The American Heritage Girls is an organization that teaches girls aged 5-17 about faith, service and fun. The girls learn through the use of service projects and serving the community.

CRESTVIEW — Most people have heard of the Girl Scouts, but not many have heard of the American Heritage Girls (AHG).

AHG is a Christ-centered organization that was founded in 1995 by a group of parents who wanted a faith-based, scout-type character development program for their daughters. The organization’s mission is to “build women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country.”

The organization is open to girls aged 5-17. Unlike the Girl Scouts, AHG keeps all of the girls together instead of separating them by age. The Crestview-based troop meets at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church twice a month.

“We really try to emphasize leadership, along with the organization’s motto of 'Faith, service and fun,'” said Kelly Mayor, the troop’s vice-coordinator.

Mayor said the faith aspect of the group is emphasized through prayer during meetings, attending the March for Life and participating in the National Day of Prayer.

The group teaches the girls valuable lessons through outdoor skills and participating in different service projects. A lot of the troop’s projects happen at Crescent Park Village, an assisted living facility.

The girls go throughout the year to the facility for bingo, to sing Christmas carols and hand out gifts and to have tea parties with the residents.

“The girls spend time sitting with them or talking to them to cheer them up,” Mayor said. “It teaches them to be involved in the community and welcoming of other people.”

The troop also has a day of service where they will help someone who is a member of the church with chores and yard work.

The fun aspect of the organization comes not only throughout the different service projects, but also when the group goes on camping trips or goes hiking.

According to Mayor, the group doesn’t just teach faith, service and fun. It also keeps the girls from getting into any kind of trouble and teaches them how to make friends and be good, honest adults.

“We try to show them that it is important to always be kind,” Mayor said. “I think it’s really important because there is so much bullying and peer pressure so I think it’s important that they have an outlet that teaches them about being nice.”