By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
IOWA CITY — St. Wenceslaus Parish is starting an American Heritage Girls troop. It’s a faith-based organization that offers girls an opportunity to earn badges and enjoy fellowship scouting-style.
St. Wenceslaus is the first Catholic parish in the Diocese of Davenport to form a troop, according to American Heritage Girls’ troop directory.
Vice Troop Coordinator Kim Nuxoll said the troop will go by the number 0928 — the date of St. Wenceslaus’ feast day. “We think parents are looking for faith-filled activities that are also fun! This troop aims to help build women of integrity. It provides opportunities for social, character and spiritual development, leadership training and life skills practice through team work in a supportive and energetic atmosphere.
“The AHG oath says it best: ‘I promise to love God, cherish my family, honor my country, and serve in my community.’”
Youths began signing up in September, and the troop currently has 10 girls signed up. Nuxoll said the troop is open to kindergarten-through-high school girls from all area parishes and all school options. “We have girls from Regina, the public schools and home schools already registered. We are excited to welcome more girls and are also looking for Catholic women who would like to volunteer.”
She said the organization has received great support from the parish, community and Johnson County Right to Life.
Sheryl Schwager, JCRTL’s director, said American Heritage Girls is a positive choice for girls whose parents are uncomfortable enrolling them in Girl Scouts. While the Girl Scouts of America organization states it does not take a stance on issues such as abortion and family planning education, some Catholics believe the organization demonstrates sympathy toward the pro-choice cause.
“JCRTL is very supportive of the efforts to bring American Heritage Girls to St. Wenceslaus,” Schwager said. “The mission of AHG is in complete harmony with building and sustaining a culture of life and family in our community. The popular Respect Life Patch reinforces a commitment to the sanctity of life.”
The first meeting took place Sept. 23. Nuxoll said girls are welcome to sign up for troop membership at any time.
Future plans for the troop include outdoor experiences such as a hiking rosary, volunteering and hosting a spiritual mother-daughter tea.
“As we grow, we hope to become an established Catholic Christian organization in the Iowa City area community for all girls to learn and grow in their faith,” Nuxoll said.