In 2006, church officials noticed several youth regularly congregating on the property. With the property located so close to area middle and high schools, it was, frankly, a perfect spot for teen loitering. It was decided that instead of forcing them to loiter elsewhere, the church would open its doors to these youth, many of whom were low-income or at-risk. Thus, ‘The Cave’ (named for the cavernous recreation space in the church basement) was born!
The Cave is not about spreading any particular religious faith or gospel message. It is a ‘Ministry of Presence and Positivity’. We hope that providing a safe, easily accessible place for socializing will help area youth (in particular the at-risk ones) understand that there are adults who care about them and want them to make positive choices. We provide a tobacco, drug, and alcohol-free environment with adult supervision.
The program runs on Friday afternoons throughout the school year from 3:30-5:30pm. The program is open to all area youth in grades 6-12 (not just church members), and it is FREE. Snacks and drinks are available for purchase on-site.
The activities offered at The Cave depend on the interests of the students. We usually offer sports such as flag football, basketball, volleyball, and ultimate frisbee. Video games are always available, as well as ping pong, pool, and table games. Many students enjoy just hanging out and chatting with friends.
Opportunities exist for youth to organize different activities such as dance, watching movies, crafting, talent shows, or other possibilities so long as the activities are safe and age-appropriate.
The Cave also partners with the University of Georgia’s Kinesiology Department by inviting student volunteers to complete practicum hours while helping to supervise our youth in games such as basketball, kickball, and flag football. The UGA students offer a great tool to help us better relate the youth in our community and narrow the age gap between them and our church members.
Registration is ongoing throughout the school year. We ask that parents fill out a short registration form where we collect emergency contact information and medical/allergy information for the safety of each child.
Cave Coordinator: Justin Van Wicklen