History

In 1961, the late Jeff D. Tygart of Nashville, a dedicated Methodist layman with a keen interest in children and youth, gave the Valdosta District a 20 acre tract of land on a high bluff overlooking the Withlacoochee River in Berrien county. The land was given as a site for a rustic Christian camp for youth and adults, to be used for recreation, study and Christian fellowship. The name of the camp was chosen to honor "Brother Jeff" on his passing.

The first camp meeting on the site was held in 1971, under a borrowed canvas tent that required a two-ton truck to move and several funeral home tents. Chairs were borrowed from area churches, a piano was borrowed from the Lakeland church, an electrician ran wiring for lights and a sound system and portable altars were set up. Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets served as offering plates. Dr. Tom Watson preached Sunday through Tuesday night and Dr. Jack Key preached Wednesday through Friday nights. Dr. Loyd Shaw of Lakeland led the singing and Mrs. Madeline Peters of Lakeland was the Pianist. Rev. Vernard Robertson presided. Attendance increased each night of the week, despite the rain.

On Friday evening, prior to the benediction, Rev. Robertson stood before the people and asked how many would like to have a tabernacle built. Every hand was raised. He asked how many would contribute to the building of the tabernacle and again, every hand went up. In the fall of 1972 a new tabernacle was raised. The first service in the tabernacle drew a crowd of over a thousand.

Camp Tygart continues to be a site of spiritual renewal for United Methodists of the South Central District and for numerous other church groups. The camp hosts regular retreats, summer youth camps and serves as the home for the South Georgia Walk to Emmaus. The Ministry of the camp will continue to grow as additional services are offered.