Now, the Girl Scouts have a competitor called American Heritage Girls. This organization began in 1995 with a Cincinnati-area woman and her friends who were not happy that the Girl Scouts had allowed the word God to be substituted with another option in the Girl Scout Promise. This group started with 100 girls in Ohio, and now they have more than 18,000 members in 45 states and six countries. In the St. Louis area alone, nine groups with a total of 357 girls meet regularly. The founder Patti Garibay had been a longtime Girl Scout leader, but she said she wanted a choice. She said, " We are faith-based, and [the Girl Scouts] are secular. We're not for everybody, but we're obviously for a lot of people. Troops in the St. Louis area typically meet twice a month. They do service projects,such as collecting items for Joplin tornado victims. They work on badges in subjects like auto mechanics and horsemanship, but also on topics such as the Bible and their relationship with God.
The creed for American Heritage Girls requires members to honor God, keep their minds and bodies pure, and to respect the beliefs of others. Even though the group is Christian-based, it is open to girls of other faiths. Their leaders and charter groups must adhere to a statement of faith that asks them to reserve sex until after marriage, which it defines as "a lifelong commitment before God between a man and a woman."
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