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St. Louis Bishop Encourages Girls' Faith-Based Scouting

Little FlowersThe Archdiocese of St. Louis has published a statement calling for parishes to support faith-based scouting clubs for girls, and points out that Girl Scout troops are not specifically a faith-based program.

"From Baptism, our parents are the first teachers of their children in the ways of the faith. And at this tender age, we want to make sure that they're being influenced in a positive way regarding the faith," said Auxiliary Bishop Edward Rice.

For this reason, the archdiocese plans to ask pastors to welcome faith-based scouting groups for girls, such as The Little Flowers Catholic Girls Club and American Heritage Girls into their parishes.

Father Brian Fischer, executive director of the archdiocesan Catholic Youth Apostolate, which oversees the Office of Catholic Scouting Ministry, noted that "we are called to live the new evangelization. In doing so we need to saturate ourselves in the joy, the truth and the peace of the Gospel -- so much more so for the youth entrusted to our care during their most formative time in their lives. That is why we are so excited to promote these faith-based organizations, Little Flowers and American Heritage Girls, that will aid parents and parishes in growing disciples."

American Heritage GirlsAs the St. Louis Review reports, the Little Flowers Girls' Club was founded as a Catholic organization for girls ages 5 and older to teach virtues through Scripture, the saints and Catechism of the Catholic Church.

American Heritage Girls is a Christian organization founded in 1995 by a group of parents in Cincinnati, Ohio, who were seeking a wholesome program for their daughters. The program is open to girls ages 5-18 and its mission is "building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country." The group currently has about 33,000 members in 730 troops in 48 states.

Years worth of scandals involving the increasingly secularized Girl Scouts of America program has left many parents searching for alternative groups where their daughters can have a happy and healthy scouting experience without being exposed to the liberal ideologies that have become ingrained in Girl Scout programs.

As the statement points out, "Girl Scouts also participate in the faith-formation programs, although Girls Scouts of the USA is not specifically a faith-based program."

Little Flowers and American Heritage Girls are wholesome alternatives that more and more families are finding better suited to their family values.

The announcement of support for these groups by the Archdiocese of St. Louis was welcomed by parents in St. Louis and around the country.

"Our purpose is to insert faith-formation programs into these (faith-based) organizations," Father Fischer explained. "We want to partner with them to support their growth. They then become an extension of our office as a part of what they already do with their programs."

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