The Hot Seat
Each week a different girl got a turn to be the focus. For about 60-90 seconds the members of the group would share encouraging words about her character, qualities, and abilities. On a piece of cardstock in the girl’s favorite color, I would record what her peers said about her. In later years, we used this as part of a birthday celebration for each girl. I would decorate the card with stickers reflecting her interests, along with the group’s comments, and give it to her with a favorite treat.
Getting to Know You
Early in the year I gave the girls a survey. Each girl responded about her interests, her family and pets, what helped her spiritually, etc. On the survey I had her list favorite books, movies, colors, foods, activities etc.
Early in the school year we would have some turnover in the group from year to year. I had each girl answer an icebreaker question with every other girl, by moving them to different locations at 60 second intervals.
Many weeks I had a suggested action step or verse to memorize based on our discussion. At the next meeting any girl who had met the challenge could grab something out of our prize stash: lip gloss, post-it notes, colored pens, hair ties, gum, mints, candy, sample size hand lotion, etc.
We went to the local nature center and spread out. Each girl brought her Bible, a journal, and a pen or pencil. I provided some prayer prompts, a Scripture passage, and a few open-ended questions to get them started and gave them about an hour and a half to spend with God. We debriefed a little afterwards.
When we met at the church or in a home instead of at a donut/bagel shop, the girls took turns bringing a favorite snack for the group. One year, we compiled the recipes and one of the girls printed up a cookbook for us.
As a group we rang bells for the Salvation Army and participated in a crafting fund-raising project for an orphanage in Africa. One year we did “Thankful Baskets”. Every girl contributed enough of 1 item such as a candle, lotion, cute notepad, etc for each group member. Each girl also brought a basket or container of some sort and some tissue/crinkle paper. Then they shared the different items they brought so each girl could create a special gift basket. The girls then individually took the basket each made to a person they wanted to bless or show appreciation to.
Shopping with a Purpose
A mom from the group shared some of the information from “Secret Keeper Girls” and we discussed it. Then all the girls and any moms who wanted to join us went to a local department store. The girls tried on outfits, keeping the principles of the book in mind and some of them made purchases. Another year we took an out-of-town shopping trip to a bigger mall about a month before Christmas.
I lived on several acres in the country, and another family from the group owned a pop-up camper. At the end of the summer we did an overnight bonfire and sleep-over in the camper at our place to kick off the new year.
Alumni special appearance
I had a group with my two older daughters, and another that started several years later with my youngest daughter. Some of the girls from the first group came to a brunch at my house and spoke with the younger group. They shared some of what they had learned about walking with God in middle and high school, choosing friends, etc.
We also played board games, sang worship songs, went ice skating, and took a “field trip” to one girl’s farm to see her baby chicks, had an ornament making Christmas party, and so on. The make up of the group and their interests helped us come up with activities that were meaningful to them.