Maybe it's ingrained from the way they were brought up, raised by camp counselors and campers alike. Or maybe it's the extra exposure to sunlight dappling their shoulders.
Maybe it's the camp bracelets that rest on their freckled skin. Maybe it's the constant singing and dancing that change their tune.
Or maybe it's a melody of all things camp, a melody so infectious it has yet to wear off.
Either way, there's something about them. Camp people are just different.
They always have a song for the occasion, a need to sing grace before each meal.
They wake early and aren't deterred by the idea of jumping in a lake before breakfast.
They tirelessly add bead upon bead to their bracelets, various colorful adornments snaking up their arms as the summer wears on. They know how to tie knots, turn cups into instruments, paddle a canoe, and French braid.
They know how to make others laugh and others smile.
They know how to raise a sail, how to light a fire, how to shoot an arrow, how to be a big spoon.
They know how to fill gaps of time between activities without television, Facebook®, or phones, and they know who to go to if they can't.
But most of all, camp people know that when the car stops and their feet hit that familiar camp ground, there will be people there no matter what.
Camp people know they're home.
Tamsin Andrews has been a camp kid for as long as she can remember. She currently spends her year studying at Dalhousie University and her summers working at Long Bay Camp in Westport, Ontario
Photo courtesy of Camp Walden, Diamond Point, NY.
Originally published in the 2014 September/October Camping Magazine.