USC's Beta Sigma chapter of the Kappa Alpha fraternity began Troy Camp as a community service project in 1948, "partially motivated by the obvious need of the communities surrounding USC and partially as an answer to rival UCLA’s own community outreach philanthropy (Unicamp)." In the camp's first year, the fraternity took 70 elementary school boys from the East Side Boys Club (now the East L.A. Boys and Girls Club) to summer camp for a week of outdoor education, fun and bonding activities outside of the Los Angeles area. One of the project’s founding members, Otis Healy (USC Class of 1950), has remained a major source of support for Troy Camp’s continuation and growth.
The project grew rapidly in popularity among students, opening its membership to women and non-Greeks a few years later. Coupled with this growth was a change in the nature of the organization: in 1965, Troy Camp counselors Harry Grant and Bobby Godfrey decided they wanted more time with the kids than just the one week of camp, but realized they would have to work with kids who lived closer to USC for that to work. In 1966, Troy Camp began handling its own recruitment of children from the area. The organization was then able to incorporate events throughout the year, beginning with a Christmas party and later adding a beach trip and a USC football game. By 1970, the follow-up programming included an event for the children at least once a month. In the spring of 1970, Troy Camp expanded its focus beyond elementary school through the institution of a Junior Counselor program for former campers now in high school. The inaugural class of 16 junior counselors included former camper Margie Buckingham, who went on to attend USC and serve as the Director of Troy Camp in 1977.
Around the same time, the organization developed Pass the Can, a fundraising event held every year at the USC homecoming football game. To continue supporting itself, Troy Camp has more recently begun grant-writing efforts in 2001 and a charity auction in 2003, now transformed into its current fundraising Gala. The growth in funds has allowed Troy Camp to deepen and expand its work with children in USC’s community. Yearlong programming now includes bimonthly events as well as a variety of in- and after-school programs. Additionally, Troy Camp has sought and seen an increase in the number of schools it serves and the number of campers that its members mentor. A new program entitled "Leaders In Training" was added in spring of 2006 for camper alumni in middle school to stay connected with the organization, form more personal relationships with counselors, and prepare for high school and higher education.
Troy Camp's week of camp was held at Idyllwild Pines campground in Idyllwild, CA from the early 1990s until 2008. It has since been relocated to Forest Home campground in Forest Falls, CA.
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