Thursday, August 28, 2014

AHG Girl Blogger is off to College - Lessons learned from AHG

From Sarah Peterson:

Dear Friends, 

This is the month that I have been dreading and looking forward to the most for the past year. In the span of three weeks I will say goodbye to my best friends as they head off to college and say hello to my new roomies and friends at the University of Northwestern. I am beyond excited but nervous as well. How did I get here today...well a lot of things, but American Heritage Girls is something that I owe a lot to.

Ten years ago mom started our AHG in our home town. Ever since the beginning I have been one of the first ones in the building before every meeting and event and the last one out after everything has been cleaned up. Has it always been fun? No. Has it been easy? No. Has it been worth it? Absolutely.

One of the words in our creed is perseverance. Ten years ago I started as an AHG member. Since then my life has not gotten any less busy. In fact, in the past two years especially, it has gotten even more hectic than I thought it would. But I stayed in AHG and I persevered. There were times that I didn't want to. My Junior and Senior years of high school I was tempted to quit AHG because I had added on being a volleyball manager, plays, basketball, choir, work and college classes. I was very busy and sometimes I really didn't feel like going to AHG meetings.

But I'm so glad I did.

In ten years God has used AHG to really shape who I am today. I want to encourage those who are thinking of starting AHG: do it. I want to challenge those that are thinking of quitting: don't. And I want to tell you why.

#1 AHG is a program that has helped me step out of my shell. I was really shy. Like, painfully shy. I hardly talked to anyone and I would NEVER start a conversation on my own. AHG forced me to talk. Literally. At meeting I would have to answer questions, read Bible verses, give badge presentations, lead songs and games and make conversation with the other girls. 
My AHG tip: If you want to get a lot out of AHG, force yourself to step out of your box. You will NEVER accomplish anything while you are comfortable.

#2 AHG is a program that gave me so many amazing opportunities. Not only did I work on badges that I normally would not have (like outdoor cooking, archery and kitchen scientist) but I also got to tour a theatre (which was where my passion for theatre probably started!), be a Junior Leader at camp (where I had to be an example for the younger girls while showing them that you can honor God, do badge work, give devotionals to the troop and honor your country while still having fun! P.S. Our group won the Spirit award that week ;) ), plan many tea parties, father/daughter dances and spa nights (which was where I learned budgeting, planning skills, how to work in a group and prioritizing), and I even got to march in parades and honor our veterans by putting flags on their graves during Memorial Day.
My AHG tip: If you want to get a lot out of AHG, grab a hold of the opportunities that God brings your way. Don't look back on them with regrets.

#3 AHG is a program that has showed me what a servant leader truly is. I was a "Leader's Daughter" from the very beginning. But that didn't mean I got any perks. In fact, it probably meant that I had to work harder. My mom and I were always the first ones in the building setting up the rooms and making sure everyone was ready and the last ones out of every meeting making sure all the girls found their parents and had a ride home. There were many, MANY late nights. It wasn't always fun. Sometimes I didn't want to do it. But you know what? I feel like I

learned initiative and how to truly be a leader. Christ didn't come to be served, but to serve. To truly be a godly leader you have to get your hands dirty. You can't just sit on the sidelines and boss others around. Christ didn't. So we should follow His example and not just sit there either. We need to get off our seat and take the first step.
My AHG tip: To get a lot out of AHG, do things first. Don't always wait to be asked to do things. Be a leader by showing others how it's done. 

#4 AHG is a program that let me use my talents. I love writing. Because of that I have written skits for Tea Parties, End of the Year Programs and other things. I have also used my learned leadership skills in a lot of ways. I have also used my love for planning things. Through AHG I have honed my gifts and developed new ones. I have learned what I like to do, what I don't like to do, what I'm good at and what I need to work on. 
My AHG tip: To get a lot out of AHG, learn what you love to do and use it. Don't hide your talents away. Take them and use them for the good of others. You will bless others and you yourself will be blessed if you do.

#5 AHG is a program that I have learned to honor God in all that I do. Setting up chairs and tables isn't glamorous. But you can honor God doing it. Washing dishes after AHG camp isn't fun. But you can show a good attitude while doing it. Having to put on a genuine smile for the girls at AHG after a really long day is hard. But you can learn to think of others first by doing it.
My AHG tip: To get a lot out of AHG, learn to honor God through all that you do and He will send you blessings in ways you never imagined.

Don't get me wrong, I was so glad I was in AHG. But I want you all to know that it isn't all fun and games. Sure, when you are younger it kind of is. But as you get older and stay in the troop longer you get more responsibility. But the thing is, looking back I see some of the best times of my life. I learned so much, I made amazing friendships, I grew closer to God and I had the time of my life!

Know that being in and getting the most out of AHG isn't easy. But really, nothing in life that matters is.  

AHG is a program that I will have my daughters in someday. I want them to experience what I did. I want them to learn to be leaders and to step out of their comfort zones. I want them to know the Creed and Oath by heart and not just know them, but practice them. I want them to have the opportunities that I have had. I want them to know that they are a daughter of the King, they are loved, they are beautiful and God can use them if they are willing. Please, put your daughters in AHG. And challenge them to stick with it. You, and your daughters, won't regret it;

even while you're taking down tables after a Tea Party :)

Dearest Sarah, know that our prayers are with you as you counter the culture one person at a time.  Praying for God's hedge of protection and amazing strength to share Him always!

Until Next Time,


cynthia2156 said...

Lovely! Have a great time in college and shine for Him!

Unknown said...

Thank you! I just recently learned of AHG & have been prayerfully considering having my 6 year old daughter, Sarah :-) join. This article is just what I needed & is an answer to my prayers! May God bless you & the entire AHG family!

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