them when my own daughter was a Brownie. But as she prepared to graduate into the next level of Girl Scouting, I became aware of the creeping pro-abortion and pro-lesbianism stances the Girls Scouts were adopting. So I pulled her from the program - and that was more than a decade ago.

Today, the transformation of the Girl Scouts from a program that instills virtuous qualities in the hearts of our girls into an indoctrination program for radical feminist ideology seems complete.

Welcome to Girl Scouts gone wild.

As current and former Girl Scouts document the Scouts’ ongoing partnerships with groups that undercut traditional morality, parents wonder, “What’s our alternative?”

How to save your family: Join American Heritage Girls

Parents do have an excellent alternative for their daughters: the American Heritage Girls (AHG). I’ve heard only excitement and deep satisfaction from parents whose daughters have exchanged the Girl Scout sash for the red, white and blue of the American Heritage Girls.

The numbers tell the story too. In 16 short years, the American Heritage Girls has become the fastest-growing all-girl scouting organization. According to the group, membership spiked by 50 percent last year, and now stands at 15,000 members in 42 states and four countries.

So what makes American Heritage Girls different? Three things: faith, principles and partners.

First, faith. The organization embraces faith as the cornerstone of a young woman’s life. (Troops can be chartered by a variety of organizations, churches, schools or nonprofits.) Its oath begins with this sentence: “I promise to love God ….” To the AHG, God is a real person.

In contrast, the Girl Scout promise begins, “On my honor, I will try to serve God …,” but qualifies that: “The word ‘God’ can be interpreted in a number of ways, depending on one’s spiritual beliefs. When reciting the Girl Scout Promise, it is okay to replace the word ‘God’ with whatever word your spiritual beliefs dictate.” God is reduced to a generic motivational tool.

AHG sees itself simply as a “Christ-centered leadership and character development ministry,” which stands in sharp contrast to the Girl Scouts’ focus on preparing girls for “a new world order of globalization.”

Instead of the Girl Scouts’ politically correct gobbledygook, the American Heritage Girls sees its mission as “building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country.”

Second, principles. AHG takes a stand for the traditional values most families embrace: Its principles emphasize integrity, service, stewardship and - are you ready for this? - purity. When was the last time you heard the Girl Scouts encourage girls to be sexually pure? They’ve been too busy holding hands with the sex educators, pill-pushers and feminists.

Third, partners. The AHG walks in the company of good friends. In 2009, AHG and the Boy Scouts of America created a partnership - the first alliance between the Boy Scouts and any young women’s organization. As a practical matter, this means sponsoring churches or schools can offer an appealing combination to families - aligned programs for both boys and girls.

Finally, on a practical level, American Heritage Girls delivers on fun and friendship. Like the Girl Scouts in better times, the AHG troops meet for fun, service projects and leadership-building activities. The girls can pursue more than 240 age-appropriate badges and outdoor activities.

Parents, I urge you to pray - and then act. There is a better choice for your daughters: Check out the American Heritage Girls.

Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at rebecca@howtosaveyourfamily.com.

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