Balcony Girls Practice Teamwork!

What exactly is teamwork and unity, I asked at Balcony Girls this week.

We started off by playing a game called, “Shoe Shod.” The girls took off their right shoes, putting them in one pile. Then we formed two lines and played a relay race where you find the person’s shoe behind you by running up to the pile, then go back to put it on the person’s foot. The girls had to work together so their team could win. It was fun and we played the game several times.

Then we gathered in the kitchen for a hands-on lesson. I handed each girl one ingredient to help make a cake (ie, flour, bottle of vanilla, box of cocoa, baking soda). After I told them what we were doing, I then instructed them to, “go ahead and eat the ingredient in your hand.” The girls looked at me, confused.

Eat the vanilla?
Eat the flour?
Eat the baking soda?

Maybe the sugar wouldn’t be that bad.

Wouldn’t it taste the same or did it need to be mixed together? I asked. The girls immediately said, “Yuck!”

I explained how the ingredients by themselves can seem bad, but when they are placed together the correct way, in a bowl and then combined, the end product is a wonderfully delicious cake! We talked about how combing efforts can really pay off! (And the girls were thrilled when they each got to eat one, large spoonful of cake batter!)

We role-played how if one girl was left out of the cake-making experiment, or even ran off with a friend (with their ingredient in hand), how they could really mess up the end result. We did a few other relays to get the “working together” concept across.

1 1/2 c. flour
3 tbsp. cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. cooking oil
1 c. cold water
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. vinegar

Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt directly into 8 inch square cake pan. Make 3 holes in the dry ingredients. In first hole, pour vanilla. Into another, pour cooking oil. In the last, pour vinegar. Pour 1 cup cold water over all and beat with a fork until smooth. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream!

Children like this cake and Mom will too, because it is quick and easy with little preparation which means fewer items to wash. They also think the name is appropriate because it seems "crazy" to put oil and vinegar into a cake. This cake was popular during the depression, and does not have eggs in it.

The lesson was simple today.

Balcony Girls are not exclusive. They are great team players. They don’t wander off or isolate themselves with another when in a group. They stick together – they create unity.

The challenge came when I told the girls it might be tempting to run off with one friend who you really love to be with. Thinking about a group setting, maybe a birthday party with a lot of girls, or even a church group, we should practice self-control by staying with the group and participating with everyone.

Reaching out and stretching yourself with a new challenge is a way to grow!

Side Note:
I was very sentimental this week, thinking about this unique group of girls. It’s our 4th year of being together, and it seems like every time we are together we spend more time talking about friendships. Each girl is growing in a way that should make their Mamas proud. As I always say, I’m not trying to teach these girls anything new. I’ve just opened my home, and have agreed to be the leader to help reinforce the things that their parents have already taught them.

This year is different as a couple of the girls are going to a different school. And some of the girls that go to school together aren’t what you’d call “best friends.” They are all friends, but they are not a clique. I appreciate that about the group. My mission and purpose for Balcony Girls, which began 3 years ago, seems to be working. The girls are learning about relationships. With hands-on lessons I continue to pray that I’m getting my point across. Only time will tell.


Life with Mimi and Bunny said...

I think you need to write a book with all the lessons that you do with the Balcony Girls - I would certainly buy it for when my girls get old enough (only 3 & 5 right now!)

What you are doing needs to be done in more homes/schools/girl scout troops/church groups/etc with girls. My girls will go to an all-girls school where I am sure cattiness will be high at times. I think teaching girls these fundamentals of life/friendships helps prevent them from engaging in this behavior.

Again, I think many people would do something like this but they just need the "lesson plans" on how to implement it. Please publish!!!

Andrea said...

I think it's so beautiful what you are doing. I do hope you put together a "Balconey Girls" book. I would totally buy it!! I want this for my girls.

Charity said...

Thanks for sharing what you do with your Balcony Girls! You have such great ideas.

Oh, and that is a wonderful recipe - so yummy and moist! :)

Jan said...

You know I loved you blog first ;)

Kirstin said...

Hi! Thanks for the comments on my "stripes". The flower on my header was from my pastors yard. I'm ready to be done painting. We actually get a 4 day break because after tomorrow we won't be able to get in the house due to concrete setting. I'm sorta glad about that (C:

i love this balcony girl lesson. I'm going to share this with our Jr. High small group leader. i think she might get some ideas.

Sincerely Anna said...

I love reading your Balcony Girls posts. As a Junior High leader, I know you *know* what the girls want and need to talk about right now. Thanks for sharing your ideas - I plan on bringing them up in our next leaders' meeting!

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

What great lesson's learned!!!

Your crazy cake brought back SO many memories. This cake was my signature cake while growing up....I made it EVERY week for our family!!! To cute to see it on someones blog!!!


Tammy said...

I always love reading about the Balcony girls, since I have two girls of my own. Such a wonderful thing...and I agree with some of the others- you should write a book about your group and their experiences growing spiritually and in friendship together!

~nanashouse~ said...

Being a "newcomer" ... How did you arrive at the name "Balcony Girls"?

Love your Blog!

The Summer Kitchen Interiors said...

I think Life with mimi and bunny is right - a book is in order!! Love this simple lesson for the girls - I'll have to remember this one!!
Thanks Sandy!
Karla & Karrie

Kim said...

I agree with the others about a book with all the lessons -- I was posting to ask you where you get all your ideas and how you put them together. Thank you so much for sharing!

Jen said...

I just think its wonderful you do this. Such a great mentor you are. i love the example you set for these young gals......keep doing what you are doing..it IS making a difference.

Christy said...

I think what you are doing is great! Young girls so much need older women to teach, guide, mentor, and be an example for them. I'm sure these mothers are very thankful for the input you are having in their lives.

I also wanted you to know that I just finished canning apple butter using your "go green" method. It worked! I was so excited to find this post yesterday when I knew I was going to be doing some canning. Thanks again for the tip! I'm sharing a post about the apple butter and will link to yours!

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

I especially loved the lesson about what would happen if one girl left with "one" of the ingredients which in turn would totally make a difference in the cake. Love the "Balcony Girls" lessons. I agree with the others...there's a book in there somewhere. Have a great weekend. ~ Lynn

deezie said...

I love when you write about the balcony girls!!!
We are starting up our little club because of you on September 30th. The girls that were invited to come are all excited and so am I. I hope I do as well as you do. You are such an inspiration

Claire, said...

Wow, that is wonderful. How special to be a part of such a team of energy. Wish I could join in. I love the first picture, so precious!

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hi, Sandy, just wanted to come by & say hello! I see you are still hanging out with the girls. Have a great weekend.

Dee Light said...

What a fantastic activity. We often talk about relationships, differences and working together in our Girl Scout Troop. This will be a great activity for us to try!!

Ms. Tee said...

It's so great what you are doing with your girls. As another commenter said, you should write a book! Also, I'd never heard of Crazy Cake before - definitely something I'll have to try. :)

Praise and Coffee said...

How sweet (no pun intended). As the mom of a teenage daughter, it is wonderful to see pictures and testimony like this!

So much fun.

Stephanie said...

What wonderful life lessons you're teaching these girls. I LOVE the exercises you do. Thanks for the wonderful ideas!

see you there! said...

Love the cake example of everyone (thing) having a part to play.

Warning: Nana Brag... Our GD got a certificate for Sportsmanship from her class. I gather they were doing a lesson on voting and so the class voted anon. and Our Girl was chosen for Best Sportsmanship. I couldn't be prouder!