WHAT IS PONACKA?Camp Ponacka is an exceptional boys camp in Ontario, offering 1, 2, and 4-week sessions for boys 6-15. Established in 1947, Ponacka is a community where each boy truly counts and belongs; where each camper gets the opportunity to learn, have fun, make friends, and challenge himself in a supportive environment. 2020 Rates & DatesRequest Information
4 REASONS TO CHOOSE PONACKA
FREEDOM AND CHOICE
Ponacka’s program allows each boy to choose his own schedule of activities each day, because making his own choices helps him become more independent and confident.
Only swimming lessons and some canoeing lessons are compulsory — everything else is up to him!
Developing skills is an important part of camp. Each boy can choose what he wants to do and enjoy learning a wide variety of skills:
- On the water - sailing, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, scuba, waterskiing; and
- On land - horseback riding, nature, arts & crafts, woodworking, pottery, aerial ropes, climbing wall, archery, bushcraft (survival skills), and lapidary (stone cutting and polishing)
See A Typical Day for more information on our programming.
As our children’s world increasingly makes use of technology, time at Ponacka is a precious opportunity to “reset”:
- Texting is replaced by conversation;
- Streaming by singing after breakfast and at campfires; and
- Watching videos by creating one’s own entertainment.
Camper accommodations do not have electricity.
FAMILY & COMMUNITY FOCUS
Founded in 1947 by Gwen and Bruno Morawetz, Ponacka has been directed by their daughter Anne and her husband Don Bocking since 1985. Their daughter Laura Bocking now works full time for Ponacka as the third generation.
Home Visits: Each spring, Ponacka's directors visit each first-year camper in his home (distance permitting), to answer questions, learn more about each boy and introduce ourselves to his family.
Introductions: Within days of arriving at camp, each boy is introduced by name and hometown during a meal in the Dining Hall.
Writing Home: All Ponacka parents receive a scanned handwritten letter from their son’s counsellor, a few days after arrival, providing an update about his initial camp experience. Each boy is encouraged to write home.
Visitors Weekend: We encourage all parents & families of four-week campers to visit during our mid-month visitors weekend (either the Saturday or Sunday).
Christopher considers Ponacka his “happy place” and would be there 12 months a year if he could! We will be forever grateful that Ponacka has been such an important player in his development. We are amazed at how he has grown in confidence and leadership abilities over the years – we credit a great deal of that personal growth to the safe, supportive environment that you create at Ponacka.
As a Phys Ed teacher for 30+ years, I have gotten to know many camps and their unique atmospheres very well. I would rank Ponacka as one of the best camps anywhere as far as its ability to provide a stable, nurturing environment where boys are able to test personal limits without fear of bullying, competition or being ostracized. This is a difficult thing to achieve, especially for an all boys camp. I know how much effort it takes to develop and maintain such a positive space, and I want you to be reminded that your hard work is appreciated by so many boys and their families. What better legacy than being responsible for creating the place that so many wonderful young men consider to be the source of their happiest memories and the experience responsible for shaping them into empathetic, confident and strong leaders.
ANNE MORAWETZ (BNSC) & DON BOCKING (MSW)
Camp Owners & Directors
Welcome to the Ponacka site! After 35 years of directing Ponacka we now enjoy working with our daughter Laura and her husband Nick.
To prospective families, we look forward to answering your questions and telling you more about Ponacka!
As we start to prepare for 2020, our 74th season, we feel very fortunate to be working with so many fine young people. Welcoming 2nd, 3rd and now 4th generation campers is a highlight!
LAURA BOCKING (BNSC, RN) & NICK SMART (BCOMM, CFA)
2019 was one special summer! In August Nick and I welcomed our daughter Lennon into the Ponacka family and we could not have been more delighted. She was welcomed by an energetic, hilarious and hard-working group of young boys, men and a few fantastic women – it was the best possible debut!
As the third generation of directors, we continue to take on more responsibility for the safety, well-being and growth of the boys and staff in partnership with my parents. We look forward to welcoming both new and returning campers to Ponacka for summer 2020!