Maine’s first faith based scouting alternative for girls finds a home in Ellsworth
By Deb Wagner, Christian Civic League
Finally, there is a faith based alternative to the Girl Scouts of Maine. Since last fall, the first chartered troop of American Heritage Girls in Maine (AHG ME 1571) has met twice a month at the Elks Lodge in Ellsworth.
In addition, there is momentum to create more troops in Maine. Ruth Moore, AHG’s ME 1571 Troop Coordinator, is working with other women to form additional troops in Orono and Augusta.
American Heritage Girls (AHG) emphasizes charity work and community service in addition to developing the skills girls need to be Godly women, mothers, and leaders in their communities. Plus there are the usual fun scouting activities like camping, crafts, outings, and even selling cookies.
“The major difference between the two scouting organizations is God. God is ever-present in AHG,” said Ruth Moore. “Every meeting we raise our hands in unison and promise to Love God, Cherish Our Families, Honor Our Country, and Serve in Our Communities.”
Recently, AHG Troop 1571 chose their individual HUGS (compassion) projects. They include:
- Making HUGS duffel bags for children who are taken into emergency foster care and must leave their possessions behind.
- Making HUGS duffel bags for local children who must undergo pediatric oncology treatments.
- Holding a benefit dinner to purchase items for the Mary Dow Cancer Treatment Center (Ellsworth) for children undergoing chemotherapy.
- Providing materials to a Chinchilla Rescue and a local animal shelter.
- Repeating and expanding their efforts from last year to make sure that every senior citizen in the Hancock County Nursing Homes has a Christmas Card and a sugar free candy bag or handmade gift.
- Creating 3-Day Emergency boxes for families and pets who lose their possessions in fires or other catastrophes.
The troop’s cookie business plan has already been approved by a banker and AHG. They will launch their cookie drive in April and will sell five varieties (Shortbreads, Mints, Peanut Butter, Caramel-Coconut, and Gluten Free Chocolate chip).
Unlike the Girls Scouts of Maine, this Troop will keep 100% of the cookie sale profits.
As a 4th generation Girl Scout, Ruth’s knowledge of scouting runs deep in her family. Her Great Grandmother, Gertrude Delaney Potts, was one of the first Girl Scouts in Massachusetts.
Gertrude wrote about this experience in her journal: “We bring this opportunity to the Girls, to teach them how to become leaders of integrity. They will become women of virtue who uphold the best in their womanhood and strive to make the world a better place. Scouting is a tradition that I am proud to instill in my family.”
Ruth is determined to carry this tradition of scouting with integrity forward. She is “honored” to continue Gertrude’s legacy by bringing the American Heritage Girls to Maine. Since December, they have recruited other leaders and girls from Girl Scouts of Maine and attracted girls from Orono, Waterville, and Augusta.
“It truly is humbling to see how God’s plan has unfolded,” said Ruth.
So why did a 4th generation Girl Scout leave the organization?
Ruth led Girl Scout Troop #1571 for two years in the Ellsworth area. Before that they were Juliette Girl Scouts, a multi-age troop of girls with physical limitations or disabilities. At a training session for volunteers, The Girls Scouts of Maine pressured the leaders to break into five smaller troops according to age.
As the volunteers made the 1 ½ hour drive home, they discussed their concerns about the Girls Scouts particularly, “the move away from faith, association with Planned Parenthood, the fundraising and pension debacle of Girl Scouts in the United States, and the way the organization was undermining familial authority and encouraging girls to explore their sexuality at pre-puberty ages.”
Unanimously, they decided that night to pray and see what God wanted for the adults and the girls. The answer came the very next day when a parent informed Ruth about faith based scouting alternatives. That afternoon, Ruth made an “inspired” call to the American Heritage Girls office and “poured out” her soul to the troop specialist.
After completing the paperwork, they became the first chartered troop of American Heritage Girls in Maine (AHG ME 1571) in December.
Ruth is especially encouraged by the other women who are stepping up to form new AHG troops in Maine. She asks for prayer for these troops and for hers as they continue to grow.
“We have a desire to create AHG Troops throughout the state to slowly pull the lost Girl Scouts and girls who want to do scouting but not with Girl Scouts. As a mom and a Troop Coordinator, I have to say that we are completely blessed by God to have this opportunity,” said Ruth.
AHG ME 1571 is looking to partner with other faith based organizations. Ruth also hopes to have leaders of faith based organizations talk to her girls. “We would love to meet you,” she said.
For more information, contact Ruth at firstname.lastname@example.org or (207) 546-1405.