The following is a view poing of Out of the Box written by one of the teens who is part of the Ministry downtown Hillsville.
Out of the Box
I’m sure you’ve heard of Out of the Box, a safe, fun place for youth to hang out, but do you know
the full story? It was opened on September 7th, 2008, over a year ago. The ribbon cutting privileges
were given to the Bishop Swanson around noon on that glorious day. Looking past all the fancy
details, what is the true meaning of, and purpose for Out of the Box?
Out of the Box was created for youth. The youth of First United Methodist Church, FUMC,
visited a place called SportsTowne, a church that hosted our youth group as they participated in
missions in Georgia. This wasn’t just any church, though. This church held an indoor football field, a
blow-up obstacle course, and the sanctuary could be transformed into a basketball court in twenty
minutes. You can imagine how much fun our youth had here at this amazing place.
In spite of the secrets and surprises that lay await throughout this magnificent building, the
hearts of our youth were captured by something different, something much more significant. The
hospitality displayed by the hosts was unimaginable. Here were twenty teenagers, loud and wild
teenagers, and yet Beth, the woman in charge, gave them the keys to an amazing $2 million church.
These teens were inspired by the hospitality and grace, and decided they wanted to do the same
thing. And there, in Macon, Georgia, a vision was born. From that vision came Out of the Box, a free,
fun place for youth to come and just hang out without having to worry about being bored or running
into a bad situation.
The Out of the Box we know today has come a long way. It was no small miracle, a lot of work
had to be done. Our youth jumped right in and help bring in couches, piece by piece of the pool table
and fooseball table alike, and countless chairs.
Thanks to the efforts of FUMC youth leaders, Ronnie Collins, Jeff and Terry Scott, Greg and
Lori Huff, and not forgetting our faithful youth, Out of the Box has become a success. Its convenient
location downtown, across from the Hillsville Diner, makes it easy for youth to find. On Wednesday
evenings, youth group is held; it opens at 5 and closes around 9, but Bible study is from 7 to 8 pm.
Everything is completely free, drinks, snacks, even bring a few (appropriate) CDs and you can listen to
them. We have an average attendance of around sixty people, and one week we had almost one
hundred, and we continue to grow in numbers.
Out of the Box has also made the effort to team up with Carroll County Intermediate School to
offer after-school tutoring on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. From 3:30 until 5:00, the students
are focused on academics, but from 5:00 to 6:00, it’s all about the games. Students are invited to play
pool, fooseball, listen to music, watch videos and DVDs, use the computers to their advantage, or just
relax and talk. Drinks and snacks are available free of charge, and in a place like this, it’s hard not to
have fun. The activity bus runs by at 6:00 to pick up the students.
“OOTB is a place where teens can come and not be judged but be accepted for who you are.
Do you have tattoos, piercing, different hairstyles, or dress differently than what someone else may
consider the norm? Or do you look like the majority of society in the way you dress? Are you tall,
skinny, slim, heavy, bald, long hair, skater, nerd? It doesn’t matter at Out Of The Box,” said Ronnie
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