by Alex “Tiny Dancer” Chen
There is no exact word in the English language to describe Troy Camp, so I had to resort to another language entirely–Danish.
Hy•gge (n.): the art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive: a coziness of the soul.
I believe that Troy Camp is hygge. It is more than coziness and friendship. Hygge fosters happiness, connection, and wellbeing. This is the sort of community that I have found within Troy Camp. My campers, my co-counselors and friends I have found within Troy Camp all contribute to the sense of hygge that I consistently feel whenever participating in something Troy Camp related.
It’s impossible to exactly describe the warm and fuzzies I get when I see my cabin. What I can say, however, is the impact that TC has had on my life ultimately centers around this idea of hygge. Each moment I spend with my campers, whether we’re watching a movie together, or riding Indiana Jones at Disneyland together, contributes to that sense of hygge. Singing Purple Lights? That’s hygge too. Staring up at the stars, and listening to camp stories? Definitelyhygge. Camp and hygge just seem to go hand-in-hand.
Hygge goes beyond the camp experience as well. The empowerment and lifelong relationships that I have been able to form with students in high school have been equally similar in that they are hygge. Watching a high school senior get into her college of choice? That’s hygge. Sitting in a circle, eating spaghetti, attempting to play an insane game of Mafia with forty high schoolers at the TC Leads retreat? That’s hygge too.
Hygge is about appreciating what we have, what we give and what we receive. It’s simply about being with and connecting to the people who mean most to us, without being sentimental–yet it’s enchanting and wholeheartedly impossible to describe in words. In a way, it is entirely sentimental as well. This is Troy Camp to me.
I believe in Troy Camp just as much as I believe in hygge–which is to say, I believe in it much more than I do most things. I believe in the power of simple–yet strong–relationships that can last a lifetime, much more than I believe in overcooked kale from EVK, orange chicken from Panda Express, and coffee (trust me, that’s saying a lot)..
No matter who you are, this simple Danish principle can put a lot into perspective of what we appreciate, who we are, and why we’re here–and maybe you, prospective counselor, can find that in Troy Camp too. I know I have.
Tiny Dancer is a rising junior, studying GeoDesign, Natural Science and Public Health. At camp, he has been a 4th Grade Cabin Counselor and a Wacky; during the year he attends SMASH, LIT, and TC Leads. Outside of Troy Camp, he is a tour guide for the USC Office of Admission, a researcher for the Spatial Sciences Institute, and is an avid rock climber. He prefers satsumas to tangerines and puts Sriracha on virtually anything that could use a little spicing up