LOPEZ: You’re getting attention for being the leading alternative to the Girl Scouts. But does that, in a way, do you a disservice, making you the Samoa-less girls?
GARIBAY: Yes, I believe it does. American Heritage Girls is an eternally influential program that is multifaceted and unique in its delivery. It comes alongside parents and churches, offering a tool that encourages girls to serve, lead, and build friendships while being mentored by faith-filled adult leaders in a safe and fun environment.
LOPEZ: You recently wrote that “Girls love service.” Explain.
GARIBAY: When I have the privilege of visiting girls across the U.S., they are very excited to show me their service stars sewn on their vests or sashes. Those stars tell a very important story — that this girl loves her neighbor as herself and knows that through serving she is fulfilling one of God’s great commandments.
LOPEZ: What service projects of late make you grateful you founded American Heritage Girls?
GARIBAY: I am amazed that God uses AHG in such profound ways. Girls have identified needs in their community, their churches, and even the world. One girl in San Antonio identified the need for her local food bank to have a loading dock to make emptying a truck of donations quicker, so they could get to the hungry while the goods were still fresh. She built that loading dock as her service project for her Stars and Stripes. Another girl thought it was sad that her Christian high school did not have a pro-life club, so she started one. Another found that budget cuts to her public-school district prevented junior-high kids from experiencing music until high school. She started music clinics to encourage the kids to consider band in high school. AHG girls have a “can do” attitude, and it’s not because of “girl power.” It is because of the power of God in their lives.
LOPEZ: Why is God such an important part of your identity?
GARIBAY: AHG was founded due to the Girl Scouts’ change to its Promise in 1993, allowing girls to replace the word “God” with whatever their beliefs were, including no belief in God at all. The parents around the kitchen table at the founding of AHG felt it integral that God was the foundation for the new character- and leadership-development program for girls.
LOPEZ: Faith and family isn’t what it used to be in American culture. Won’t you have to change at some point?
GARIBAY: AHG is a private organization that partners with churches and private schools that agree with its principles. It is funded by those who believe in its mission and the families who enjoy its benefits.