Girl Scout Alternatives

Updated on May 3, 2019
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Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.

What are the alternatives to the Girl Scouts? Which programs offer your daughter the same experience of joining a troop, earning merit badges, growing as a leader, and performing community service as scouts outside of Girl Scouts? Conversely, which programs give your daughter a place to socialize with her peers or further her faith outside of Sunday School?

This article provides a synopsis of several Girl Scout alternatives, listed in alphabetical order, as well as information on each.

My daughter is in American Heritage Girls or AHG.
My daughter is in American Heritage Girls or AHG. | Source

Summary of Girl Scout Alternatives

Open to Boys?
Complementary Program for Boys
American Heritage Girls
Faith Based Boys
Frontier Girls Club
Girls in Action
Royal Ambassadors
International Order of the Rainbow for Girls
DeMolay International
Knights of Columbus Squire Roses
Knights of Columbus Squires
Pioneer Club
National Girls Ministries
Royal Rangers
Alert Cadet


AWANA is a Christian Bible study program for children two through high school. AWANA is well known because it is over sixty years old. Awana has separate programs for preschoolers, elementary school children, middle school and high school students. AWANA lessons may be incorporated in Sunday School programs or used as youth program. AWANA is non-denominational.

American Heritage Girls

American Heritage Girls or AHG started as a girls’ complementary program to the Boy Scouts. AHG is a growing alternative to the Girl Scouts, complete with merit badges, workbooks, activities and camping opportunities. American Heritage Girls is open to girls ages 5 through 18.

As of yet, American Heritage Girls does not have its own campgrounds, but many troops go camping in state and national parks.

AHG split from the Boy Scouts in 2013 due to its acceptance of homosexual boys in its ranks. American Heritage Girls is now the companion organization for the Faith Based Boys.

Frontier Girls Club

Frontier Girls Club is a small program similar to the Girl Scouts. They have an organized program teaching life skills, community service and leadership. Groups can go camping, though they don’t have facilities in their own right. (Nothing stops a troop from going to the local state park to camp, though.)

Frontier Girls Club is notable for having a program for preschoolers, whereas most similar programs wait until kids start school. They also have a level for girls over 18 who want to participate.

They don’t have a boys-only program, but they have a co-ed program called Quest Clubs.

Girls in Action

Girls in Action is the girls’ complementary program for the Southern Baptist Royal Rangers program. Girls in Action or GA is intended for girls aged 9 through 16. Younger girls are included in the Children in Action program.

Girls in Action has its own magazine, GA World, published bi-weekly.

International Order of the Rainbow for Girls

The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls or Rainbow for short is a girls’ organization within the Masonic lodge program. Rainbows range in age from 11 to 20. The organization focuses on community service. If you are interested in joining Rainbows, contact your local Masonic lodge. Membership is not limited to family members of existing Masons.

Knights of Columbus Squire Roses

The Knights of Columbus is a stalwart organization for Catholic men. The Knights of Columbus Squire Roses is their program for girls aged 10 through 18. There are fewer Squire Rose circles than groups for boys. If you are interested in joining this Christian women’s organization, contact your local parish.

Another Girl Scout alternative for Catholics is Little Flowers Girls' Club, but they are not as widespread as the Knights of Columbus.


The Seventh Day Adventist church runs the Pathfinders, a group open to both boys and girls. Pathfinders has merit badges and a green uniform similar to that of the Girl Scouts. The Pathfinders program is open to children from fifth grade through twelfth grade.

Pioneer Club

The Pioneer Club is a unisex organization for children aged two through fourteen. The Pioneer Club is similar to AWANA in that it can be run as a Sunday school program or as a youth program like Scouts. It is non-denominational but strongly Protestant.

The Pioneer Club has several summer camps in the United States and Canada.

National Girls’ Ministries

National Girls Ministries are specific to the Assemblies of God denomination. They have activities for girls from preschool through high school.

The companion program for boys, the Royal Rangers, is for boys in kindergarten through twelfth grade.


Skills Training for Emergency Preparedness or STEP is a four week preparedness program for girls 15 and up. STEP teaches skills in wilderness survival and builds leadership. STEP is offered by the creators of the Alert Cadet program for boys. STEP Advanced covers topics from wilderness survival to Bible study to rock climbing.


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