Scavenger Hunt turned into Life Lessons! (and WINNER!)

If you saw my Balcony Girls in the aisles of Fred Meyer yesterday, you’d think that they were competing in the Olympics!

They were serious about the task at hand, as they had a mission to land everything on the list they had been given into the basket, and get back to the starting point in a 15 minute time frame!

Even though the rules that I shared with the girls about this scavenger hunt were clear, (don’t run, be respectful to those around you, don’t leave the group, don’t be loud), the girls couldn’t help but be exuberant and excited, as they broke out into two teams. I must say the girls were very respectful and followed the rules. I even led one of the groups myself.

They quickly gathered the items and came right back to our starting point – the handbag section! And right there is where our Balcony Girls lesson took place. In the aisle of the store we discussed each item that the girls had to find, and in particular how they related to relationships.

Mirror (How does God view you? How do you view yourself? Confidence)

Packet of seeds or bulbs (Plant a seed and watch a friendship grow)
Mask or wig (Are you REAL with your friends, or phony or fake)
Microphone (As if on stage, we discussed the importance of applauding one another. We reflected back to our balcony experience)
Dustpan/broom (Sweep away the gossip and throw it out)

Bible (Vital to know God’s Word)
Heavy whipping cream (Reminder of being thankful and our butter lesson)
Girl Teen magazine (Is gossip good for us)

Clothing item (Wearing humility is much more attractive than being full of ourselves)
Box of Thank You notes (Reminder of our lesson on gratitude)

Hoe or shovel (Cultivating friendships takes work)
Hammer (A tool used for building – and we related it to courage)

Stuffed Lamb (Remembering our lesson on Mini May – is it more important to be a follower or a leader)

Clay (Are you a manipulator? Do you push/move people around to try to make them what you want them to be)

After our lesson we divided up the goods and each team went back into the aisles and returned the items. Spending only $3.29 (I really try to keep costs down) we each picked out a candy bar and headed home for a swim party, enchilada dinner and ice cream sundaes!

Oh and there was one last impacting item that the girls found. But I am going to save it for next time when we do a lesson on forgiveness. It’s one of the most powerful gifts that we can give a friend.

This simple, inexpensive way of showing the girls “hands-on lessons” today really made my day. Not only do I love this group of girls (I have mentored the same girls for 3 years), but every time I teach them a lesson, I know I am relearning myself the very same principles.

I also know that to have a Balcony Friend in my life means I need to be a Balcony Friend.

It’s going to be a great year ahead for the Balcony Girls. This summer reunion and scavenger hunt was just the icing on the cake.

(BG’s having fun in the handbag section! Easy Enchilada recipe coming soon ...)

WINNER of No More Jellyfish, Chickens or Wimps is Laura from Organized Junkie! Thank you all for your comments and interest in the book! Click here to order the book or buy the CD of the broadcast.


maryanne420 said...

hi sandy,
i recently started reading your blog and i must say that i love it. you're one talented lady. your post today is so inspiring and touching. what a blessing your are to those girls.

Kirstin said...

How fun! I think my girls would love being a part of something like this.

Jen said...

Yeah Laura! I think what you do for those girls is awesome...your a great mentor to them and all of us too.

Bettsi said...

I love hearing about what you are teaching the Balcony Girls! They are always good lessons even for big girls. Hugs to you!

ohio12 said...

can we have your enchilada recipe?

Jill said...

How old were your balcony girls when you started?
I'm thinking that maybe my 8 year old daughter might be ready for something like this, but not sure if it's too early.

Beth said...

So far I've like almost ALL of your balcony girls posts, so please take this in the spirit it is intended...which is NOT snarky. I kept thinking as I read your post that you were going to say that they were rounding up things from a list for a meal they were going to help you prepare...or for a gift basket they were going to deliver to someone in need...or supplies for a new baby. I was telling myself that having a bunch of young ladies trotting through the store FOR A GOOD CAUSE was a Good Thing.

But then you used the store's merchandise as your object lesson and then had them put things back. (I'm glad you had them put them back, BTW.)

I guess I'm just wondering how many people were frustrated by trying to shop with a bunch of kids creating noise and exuberance, and what kind of testimony this was to the people around. I also hope all of the merchandise was handled very, very carefully so that it was in completely salable condition when they put it back.

I'm probably just being an old grouch. Maybe I've just heard of and experienced too many of these youth group activities where children are let loose to get in the way of normal business taking place...all in the name of teaching some Biblical concept.

Sandy said...

Jill - 8 yrs old is perfect! Click on to the first BG link (very first paragraph) to read about what is involved.

Ohio12 - as I said in the post, easy enchilada recipe will be coming :)


2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Sandy, this is wonderful. I'm passing along this idea to our middle school pastor. I don't know if you remember my stories about being challenged concerning entertaining (hostessing) but I want you to know that I have a come a long way since then. I'm still not a good cook, but I'm having more people in my home--overnight, even! I'm growing! Yay!

Tara said...

I love your Balcony Girls posts. The lessons you teach are always so meaningful and well-presented. I'm looking forward to another season of meetings!

gracemercyandpeace said...

My 11yo daughter would have loved to be with your BGs! My 73yo mother would have been smiling with approval.

Sounds like a memorable lesson.

deb meyers

Org Junkie said...

The girls looked like they had such fun and learned valuable lessons at the same time.

YAY, I'm so excited to have won the book!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you so much :)

Kim said...

Hi Sandy,
I just love the energy and creativity you put into leading your balcony girls. Your latest idea is really great and those girls are blessed to have you in their lives!

Laura said...

Hello! I'm very inspired by your creativity with the girls. It sounds so wonderful and personal and definitely an example of older women teaching the young! Keep up the good work!

Barb said...

Miz Sandy's such a good customer at Fred Meyer, I'm sure they were happy to see her bringing her "proteges" in for a lesson! Neat stuff, and gives me an idea for our upcoming company picnic!

Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

What a terrific idea! This mentoring program sounds like a wonderful way to share your gifts but also be enriched yourself.

Thanks for stopping by and leading me to your blog; I think I'll stay a while!

Kirstin said...

I was reading through the comments and while I'm sure there are kids out there who would wreck havok on places I don't see Sandy's girls as doing so. And if for some reason someone got frustrated I'm sure she had them take care of it because of the many lessons they are taught.

My own girls simply shopping with me I'm sure have the capacity at times to frustrate some irritable customer. I think if I saw some girls running..excuse me...I mean walking... around in carts having fun and being honoring I'd think it was cool. I might even ask what they were doing.

I think it's all a matter of perspective and training. Our youth group kids literally take over a small beach town one day in the summer as we go to youth camp, and we've never heard one complaint. They are polite and well behaved. And if they weren't, they'd hear about it. We've taught them the value of honoring others and setting an example.

I wouldn't hesitate to have my girls in Sandy's group. I am trying to figure out how to do something similar. Since I have two girls and they are three years apart I'm not sure how to work it. ANy ideas Sandy. Maybe one time a month I could do one daughter/friends, and the other time, the other daughter.

Genny said...

What a GREAT idea! Love it! And your enchiladas look better than my enchilada casserole! LOL.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I really like your blog,


Christy said...


Thanks for visiting me. I'm so glad you did so that I could see your blog.

What you have said in your profile is SO up my alley! I love to have people in our home. It is sad that because of our own fears and just busyness gets in the way of opening our homes and lives to those around us. your personal 10 commandments are great and worth remembering!

Your cairn terrier is adorable. I've always wanted one. It goes back to my love of the Wizard of Oz:)

It was nice to meet you and I will be back to visit!

Your scavenger hunt was very clever. What great and practical ways to teach such wonderful truths to young girls.

Angie said...

Brilliant! I just might have to borrow some of those ideas. My daughter would have loved to be part of that bunch.

Looking forward to the enchilada recipe...

Thanks for stopping by my place.

Barb said...

Everything about this post made me smile, from the whole idea of this activity, to the photos of those adorable girls, right down to hearing Laura won your giveaway.

You are amazing!

StephieAnne said...

What a beautiful blog - thanks for coming to visit mine! As I scrolled down, I especially like the recipe for the French Toast. Looks delicious!

Kristen Andrews said...

that looks like a lot of fun! So glad you found my blog! I am going to add you to my blogroll.

Tip Junkie said...

WOW! Talk about planning with a purpose that scavenger hunt puts anyone I've been on to shame. Great job.

~j~ said...

I love the smiles on the girls faces filled with obvious joy and excitment for a fun and creative BG lesson! It's wonderful to provide an activity that not only promotes great life lessons in so many areas but gives them such fond memories of their childhood! Great lesson Sandy!
Love you!!

"Maggie" said...

The scavanger hunt is such a wonderful idea, especially when teaching your young girls about Christ.

Thanks for stopping by, I've enjoyed the reading, the recipes and most of all, your faith!

Have a great week. :)

Classic MaMa said...

What a wonderful experience! I want to be a balcony girl! Any chance you will be writing your experiences and lessons into a book?

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

Just wanted to say that I love the whole idea of the Balcony Girls. What blessing to be involved in those girls' lives, for you and for them. That's the kind of relationship I want to cultivate with my daughter as she grows! God bless!

see you there! said...

Following the Balcony Girls through your posts is always a pleasure.


angie said...

What a great activity and a great lesson to teach. Bravo.

Apron Thrift Girl said...

What a gift you have Sandy to make each post so inspirational. I would have loved to have had you as a mentor in my life when I was younger. I had no one and at times not even my mother who was engrossed in her daily soaps. I am so grateful to have you as a friend.

Julianne said...

I love the Balcony Girls! Thanks again for sharing last night about hospitality. It was great to meet you. :)