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American Heritage Girls expands to Sugar Grove

Organization has seen rapid growth in county recently

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

SUGAR GROVE – A Christ-centered character development organization for girls recently added a new charter in Sugar Grove.

An American Heritage Girls branch was formed in the area over the summer, and leaders are recruiting girls ages 5 to 18 to join, said Julie Goodwin, who lives in Batavia and serves as chairwoman of the National Catholic Committee.

She said American Heritage Girls is a lot like Scouting. Girls go on camping trips and learn life skills and peer mentoring, and they can earn up to 80 badges in each of the three age levels. American Heritage Girls can participate in events such as a daddy-daughter game night and a mother-daughter tea.

About 20 organizations are active in Illinois, including those in Warrenville, Batavia, Naperville and Sugar Grove. Goodwin said the organization has grown in the area, which prompted leaders to pinpoint other areas where girls were underserved.

Goodwin said the Batavia charter started five years ago with 37 members, which swelled to more than 80 members last year. Some members were traveling 20 to 30 minutes from the Sugar Grove area to attend meetings and events, so leaders “felt called to start a troop out there.”

The Sugar Grove branch is chartered by St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church.

“Pretty much anyone who hears about the program is like, ‘Yes we want this at our church,’ ” she said, adding that Sugar Grove’s charter is still in the recruiting process.

The organization hosts six to eight service projects each year. Goodwin said the largest service project benefits Court Appointed Special Advocates, known as CASA Kane County for Children.

She said members of American Heritage Girls make fleece blankets and donate them to the organization along with a new stuffed animal or children’s book.

“American Heritage Girls asks that we do about three service projects a year, and we end up doing six to eight. That’s pretty typical,” Goodwin said. “The service projects are good. It helps girls put legs on their faith.”

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