The legacy of RG LeTourneau will live on at the former Georgia Baptist Conference Center in Toccoa as new owners take over the facility and continue to use it for ministry.
Texas-based Pine Cove, a Gospel-centered Christian camp with locations in Texas and South Carolina, has announced its purchase of the property on Lake Louise Road.
“Pine Cove loves the beauty Toccoa, Ga., offers,” said Bill Wellons of Pine Cove in a statement. “The Georgia Baptist Conference Center is just 12 minutes from Pine Cove’s family camp, Chimney Point, located across Lake Hartwell in South Carolina.”
Plans call for Pine Cove to open a new overnight youth camp for fourth through eighth grade campers on the Toccoa property in the summer of 2022, according to the organization. Additional youth camps serving elementary and high school campers are planned for the same property in the future.
“The Georgia Baptist Mission Board, including its COO David Melber, has been incredible to work with and Pine Cove counts it a tremendous privilege to be able to stand on the shoulders of all who have gone before, all of the rich history, ministry, and investment in the lives of adults and kids on this piece of property for more than 80 years,” the statement reads.
The Toccoa property was a natural fit for Pine Cove due to its proximity to the camp across Lake Hartwell, and officials said it should provide an added boost to the Stephens County economy.
“Pine Cove is grateful to be part of this community and excited to partner with Stephens County through community events, having local kids at camp, and bringing in many visitors who will be passing through the community during the summer to shop, dine, and stay while dropping off and picking up their children,” Wellons’ statement reads. “We anticipate most campers will come from within a three-hour drive radius surrounding the property to experience a full week of camp.”
The new youth camp at the former Georgia Baptist Conference Center in Toccoa will be situated on 954 acres that include a 170-acre lake.
“Stephens County executives, including County Administrator Phyllis Ayers, Board of Commissioners Chairman Dennis Bell, and County Attorney Brian Ranck have been incredibly helpful, welcoming, and supportive,” the Pine Cove statement reads.
The Toccoa facility, at the time of its closure Sept. 30, included 240 guest rooms, a 1,000-seat auditorium, a 300-seat chapel, 41 meeting rooms, a coffee shop, snack shop and a lake-view dining room.
Facility renovations will occur until the camp opens on the property next year.
The lake and original buildings on the property were constructed by RG LeTourneau in the early 1930s.
“Pine Cove was also excited about the LeTourneau connection, as the late inventor also founded LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, where he retired,” the statement reads.
LeTourneau University is located 45 minutes from the Pine Cove headquarters in Tyler, Texas.
Founded in 1967, Pine Cove anticipates serving about 40,000 campers this summer on its 11 campuses.