Friday, April 12, 2013

Why we choose American heritage girls troop for our daughter

There are many reasons why we choose American Heritage Girls troop for our daughter.

One of the reason is our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
"American Heritage Girls is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country. The organization offers badge programs, service projects, girl leadership opportunities and outdoor experiences to its members."

Another reason is because we wanted a place where Marebear could belong. I did not want just any troop of girls, I wanted her to have true friends. This request can be extremely hard to achieve with all that Marebear faces (she is living with Rett syndrome.  See her page to learn more).

Last week at our meeting I had put together a troop wide event where the girls would go to stations to help them earn their "All God's Children's" badge ( it is a sort of disability awareness badge). At one of the station I spoke of Marion's battle with Rett syndrome and how it has effected her life. I informed the girls how having a friendship with a person like Marebear that cannot speak will be different than a friendship with a person that can speak. I told the girls how much any person, including Marebear, likes to have people look them in the eyes when they talk.  I helped the girls see that Marebear is more like them than she is different than them. I helped the girls to the the commonality.  Most inmportant I showed the girls how each and every one of them is cherished by God and made in his image.  No one person is more important or less important in his eye, and shouldn't be in there eyes either.    Every person has worth!

At the end of the night I was emotionally exhausted. I could not help but ask myself if what I did made any difference.

This last weekend we were set to go to American Heritage Girls Camporee at a local Boy Scout camp for the weekend. Marebear loves to camp, but I was worried about how we were going to manage. I was even more worried when I found out our campsite was the farthest away from all the activities. Marebear can walk, but not for long distances, and not on uneven ground. My hubby and I called the American Heritage Girls coordinator for the camp and the Boy Scout of America (BSA) ranger to see if we could switch with a closer troop. It took some time, but they were able to accommodate our needs. The BSA ranger found us a place to park that was closer to the activities so we would have access to our car should we need it. He also made sure we had access to electricity too. He even got down on one knee looking Marebear in the eyes as he talked to her . He could see she was excited and happy to be there.

At the campout Marebear was so excited. She loved seeing all the girls in her troop. As we were setting up our tent, many of the girls came by and talked to her. They asked her questions, and told her stories. She squealed in delight. That night we had a camp fire and she was so excited she could hardly sleep. The next day she was so tired we had to let her sleep most of the day( to insure she would not have any seizures). Many of the girls came by during the day asking where Marebear was and how she was doing. She ended up sleeping through all the stations, but it was alright, most of the stations were a little advance for her ( compass, backpacking, first aid, ect. ).
I am so thankful for an organization that sees EVERY girl as a value member of society and worthy of love and friendship. I am thankful I can share with the girls how much Christ loves each and everyone of them and how God created them in His own image and that they are perfectly and wonderfully made. This way of thinking is what leads people to value every human being.

I have to say it just warmed my heart to see how much fun she was having with the other girls. They did not see her lack of speech, leg braces, or broken down body, they just saw her as a little girl just like them. I guess the "All God's children badge really did make a difference.

Now Marebear has a bunch of friends, American Heritage Girl friends, that love to walk up to her and talk to her at the meeting and tell her all about their day.  As a mom, I am so excited to see my daughter with true friends!