Parent Information

Parent Information Sheet

2015-2016

 

Hello Parents!  For those of you just joining us, welcome! And to those returning, we’re so glad to see you back again for another fun and exciting year of American Heritage Girls!

 

For those not familiar, AHG was founded in 1995 and recently celebrated its 20th Anniversary, boasting almost 1000 troops in 49 states.  AHG was founded as an alternative scouting and character-building organization rooted in faith and love of God.

 

We are Troop KS3130.  KS is for Kansas and 3130 is the number we chose when we formed our troop, taken from Proverbs 31:30:

“Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

 

 

Charter

We are still a fairly new troop, this marking the beginning of our 3rd year at Ascension.  We are still experiencing many growing pains but are learning from everything we do and we truly are striving to make every year exciting and special and most of all a valuable experience for your girls and your families.

 

Church of the Ascension is our Charter Organization, meaning they partner with our troop for anything we might need – resources, recruitment, conflict resolution oversight, etc.  Our pastor, Monsignor Tom Tank, is the biggest supporter and champion of our troop and was instrumental in bringing AHG to our parish.  Our Charter Representative is Dawnlee Maurer, the Parish Life Coordinator in the parish office.  Dawnlee sits on the Troop Board and provides us with any support we may need from the parish. 

 

Levels/Program Emphasis

There are 5 levels of membership in AHG.  Each girl automatically progresses as she ages:

  • Pathfinder (Kindergarten/Age 5)
  • Tenderheart (Grades 1-3)
  • Explorer (Grades 4-6)
  • Pioneer (Grades 7-8)
  • Patriot (Grades 9-12)

 

American Heritage Girls provides six program emphases to assist each troop in building our girls into women of integrity:

  • Life Skill Enhancement (primarily through badge work in the areas of Heritage, Family Living, Arts, Outdoor Skills, Personal Well-Being, and Science & Technology)
  • Developing Team Work and Building Confidence
  • Social Development
  • Girl Leadership
  • Character Development
  • Spiritual Development

 

These are achieved at meetings, on field trips, through service projects, while camping, and during prayer.

 

Meetings

Our meetings are held once per month, the 2nd Thursday.  Each meeting will always begin with flag ceremony and prayer.  We do ask that you plan to arrive at 6:15 p.m.  We have pre-meeting activities for the girls to work on, plus this ensures everyone is there and ready when we begin the meeting promptly at 6:30 p.m.  We have lots to accomplish every meeting and we want to get everyone out at a decent time, so we are very appreciative of your promptness. 

 

This year we will also be celebrating Loyalty and Responsibility (part of the AHG Creed) by rewarding attendance at our activities.  At each meeting the girls who are present will each receive an entry into a drawing for a prize at the end of the meeting.  The girls can also earn additional entries for having attended service events, field trips and other activities planned by the troop.  And twice each year we will have an additional drawing for a larger prize (to be determined).  I’m sure this will create a lot of fun and excitement for our girls!

 

Badges

We will be earning four badges this year to promote Life Skill Enhancement:  Toys & Games (Family Living), Our Flag (Heritage), Music Performance (Arts) and Book Adventurer (Personal Well-Being).  Most of the work on these badges will be completed during our meetings, however from time-to-time, especially for the Explorers, there may be a bring home “assignment” or two to complete and bring back.  While we do ask that you take the “homework” seriously, we also want you to know the work should be fun and not bog you down!  Our field trips tie into the badges we are working on, and in some cases (the Library tour) actually help to earn the badge.

 

Service

As the Mission and Oath of AHG state, a key component of being an American Heritage Girl is to serve our community.  Tenderhearts are asked to serve 5 hours per year, Explorers 10.  The opportunities our troop offers will allow the Tenderhearts to achieve above and beyond their hours, and the Explorers to achieve most.  This year we will be helping pass out food to the needy through Catholic Charities, cheer up those in nursing homes/homebound with Christmas Carols, serve breakfast at the Hope Faith center, and walk and raise money for the preborn though Advice & Aid Pregnancy Center’s annual Walk for Life.

 

We encourage our girls to serve outside of the troop as well, and if they do, to fill out one of our service hours forms and turn it in to our Shepherd, Kate McKeag. At the first meeting we will hand out an idea sheet of service girls can perform for various ages.  We love to recognize our girls who go above and beyond in helping others and serving our community!

 

Religious Awards & Programs

We also provide opportunities for the girls to earn Catholic-based scouting awards and patches.  Our 2nd & 3rd graders may participate in earning the Family of God award and 4th – 6th may earn the I Live My Faith award.  The Marian Medal (Mary, the First Disciple) is also available for grades 7-10.  There is also a series of patches about Women in Scripture and Models of Faith for the girls to earn.  Last year as a troop we earned the St. Kateri Tekakwitha patch, and this year we plan to earn the Bl. Mother Teresa patch.

 

Pathfinders (Kindergarten/5 year old)

The Pathfinder program runs a bit differently from the rest of the troop.  The girls still attend all meetings and most activities, however instead of earning badges they will learn about the AHG Oath, Creed, Program Emphases and learn some Bible verses, and earn beads for their necklace along the way by doing so.  It’s a wonderful way to introduce the girls (and their families) to AHG and get them excited to become Tenderhearts the next year.

 

Dues

The dues to join our troop are currently $45 for the Tenderheart level and up.  This covers the $26 National AHG registration fee we owe for each girl, as well as a nominal fee to cover the cost of the badges and some supplies.  Uniforms are purchased separately.  Our intention is to fundraise the remainder of the dollars needed for our troop to carry out our activities during the year.  There will be a buyout option available for those who choose not to fundraise, however fundraising is a fantastic way to raise awareness of AHG and inform others of our troop and what we stand for, so we highly encourage everyone to at least try!  Any funds that a girl raises above and beyond her required amount will be earmarked as designated funds for her to attend Camp Americana in 2016.  If the girl chooses not to attend camp that year the excess funds will be returned back to the troop at large.

 

For Pathfinders (Kindergarten), the dues are $60.  This covers the National Registration fee of $26 mentioned above as well as the full cost of their t-shirt, workbook, necklace kit and other supplies (no additional uniform purchase necessary except for a navy skirt or pants). Pathfinders are not required to participate in fundraising, however they may if they wish to contribute to helping the troop cover costs for the year, plus any funds they raise in excess of the per girl amount will also be earmarked for her camp expenses.

 

Troop Policy & Guidelines

One of the other set of materials you are receiving today is a copy of the Troop Policy & Guidelines.  Please take the time to read through this handbook to understand policies and procedures both from National AHG offices and from the Church of the Ascension.  The last page of the document is a form to sign stating you’ve read the document and agree to support the troop its mission.  Please be sure to turn this form in along with the Health Form and your dues.

 

Registration

To make it easy on you, below are the steps that must be completed to fully register your daughter in AHG:

  1. Register online by clicking on the "Request to Join this Troop" button on our Home page.  Or you may send an email to ahg.troopks3130@gmail.com  with your name and email and I will send you an invitation to join.
  2. Pay the dues of $45 to the troop.  When you register online you will not make any form of payment online at that time.  All payments must be filtered through the troop.  The amount for the 2015-2016 year is $45 per girl (if you have 3 or more sisters to join, please see the Troop Coordinator).  Cash and checks made payable to AHG KS3130 are accepted.
  3. Complete the Girl Health & Medical History Form (provided today) and turn it in to the troop.
  4. Choose your Parent Volunteer spot for the 2015-2016 year.
  5. Sign the signature page of the Troop Handbook (provided today) and turn it in.

 

All forms and payment can be turned in at our first meeting on September 10th to Thu Johnson, our Vice-Coordinator.  Please be sure you have registered online before turning any other paperwork in.  If you’re still unsure if AHG is right for your daughter and your family you may certainly attend without registering.  However you must stay at the meeting with your daughter and we do have a cap of one “visit” per family.  Registrations for the current year must be completed before September 30th.

 

{Here is a helpful tip:  to attend camp and participate in activities such as horseback riding and canoeing girls must have an AHG High Adventure Form completed and signed by a physician.  We don’t need this for regular troop activities but this will be needed in these cases.  So before your daughter’s next well-child appointment have this form ready and have your doctor sign off at the appointment.  That way you have the form ready whenever you need it!  Also be sure to complete one for yourself – adults have to have theirs complete as well to participate!  Forms are only good within AHG for 1 year from the signed date.}

 

Uniforms

If you are new to AHG or your daughter has moved up to the next level you will also need to purchase a uniform for your daughter.  You can purchase one yourself at http://store.americanheritagegirls.org/ or you may participate in our bulk order to be placed the Friday after our first meeting on September 10th.  We will have order forms at the meeting and payment will be taken at that time (check or cash only).  If you are transferring from another AHG troop and your daughter is remaining in same level you will only need to purchase new numbers (3130) to replace your old troop numbers.  The costs are broken down below (all amounts are before taxes and shipping costs):

  • Brand new to AHG Tenderheart (grades 1-3) or Explorer (grades 4-6)
    • Option 1 Full package
      • Vest, neckerchief, AHG logo polo, Girl Handbook and starting insignia (flag, troop #s, etc.), badge magic starter set  -- $58
    • Option 2
      • Vest & neckerchief, starting insignia (flag, troop #s, etc.) -- $26 (girls can wear plain white polos rather than purchasing the AHG polo)
      • Girl Handbook -- $18
      • Total $44
  • New Numbers (for troop transfers with no change in level) -- $2

 

These are called “Class A” uniforms and are required to be worn at all meetings and events, unless otherwise noted.  In addition to the vest, neckerchief and polo, Pathfinders and Tenderhearts wear a navy skirt or pants, Explorers a khaki skirt or pants.  Leaders or any parent wanting one may also purchase a red or navy blue short-sleeve AHG Logo polo at this time.  Adult short-sleeve polos are $26.  We encourage girls who attend Ascension Catholic School to wear their vests over their regular school uniform on school days where we have meetings that night!

 

Communication

Our primary form of communication is through email.  We typically send out weekly email blasts with everything you need to know about what is going on with the troop right now – upcoming events, forms that need to be turned in, volunteer opportunities, etc.  We also hope to start a newsletter this year to communicate additional information and opportunities.  Please regularly check your email and read these as they contain all the information you will need to know.  If this will be an issue for you please talk to the Troop Coordinator. 

 

Volunteer Opportunities

AHG is a family-centered and family-driven organization.  The Troop Board (Coordinator, Vice-Coordinator, Shepherd and Treasurer) along with the Unit Leaders do the majority of the planning and organization for the year, but we absolutely cannot carry it out without the help of our families.  We expect our families to be very supportive of our troop, not only by providing transportation for your daughter to and from meetings and activities, but also by helping in other various areas of ministry.  The Board and Unit Leaders already put countless hours of planning and execution into the business of the troop, and so we ask our parents to fill one volunteer role during the year to take some of the burden off of them.  You must choose the volunteer position you wish to fill before your daughter’s registration is considered complete on September 30th. 

 

Attached is a list of volunteer spots available.  Some require attendance at meetings, some can be done anywhere, anytime within a certain time frame.  Certain roles, due to the nature of involvement with the girls, finances, or the organization as a whole, require full Adult Membership in our troop.  This includes registering yourself, allowing AHG to perform a background check, paying the  $26 registration fee (can be completed online) and completing KEYS to Child Safety training.  We also ask that all involved parents be Virtus trained.  (For more information visit the Archdiocese website at www.archkck.org).  You may sign up for a particular spot tonight at this Parent Meeting on the Master signup sheet here, or you may go online to our Volunteer Sign Up sheet at http://bit.ly/1IgXasW

 

Please spend some time in prayer before making any decisions, and consider what talents and charisms you possess that may assist our girls in growing into women of integrity.  We know how busy everyone is, so your support and dedication to your daughter and her troop is not only imperative to achieving our goals but is also very much appreciated. 

 

Regardless of what you volunteer to help with, parents are always welcome to stay at our meetings to observe and participate with their daughters.  The girls love having mom and/or dad (especially dads!!) around to help and share in what they are learning!

 

If you ever have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us.  We are here to help, listen, guide, and lead.  We appreciate all feedback and constructive criticism for the good of the troop.  We want to assist you in any way we can to ensure your daughter and your family have a rewarding experience with Troop KS3130.

 

We are so excited to get out current year underway, and we hope you and your daughter will be a part of it! 

 

In Christ,

Troop KS3130 Board

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