There was no texting, no Facebook and no teenage boys around, but that doesn't mean the girls didn't talk about it.
This weekend at Pendleton Street Baptist Church 40 young women came to learn about strengthening their spiritual faith and boosting their self-esteem at Becoming Precious.
The program, designed for girls in sixth through twelfth grade, met at the church on Friday to begin a weekend of activities to help them not only feel better about themselves, but about their connection with God.
CaSandra Young, 17, wants to be a Christian counselor one day. She said she wanted to be a part of the weekend because she wanted to share with other girls what she has learned.
"I want them to know that they are beautiful and to seek God's face and humble themselves before him," Young said. "I want them to know that they don't need some boy to tell them they are beautiful. God is in control of everything and he created them beautiful."
It was a message that Alicia Ivey, associate director of The Potter's House, hoped to drive home as she talked to the teens Saturday morning.
Part of the message on which Ivey would focus was that each of them deserved to be treated with respect, with love, and with care.
"Are there people in your life who aren't treating you the way you should be treated," Ivey asked. "Friends, family, boyfriend, significant other, do they treat you like you are not to be wasted or do they treat you carelessly? Do they treat you with respect?"
Ivey told the group that some relationships cause people to mimmick bad habits and behavior or to live with a situation they should never be in, because they are afraid of what others would say.
Ivey asked each of the girls to write the names of the people who don't treat them as they should be and to find the strength to walk away from those people and those situations.
On a small notecard each of the girls would write those names and each would place them on the altar at the front of the sanctuary.
It started with one young lady taking the first steps to the front of the church. Others would follow in their own time.
For some, the moment was overwhelming. The tears, no matter how hard they fought them back, would come.
Many stopped to pray, while others offered support to friends and to girls they had known less than 24 hours. The message was becoming a little more clear, as some were beginning to feel love, respect and the true meaning of friendship, maybe even for the first time.
The program formed out of the Precious Vessels Ministry at The Potter's House Family Counseling. Ivey, who has written an eight-week devotional guide for teen girls, "Becoming Precious," started brainstorming with David Shorter, director of the Potter's House, to answer questions for young girls who found themselves caving to peer pressure and getting into things for which they may not have been ready.
Written around the message of Proverbs 3:15, "She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desired compares with her," the guide focuses on love of self and helps answer questions that many girls have by providing a biblical truth.
Kathy Shorter hosted 13 of the young women in her home on Friday night. She said they stayed up until 2 a.m. talking and getting to know one another.
"It's been a real eye-opener for some of them and I'm thrilled and thankful for that," Shorter said. "Some of them talked about last night they didn't feel worthy and now, they are beginning to learn that they are special."
Feeling special is part of what the weekend was all about. The girls sang songs of praise, made crafts, enjoyed meals as a group and took photos.
But from the moment they walked in the door, it was clear just how special they were.
A parent had transformed the areas of the church the girls would be using into a fun, festive and creative atmosphere bedecked with hot pink and zebra striped materials. The girls would be given a T-shirt, also hot pink with a zebra-print frame bordering the verse from Proverbs, and a care packet with the devotional guide, bookmark, pen, notepad and a necklace.
Ivey said she hopes that other churches will invite them to come present the program for the teens in their church and that one-day, they can take the series on the road.
For more information about "Becoming Precious," contact The Potter's House at 864-850-1777.