A core tenet of the American Heritage Girls Program is the outdoor experience. (In fact, AHG is the sole girls-only program that focuses so heavily on outdoor sport and skills trainings.)
The sense of empowerment that girls get through outdoor activities is overwhelming. High Adventure activity programming teaches girls that there are no limits on what they can achieve, despite the common narrative of female meekness. It also teaches girls that their abilities come from somewhere, or more specifically Someone, greater than themselves.
When girls immerse themselves in nature, His creation, the reality of His almighty power and call for each human heart—male or female—becomes clear. Involving girls wholly in nature and testing their skills with a variety of outdoor adventures that challenge and help them grow in confidence is important to building strong, competent young women. With the aid of such programming, God gifts girls with self-awareness and leadership qualities, allowing them to blossom in a healthy and encouraging environment.
Since the founding of AHG in 1995, camping has been a staple of the program and a revered tradition. Not only is summer camp a very fun activity, but it also brings many valuable lessons with it. As parents, we really do want the very best for our kids and pray that they will be happy and successful. Developing healthy habits through physical activity, honing an ability to get along with others, learning the importance of teamwork and collaboration, developing thinking and problem-solving skills, learning self-reliance and developing a good self-concept are all fruits of a camp experience. And, in the case of AHG, adding the Christ-centered mentorship of our leaders and program enhances the spiritual development of each girl.
Peter Scales, a senior fellow with the Search Institute states, “Camp is one of the few institutions where young people can experience and satisfy their need for physical activity, creative expression and true participation in a community environment. Most schools don’t satisfy these needs.”
From a secular viewpoint, camp is an amazing attribute to a girl’s formation but when coupled with a Christ-centered program and loving camp counselors, the impact is even greater. Allowing appointed times at camp for girls to be “alone with God” and to worship Him while enjoying His gift of nature can be life-changing. And when girls make new friends who share their beliefs and can openly talk about them, there is growth socially and spiritually.