These ideas were developed by me for my local group and are not a part of the official Little Flowers Girls Club ® created by Rachel Watkins. To purchase the excellent materials and begin your own local group, please visit www.beholdpublications.com
What a joy! Today, we had our first Little Flowers Girls Club with our local Catholic homeschooling group. I have anxiously awaited an opportunity to lead Little Flowers and feel so blessed to have an amazing group of beautiful young girls ages 4-11 excited to grow in virtue.
There are 40 girls signed up for our club, and I have 9 moms committed to helping at every meeting. Plus, the other moms are more than generous with providing snack, watching siblings, or jumping in to help spontaneously! Today was proof that this group will be successful, because it is not all on my shoulders!
We began our meeting with some opening prayers standing around the prayer table I had created. It had a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe and one of St. Therese. I had a candle and a crucifix and some silk roses all on a lace-trimmed tablecloth. I read a simple offering prayer and this amazing quote from Blessed Angela Foligno:
If you want faith, pray. If you want hope, pray. If you want kindness, pray. If you want poverty, pray. If you want humility, pray. If you want gentleness, pray. If you want strength, pray. If you want any virtue, pray.
I taught the girls a simple song to Mary to the tune of Frere Jacques, and we prayed a Hail Mary together. I was very impressed with how attentive the girls were.
Then, I did a little classroom management. I taught them the chant, "God is good --- all the time!" to get their attention when I need it. I told them our three club rules: Raise your hand if you have something to say. Look with your eyes at the person who is talking. Have fun! Being a group of homeschooled girls, some of them are not used to raising their hands, so I am sure I will have many reminders to make!
We will usually do our virtue presentation and craft before our game, but since this was our introductory meeting, I wanted to do a warm-up game. We played Welcome Bingo, which is where you try to get a different person to sign each square of your "card" where a statement describes them. For example, one square said, "I have curly hair like St. Therese." Another said, "I can name three different kinds of flowers." And there was, "I am wearing my blue Little Flowers sash." There were 16 squares, because I wanted to force them to talk to one another.
For the game, I paired them up to work in teams, one younger girl with one older girl, because some of the younger ones cannot read or write yet. This worked really well, because it forced the older girls to separate from their friends. It took a while for the girls to get warmed up and comfortable asking one another to sign their "card," but once they did, they had a great time of it and impressed me with how well they worked together.
After this, I did make a little presentation about virtues and St. Therese. I involved them a lot by asking what they already know, and their answers were just precious! It was hard for me to talk that long (maybe ten minutes) to such a diverse group, so I think I will need some visuals for the virtue presentations.
Then, I explained their small groups. I divided them basically by age with a few exceptions and named each small group after a different type of Old Garden Rose with France as its origin. What this means is that these roses likely grew in St. Therese's garden at home or at the convent. This was so fun to research and choose the roses from catalogs! I used the images on signs and name tags to help the girls find one another, too.
We took a short snack break and divided into small groups to decorate the canvas tote bags and white folders I had purchased for each girl. The tote bags were a great deal at Oriental Trading Company, and we used Crayola Fabric Markers and fabric paints to write their names and draw flowers. They also used foam flowers and letters to stick on both. This was a fun and very easy craft for our first meeting; I am glad I kept it simple!
Finally, we closed in prayer. I had gone around and collected prayer intentions from many of the girls during craft time. I began our closing prayers by asking each girl by name if she would commit to growing in virtue after the model of St. Therese. They responded as small groups, "I do." Then, we read the Prayer to St. Therese together, and I read the prayer intentions and prayed the Child of Mary prayer for the girls.
It was very windy, and we kept chasing things that blew away. We decided to try meeting at a pavilion at one of the local parks, because it is centrally located, free, and has a nearby playground for the siblings to play. I think it will work very well if the wind is not so strong, because it felt good to be outside talking about flowers and virtuous living!
What a joyous day! I had so much fun planning and preparing for this first meeting, and we didn't even discuss a virtue yet! We are meeting every other week, so I have two weeks to get prepared for our first virtue. I feel so blessed to have such wonderful girls in our club. Most of them came up to me personally after the meeting and thanked me for everything. A few of them came to me at various points during and after the meeting and confided in me some story or observation. I am in awe.
The Lord is certainly humbling me by allowing me to lead this group. I have been given a talent for organization, and every time I use it in a leadership role, I feel less and less of it comes from me. I am grateful for this reminder that God created me in His image with all my strengths and weakness out of pure love for me. It is all Him. May He use me for His glory.