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Our History

In 1960, Max Rice sold his share of the family-owned Rice Mill textile manufacturing plant in Belton to work fulltime as a lay Christian minister. As an extension of his evangelistic ministry, Max and his wife, Vivian, opened Look Up Lodge on 230 acres off Hwy 11 in Travelers Rest, SC.

Originally founded as a sports summer camp with a Christian emphasis, Look Up Lodge offered year-round weekend retreats for churches and other groups. Rice founded the retreat center “for the enrichment of the spiritual life of the participants and the deepening of their personal relationship to Christ,” and as a place where guests could “seek to learn from God’s Word the function of the Church, the meaning of discipleship, and the role of the layman in the world … mainly through Bible study, discussion, testimonies, sharing and prayer.”

Since that time, Look Up Lodge has grown from a 50-bed retreat to its current capacity of 400, and has remained true to Rice’s original vision. Although no longer dedicated to sports, Look Up Lodge’s Christian summer camp program and year-round retreats continue to minister to children, youth and adults from churches all over the Southeast. Look Up Lodge is known for sound biblical teaching presented in a relevant and memorable format, and many church groups return to Look Up Lodge year after year for a time of renewal, teaching, and fun.

One of the hallmarks of Look Up Lodge’s ministry is its sense of family that now extends to three generations. Rice’s son-in law, Tim Wilson, served as a camp director for 16 years, and Rice’s grandson, David Wilson, served as a summer camp staffer in 2005.

Look Up Lodge’s current director, Greg Boone, came to Look Up as a 9th grade camper in 1981. As a college student, he worked as a Look Up Lodge summer camp staffer for four years, during which time he met another summer staffer named Leanne, who would eventually become his wife. After serving as a youth minister in Stone Mountain, Georgia, Greg returned to Look Up Lodge in 1997 to become program director. One of Greg’s summer staffers that year was a young man named Brian whom Greg had once brought to Look Up as a camper—and now Brian is on our Board of Trustees.

The camper-to-staffer connection continues today: this past summer, two-thirds of the summer staff had at one time been campers or had been impacted by a former Look Up staffer.

In 2005, Look Up Lodge had a change in ownership. Rice originally founded Look Up Lodge as a part of his non-profit Lay Christian Association. After an 11-year period under the ownership of Jim Spry, Look Up Lodge has returned to non-profit roots and is governed by our Board of Trustees.