Two words that seem to have fueled the world’s understanding of women in culture in recent decades. Female empowerment is, at its core, about helping girls and women recognize their worth. Seems innocent enough, right? If only it were so simple. It’s apparent that Christian mothers and girls today are at a crossroads. How can girls and women claim to advocate for “Girl Power” when the feminist movement in America is tied to so many activities and beliefs that directly oppose Christian values? Embracing the concepts behind “Girl Power” as a Christian must be impossible, you say? It doesn’t have to be. Why?
“Girl Power” on its own is a flawed movement. It places all its meaning in the human understanding of man and woman, embracing concepts of cultural feminism as the sole source of worth. But we know as Christians that humankind’s purpose doesn’t come from Earthly sources—it’s of God. Just as worth does not come from intelligence, appearance or wealth, nor does it come from the idea of feminine validation.
As you ponder the seemingly stark paradox that girls today are challenged with in embracing the cultural understandings of “Girl Power” while accepting to submit to an Almighty God, take pause. Is God’s power in all things—even “Girl Power”? Yes. Together, girls and their trusted adult leaders can learn that embracing female empowerment doesn’t necessarily need to live in a place of entitlement, but rather, in a light of grace from the Lord. Raising girls in an environment of strong faith and wide-spanning opportunity will grow them into confident women of integrity. The mission of American Heritage Girls is to do just that.
Recognizing Her Worth in Christ
It is the prayer of the American Heritage Girls Ministry that girls understand both who they are and whose they are. Through Progressive Programming tailored to the age and ability of the child, AHG Troop Members are given the opportunity to discover their gifts and talents, allowing them to grow in their confidence and self-esteem. In a word, Girl Members are given a chance to find their worth. In a world that places so much of a girl’s self-worth in the way others perceive her, AHG strives to teach girls that they are already blessed with value beyond measure in the eyes of the Heavenly Father.
The full value and strength of a woman is only understood through the lens of Christ. As with any question, one can turn to His word for clarity and guidance toward understanding. Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians:
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”
– Ephesians 3:16-19, NIV
“Girl Power” comes not simply from gender or cultural validation, but through Christ’s desire for all people in the Kingdom, and the immense responsibility that we, as Christians, male or female, must reflect such a profound love as His. A girl’s mission in life not only includes the many accomplishments she’s sure to achieve, but also the great joy in offering up her life’s success in praise to God. What a calling!
Godly Girl Programming by Christian Women
American Heritage Girls has been, is, and always will be a program solely for girls. Born in 1995 out of a desire to provide a Christ-filled environment for girls to develop into godly women, American Heritage Girls equips girls with a space made specifically for them, with their physical, mental, social, spiritual and emotional needs in mind. By participating in programs created around their specific needs in a space where they are the sole focus, Girl Members are able to thrive. Just as girls-only schools are found to improve the quality of girl performance, both academically and socially, girl-centric programming like AHG gives girls the opportunity to grow in a healthy and sustainable way.
It should be mentioned that in this world so desperately in need of Jesus and His mercies, boys are equally as important in the spiritual battle at hand. To some, AHG’s intriguing tagline “Faith, Service, Fun” seems genderless. In fairness, that baseline understanding of the Program is, in fact, all-encompassing! Teaching the importance of faith, service and fun through wholesome activity is important in today’s culture! Of course, AHG is focused on achieving this goal while creating a woman of integrity through hyper-specific girl-focused programming! That girls are able to thrive in girls-only environments not because boys are inherently bad, of course, but because it teaches girls to rely on and trust in the female community. In response to the call for boys-only programming, Trail Life USA was founded in 2013.
Finding Her Strengths in the Great Outdoors
In the spirit of understanding what empowers girls, the American Heritage Girls Program provides a well-balanced list of approved activities and a list of badge opportunities. The incredibly inclusive list of badges ranges from mastering confectionary perfection in earning a Cake Decorating Badge to bravely and expertly scaling a cliff while earning the Climb On! Badge.
A core tenet of the AHG 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 some One, 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.
Proclaiming God’s Power in Feeling Girl Power
An American Heritage Girl is honoring, relational, anchored, and competent; she is a woman of integrity. When a girl is wholesomely fostered and encouraged in the light of Christ, she is truly unstoppable. She recognizes the great power she has through the gifting of the Holy Spirit and in praying over the plan God has for her. She has real “Girl Power” because really, it’s deeper than that. It’s God’s Power.
Listen to the Raising Godly Girls Minute with Patti Garibay: