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American Heritage Girls Troop MN2931 Says Farewell to Coordinator of 12 Years

By Haley Searls

The fourth Thursday of every May, members and families of American Heritage Girls troop MN2931 gather to celebrate the members’ achievements at a “Court of Awards”. While this event has remained the same in structure throughout the years, it has been tweaked in various ways to meet the vision of those plan­ning the event.

At Troop MN2931’s first Court of Awards in 2010, the ceremony was led by troop leaders. Most of the girl members were very young, and still learning leadership skills. As the years pro­gressed, though, girl members began to take charge of leading the Court of Awards. “This troop has grown a strong group of girls who are able to run this and other events on their own,” troop coordinator Sharon Searls said. In recent years, the program has been themed to coordinate with a dinner served afterwards. This year’s theme was “Around the World” and featured ethnic food from six countries at the dinner.

As guests arrived, they watched a slideshow of candid shots of girls participating in vari­ous activities — a slideshow in which younger girls very much enjoyed seeing themselves. The official Court of Awards started with a flag ceremony, featuring a girl from each level of American Heritage Girls (AHG) participating in the color guard. Attendees recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and troop members also recited the AHG Oath and Creed. Following the flag ceremony, troop shepherd Becky Wright gave a devotional, and the song “Just as I Am” by Travis Cottrell was sung.

Next came the part of the evening the girls were looking forward to — the awards. Girls received badges, patches, and Presidential Vol­unteer Service Awards in recognition of their accomplishments in the 2023-2024 AHG year. One Patriot, the highest level of AHG, became the fifth MN2931 member to receive the Ab­igail Adams Award. One Explorer earned the Ida Scudder Award and leveled to Pioneer, three Tenderhearts earned the Sacagawea Award and were leveled to Explorer, and three Path­finders earned the Fanny Crosby Award and were leveled to Tenderheart.

Following the award presentation, girls hon­ored their leaders by giving recognition awards to the registered adults of MN2931. Three adults received a special recognition as they are stepping down from leadership roles.

The ceremony ended with a farewell to troop coordinator Sharon Searls. Sharon became co­ordinator in 2012 when the former coordinator had to move unexpectedly. Seeing the need for and benefits of American Heritage Girls, and having two young daughters of her own, Sha­ron took the position “with fear and trembling”. Sharon said of her time, “I love teaching. I love opportunities to help young people grow into who God wants them to be. I love the principles upon which our country was founded, and de­sire to pass those on to the next generation of leaders. I love serving God and the people in our community and wish to instill that same love in those God puts in my life. But I do all this knowing that those in positions of leadership are held to a higher level of accountability. Being able to in­spire others is both exhilarating and exhausting.”

Sharon explained why she had her daughters join AHG. “As a mom, one of the values I want­ed to instill in my children was service. God did so much for us; it’s the least we can do to show our gratitude by serving others. When we moved to Silver Bay, we purposely moved into town so that we could be part of the communi­ty. We sought ways to get our family involved in activities so that we could get to know our neighbors. As the girls grew, we had to choose our activities, as there were so many opportuni­ties available in this area. Long story short, when we found out about American Heritage Girls and that there was a troop right in Two Harbors, we decided that investing in AHG would be worth our while.”

Sharon also explained the reasons for her re­tirement from the coordinator. “So why am I step­ping down now? The troop is strong. The adult leaders have been in AHG through the latest tran­sitions, and are thus prepared to lead the next era of AHG. All the girls have been in AHG a num­ber of years, and are thus prepared to assume the girl leadership roles. Though I am at the end of my parenting years with my girls, my fami­ly needs me in different ways now. And, though my heart is with the girls in the troop, and I don’t want to retire, there is a season for everything, and it’s my season to pass the mantle to the next troop coordinator.”

Troop MN2931 showered Sharon with gifts, hugs, verses from Proverbs 31, and an “offi­cially retired” crown. The court of Awards was then concluded, and attendees enjoyed a dinner fea­turing recipes from Egypt, China, Great Britain, Italy, Guatemala, and India.

For more information about American Her­itage Girls, visit and click “Find a Troop” at the top of the home page, enter “Two Harbors, MN”, then click “Connect with Troop MN2931”. During the transition, connections will be made with Sha­ron. Not from the Two Harbors area? MN2931 serves families all throughout the Arrowhead region. Troops can also be found in Duluth, throughout Minnesota, and in all 50 states.

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Haley Searls
Haley Searls
Hello! My name is Haley Searls. I’ve loved writing from an early age, though my nonfiction writing at five years old consisted mainly of weather and gardening reports. I still have some of those early articles: “It’s sunny.” “It’s still sunny.” “It’s raining.” I’m glad to say my writing has improved since then. I wrote a guest post for the Silver Bay Public Library blog, and was the writer/editor of the newsletter for my American Heritage Girls troop. I have been writing for the North Shore Journal since June 2022. Besides writing, I love reading, drawing, photography, music, and spending time with family and friends. Two books that have really influenced my writing are Reforming Journalism by Marvin Olasky and Writer to Writer by Bodie and Brock Thoene. As a journalist, I want to share positive community interactions and inspire people to make lasting connections. Article topics that interest me are ones which show community activities and involvement. Such articles include community events, youth accomplishments, library programming, small businesses, local history, local artists and authors, art programs, and cultural events such as theater and dance. If you have an article idea, email the North Shore Journal with my name in the subject line! I look forward to hearing from you!
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