By: Patriot, Ava, OK8601
A little more than a year ago, I joined American Heritage Girls. I was only one of two Patriots, in our Troop, and I was entirely clueless. I didn’t understand what badge requirements I was supposed to do, or even where to put the badges on my sash. Little did I know, AHG would become one of the most impactful things I have ever had the opportunity to be a part of.
Leadership, I believe, is one of the core things that keeps me faithfully in the AHG program. Most girls, like myself, never really had the experience to lead something by themselves and have the repercussions, both good and bad, in an very welcoming environment. Don’t get me wrong, I love every aspect of AHG; the badges, the awards, the friendships I’ve made, are all fantastic, but the feeling of being relevant in something, has been what has directly impacted me the most.
Last October, I did my Dolley Madison project. It was a three day Emergency Preparedness/Survival, Search and Rescue badge weekend, that included CPR, Self Defense, and Map and Compass work. Nearly 50 people came to participate. It was a massive undertaking, on both my part and all of the leaders, fellow Pi/Pas, and especially my family, who helped carry out the event. I spent at least the entire month prior meticulously working out every kink, and trying to foreshadow any possible problems that could arise.
At the time I am writing this, I finished my final Board of Review for this level award, last night. It’s an incredible, yet terrifying experience, since I am the only one in my troop, who has completed it. Trailblazing has its up and downs, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It keeps me going. I want to set an example and motivate every girl currently in my Troop, from Pathfinders to Patriots, that they can do it, too. That it’s not impossible, if they want to achieve it. I know I have a long way to go in accomplishing this, but every single day for me is a new learning experience and an opportunity to grow.
My outlook on AHG changed completely after I discovered myself through this project, and through it, became more confident with leading others. I started seeing more opportunities, but most importantly, I learned to become a leader.
To every girl reading this, whether you are in first grade, or ninth, I encourage you to persevere and complete the Dolley Madison or Stars and Stripes. I can’t promise you it’ll be easy, but most things that are meaningful are worth the extra time. If you do, remember to stay compassionate and kind even when things get tough. Remember to be grateful, and ask for help when needed. And when you’ve are all finished, standing in front of your family, friends, and Troop members, remember to give all the glory to God, who was right beside you, cheering you along, the entire time.
Check out Ava’s own Blog here!