Anne Morawetz (BNSc.) & Don Bocking (MSW.)
Camp Owners & Directors
In this everchanging world, camp is one of the few places where time really does stand still. Ponackians, some in their 70’s, gathered at Ponacka in June 2022 to celebrate Ponacka’s 75th season and to reminisce about their camp days decades earlier. Memories kindled laughter, wistfulness and a sense of community that remains strong over time.
The legacy of a camp experience includes happy memories, deep friendships, and a sense of belonging.
We continue to strive for excellence in providing the same experience for our campers in 2023 and beyond.
Laura Bocking (BNSc. RN)
2022 was a busy summer! With two tiny humans in tow and the amazing support of super nanny Evie Clarke it was another wonderful summer. I really enjoyed welcoming back our international campers and staff and the sunshine all summer long was a bonus. I was grateful to be able to celebrate the 75th season of Ponacka with Don and Anne and so many Ponackians young and old.
The June alumni weekend brought many second generation families back to camp and was a reminder of the timelessness of Ponacka. When alumni return they often remark that it feels as though nothing has changed, decades later. I feel fortunate to play a part in creating the same Ponacka experience for the next generation and look forward to welcoming the Ponackians of summer 2023!
Read on to hear what our staff say about working at Ponacka:
2021-2022, Assistant Head Cook
2022 was my second summer at Ponacka. I worked as an assistant cook in the kitchen and thoroughly enjoyed learning transferable skills, working with the rest of our wonderful kitchen staff and getting to personally know staff and campers outside of the dining hall. Each year I am surprised by how mesmerising the camp environment is, both in terms of our beautiful physical surroundings, and the caring attitude everyone holds. Throughout the rest of the year, I study at Queen’s University in their nursing program (BNSc.), yet I never miss an opportunity to tell an anecdote from camp. That’s one of my favourite parts of summers at Ponacka, actually. No matter how quickly the summer goes, when I leave I have an endless amount of life changing stories to tell and feelings so unique that they cannot be put into words. Camp Ponacka is truly timeless and I cannot imagine another place to have grown and made such influential connections, even during my short time here.
2021 - 2023, Laundry Manager
2022 was my second year at Camp Ponacka. When I first came in 2021 I was originally only supposed to stay for July, but after only a few days of being at Ponacka I fell in love with the beautiful environment and amazing people. I decided to stay the whole summer. In only my short time at Ponacka I’ve grown so much as a person, gained strong friendships, and learned numerous social, work, and life skills that I utilize everyday. I’m Currently in my final year of high school and there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not reminiscing about camp. Whether it’s a camper telling you what exciting thing they did at programs or a staff member asking how your day is going, Camp Ponacka is the type of place where everyone is family and you’ll never feel unwelcome. I’m forever grateful for the home that Camp Ponacka has provided and continues to provide for me each summer.
2014 - 2023, Head of Climbing
This will be my 9th summer at camp, and my third on staff. This summer I’ll be returning as the head of climbing, making me responsible for the maintenance and facilitation of the climbing wall and aerial ropes course. In addition, I get to run the rock climbing cookout on Blueberry Island; arguably the coolest camper experience available at Ponacka. During my time on staff, I’ve primarily been a counsellor for the oldest groups, where I have been able to lead amazing canoe trips in Algonquin park with some great groups of campers. In my opinion the best part of camp (and the reason I keep going back) is the people. Camp is full of incredible people, which is the result of how camp encourages everyone to be their best self. I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with some of my oldest friends, and with this amazing group of campers. Outside of camp I am in my second year at Queen’s University, studying mining engineering with a focus on improving industry sustainability. I love to climb, ski, and skateboard, and I can’t wait for this summer!
2009-2023, Assistant Director
This will be my 14th summer at Camp Ponacka and my 7th year on staff. This will be my third year working in our office, as the Assistant Director this summer. Previously, I was a counsellor for the youngest kids at camp, which brought me joy and many amazing memories. Additionally, I was teaching on the swim dock helping kids pass their swimming levels, in the beautiful waters of Lake Baptiste. The part I love most about camp is that there is an atmosphere where everyone is friends. Whether it’s a first-year camper or a seasoned staff member, we all know each other, and we all care about each other. Every year we return, it is like we have never left. I have been privileged in life for the opportunity to attend camp, and for the fact that most of my friends I met in my first year age 10, returned to camp year after year, with us all becoming staff together. We are still having fun and learning from the campers every year, as they teach us as much as we teach them. When I’m not at Ponacka in the summer, I live and work as a residence don at a boarding school in Lakefield. I will be going to teacher’s college soon! However, my time at camp will always be the greatest education in life I will receive.
2009 - 2023, Program Director
This year will be my 12th year at Ponacka and my 4th on staff. My role as Program Director this summer will involve overseeing the staffing, enrollment and programming of the daily activities that campers will sign up for. In previous years, I have been a counsellor, head of canoeing and Activity Director. When I am not at camp, I spend my time studying for a philosophy degree at the University of Guelph.
In my opinion, the beauty of camp is that it is the most entertaining, fulfilling, enjoyable and healing aspect of my life while simultaneously being the biggest source of my personal growth and development. Even after 12 years at Ponacka, my parents still comment at the end of each August that it seems like I’ve come back as an entirely new person. On top of this, camp has provided me with an everlasting connection to nature and some incredibly strong friendships which I will carry with me forever.
2009-2023, Activity Director
This will be my 14th summer at Ponacka and my 5th on Staff. As Activity Director, I’ll be responsible for planning and running various camp wide activities including an evening program every night, as well as cookouts and Sunday games every week. Previously, I’ve taught Waterskiing and Sailing, and served as CIT Director. I’m beyond excited to return to Ponacka for another summer, which confuses some of my friends. I’m asked somewhat regularly why I continue to go back year after year on staff. The answer is simple: it’s the people. I spent 8 years at Ponacka as a camper, being taught amazing life skills by these incredible role models who gave up their summer in order to work at Ponacka. I didn’t realise until becoming a staff member that it wasn’t a sacrifice at all. I get to work alongside some of my oldest friends and continue to create meaningful new friendships every year and share skills I love with a remarkable group of young boys. Outside of camp, you’ll find me at Wilfrid Laurier University, Where I’m currently pursuing an Honours Political Science degree and daydreaming about being on the Ponacka Waterski dock.