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Troy Camp Celebrates Its 10,000th Child

Students from East and South Central Los Angeles enjoy a weeklong camp in California’s San Jacinto Mountains.

Photo/Celia Carter

After nearly 60 years of service, USC’s largest and oldest philanthropy organization, Troy Camp, is celebrating a major milestone: sending its 10,000th child to camp.

The celebrations began this past fall with an informal party for counselors, campers and their families at Baskin Robbins in University Village. In honor of the occasion, the store donated $500 to Troy Camp.

A formal banquet on April 1 for Troy Camp alumni, donors and friends at Town & Gown will round out the festivities. The evening will include a silent auction, dinner, speeches and presentations by the Troy Camp Executive Board.

Troy Camp, an organization run by students and supported by funds, was created in 1948 by USC alumnus Otis Healy ’50. Each year, USC student volunteers take 200 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders from East and South Central Los Angeles to a weeklong camp at Idyllwild Pines in California’s San Jacinto Mountains. There, they enjoy a week of hiking, athletics, arts and crafts and a Dream Curriculum in which they share their dreams and goals with counselors.

“Troy Camp really provides a childhood that everyone needs to experience,” said Krystina Nguyen, the group’s director of alumni and public relations. “For some of the kids, it’s the first time they’ve traveled outside of Los Angeles. One of my campers last year even told me that it was the first time that he had ever seen a star.”

Once the campers return to Los Angeles, their experience continues throughout the following year with monthly activities reuniting the youngsters and counselors. Past excursions have led to the Long Beach Aquarium, the Los Angeles Zoo, USC sporting events and Disneyland.

The campers are chosen from a pool of applicants nominated by teachers at 15 local schools, including USC’s Family of Five. The students are selected based on their perceived need for a week away from the city and year-long mentorship from the counselors.

In addition to the annual San Jacinto trip, Troy Camp sponsors several other projects. The Student Mentoring and After-School Help (SMASH) program brings tutors to four local elementary schools for homework help, science experiments and mentoring.

A new middle-school leadership program, Leaders in Training, helps former campers prepare for college and develop leadership skills. Students develop and host events for the current Troy Campers, including a day of field games.

The organization relies on the USC Neighborhood Outreach Grant as well as vigorous student-led fund-raising efforts that include the annual Pass the Can at the Los Angeles Coliseum, which raised more than $35,000 at last year’s homecoming football game.

Nguyen credited Troy Camp’s dedicated group of student volunteers with the program’s success.

“The counselors are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met,” she said. “They’re all so genuine and warmhearted and completely devoted to helping the kids.”

For more information, visit or e-mail Donations can be made to USC Troy Camp at the Office of Activities and Orientation, 3607 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90089.

Troy Camp Celebrates Its 10,000th Child

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