Locals see group offering values

FAIRMONT – A faith-based youth organization for girls ages 5-18 will hold an informational meeting Monday in hopes of developing a troop in Fairmont.

American Heritage Girls, originally formed in 1995, has more than 720 troops nationwide and 35,000 members in 48 states.

“What caught us was their overall values,” said Kathleen Lockwood, a local mother of five who has spearheaded the campaign to bring the organization to Fairmont. “Their creed is, ‘Building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country.’ It really lines up with what we are trying to teach our kids.”

As the Lockwoods researched American Heritage Girls, they found the nearest troop was nearly an hour away.

“So to bring one here, the first thing we had to do was find a charter organization to be under, and the Knights of Columbus have been gracious enough to help us,” she said. “Now we’re in the second phase, and that is to hold an informational meeting to make people aware and create some interest.”

The meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Lynelle Lindberg, an American Heritage Girls ministry Expansion leader, will conduct the gathering.

“She helps start new troops,” Lockwood said. “This will help explain things to parents and interested girls, and we will also need volunteers for board members.”

The program is similar to other youth groups, such as the Boy and Girl Scouts.

“They earn patches through service projects,” Lockwood said. “But what really stood out was how they put God first. It falls in line with our families’ beliefs, and we think this will benefit our community, and country, as well.”

Girls who join American Heritage Girls are required to take a creed and oath that stresses being compassionate, helpful, honest, loyal perseverance, pure, resourceful, respectful, responsible and reverent.

“The oath says, ‘I promise to love God, cherish my family, honor my country and serve in my community,'” Lockwood said. “This meeting is the first step to getting girls started and interested in AHG.”

Lockwood said that after Monday’s meeting, board members can be appointed over the summer, with troop activities to begin in the fall.