Balcony Girls Summer Kick-Off!

An easy way for me to reach out and show hospitality to young people is through my Balcony Girls group. It is an exceptional group of 8 girls that come together after school, to discuss girls’ issues, relationships and God. We’ve met for almost three years now. I was inspired to change the name of the group (prior name Faithgirlz) this year to Balcony Girls, as I was moved by a book, over 20 years ago, that changed my thinking on friendships. The book was called Balcony People by Joyce Landorf Heatherly.

Our mission statement this year is: Build one another up; don’t tear down.

This week, we learned the value of affirmation through role-playing and discussions about negative vs positive comments, and how they stick in your minds. We also learned about the power of standing up to a bully, since bullying is prevalent talk in the Coughlin household these days, with Paul’s, No More Jellyfish, Chickens, or Wimps just out.

Frankly, we could have sat for 2 hours and just talked. The girls loved our time together more than the craft or the snack! (Snack this week: cupcakes made in ice cream cones.)

Our discussion has soul value and the girls really feel it. We also laugh our heads off, as the girls find it very funny as we role-play together. I make sure that every girl participates and they really get into it.

One little girl told me this week, “Sandy, I learned so much today!”

I won’t forget those words. I could see it in her eyes.

Next time we meet we’re heading to the Ginger Roger’s Craterian Theatre where we get to experience the “balcony” and incorporate it into our study. The girls don’t know about it yet — shhhhh, it’s a surprise!

17 comments on “Balcony Girls Summer Kick-Off!”

  1. I started a girls’ group in January for my 2nd grader and her school friends. Today someone asked me if I had heard of your blog. Oh my goodness, your precious group must be seniors in high school! I would love to see an update, a “where are they now” kind of thing. Did you keep the group going through the years?

  2. These cupcakes are how I found your blog. You left me a comment on my prize over at kisses of sunshine. I really had a wonderful time making these cupcakes. I bet it was even more fun making them with the girls :)

  3. I am just now reading that book!!!! How awesome that your girls group is being so strongly influenced by this book!!!

  4. What an amazing thing to do for those girls. I’m sure you’re helping them shape their lives into wonderfully strong young women.

  5. In answering a few questions about BG, I feel 3rd grade is a perfect age to start a group. I picked 8 girls that were friends with my daughter, and also whose parents would agree with the dynamics of the faith-based group. They happened to be public-school girls, but they don’t have to be. They are not all the same denomination, church-wise. Over the years I have listened to what girls talk about, then I’d incorporate it with a bible verse and a faith tip (or rule of respect early on). One and 1/2 hr is the perfect time for a discussion, small craft, snack and play time (or outing). The girls keep a journal of information that I paste in each week, along with a digital pix of their group and the fun they had that day. In 3rd grade we had $1 prizes (from Dollar Store) that were given for memorized verses. This yr (5th grade) the girls don’t really care about prizes.

    The whole study/role-playing/discussion time is based on friendships and what God says about them. We do not get into theological differences.

    One more cool thing. I send a note home with each girl each week, telling the parent what we discussed. That way they can reinforce it with their daughter.

    Hope that helps. And down the road, there may be a BG book ! For now I piece-meal my study together.

    I’d love to hear if any of my friends start a group! You can always email me for more details.

  6. Hi Sandy,

    This is so wonderful for girls at this age. They will never forget what they’ve learned with you…

    p.s. drop by to win on my blog, o.k.?



  7. My gawd, I love your blog…

    Always so inspiring and full of wonderful cozy ideas.

  8. Those ice cream cones look mighty tasty!

  9. What a wonderful group to have for young girls! Just tonight I was talking w/ a friend about how jr high and high school were for us girls. This kind of group would have been so useful! If I have a daughter one day I’d love to do something like this!

  10. I love this idea and I am going to start one with my daughter when she’s a bit older. How did you choose the girls? Were they friends of your daughter’s? Were they church girls of the same age?

    And congrats on the feature in CWO, I saw it the other day!

  11. Waaay cool Sandy! Melts me to hear of your investment in these girls and their commitment to each other!
    I am going to have to find that book because when I was a new believer in the 70’s I read Joyce Landorf’s book “Richest Lady in Town” ( I believe that was the name) and God used that book powerfully, as I had just moved away from home and began the journey in living out these truths. Thanks for the reminder Sandy.

  12. Seriously I want to be a Balcony Girl! I had so wanted to do this but chickened out. Do you do this on your own or with other moms? Do all the girls come from Christian homes? Are you writing your own material (this is the part that would have me totally stumped)? Do the girls all go to school together as well?

    I really am in awe. You are doing an amazing thing here.


  13. such a valuable ministry. Our church has a summer camp for young teens and older teens called . .What a girl wants. They spend a week doing the girly things that all girls enjoy and then teach them what is really important. Its wonderful to see mentoring across the continent.

  14. I enjoyed reading about this group of girls last year, and look forward to more wonderful stories and lessons this year! This is so wonderful, Sandy.

  15. Those are some lucky girls! Keep up the great work, Sandy!

  16. What a great leader and mentor those fortunate girls have!! I tried to start a similar teen girls’ group last fall after we quit as youth leaders, but we just couldn’t work around all the scheduling conflicts. I was sad, but at the same time, it was wonderful to see those girls spreading Light in their community through their involvements.

  17. What a unique ministry! That is so great, what you are doing. These girls will be the better for the guidance and love you are showing them : )

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