See what parents and campers have to say about Ponacka!
Liam had an amazing time! It was his first year and he was so excited about everything he experienced from food to counsellors to activities! Liam felt very cared for by the staff.
He loved his counsellors in his cabin; Torin and Graeme. Liam said the staff were amazing and he had so many great opportunities to learn new sports and activities and felt supported.

York Canada, August 2023

Angus came back raving about his camp experience. I think Angus felt very supported and safe at camp. We were very impressed with Torin when we met him at drop off.

Angus loved all of his counsellors.


Waterloo Canada, August 2023

Pete had an amazing month at camp. He is regaling us with camp stories! We observed how kind and respectful the counsellors were with the boys. There is a comfort that we haven’t seen in other environments – it’s very special. Pete came home happier and more independent than when he left. He is proud of his accomplishments and seems confident in himself in a way that he wasn’t before. Thanks for providing such a wonderful environment that has helped him grow!

Anita & Jeff

Toronto Canada, August 2023

Luke was happy heading to camp and was very positive about his experience. We felt very positive about the warm and nuturing environment at camp.
It was evident at our parent visit day, and the focus on key values, dignity, respect, fun and caring was also evident in the theme of chapel. We’re so pleased with the communication, responsiveness and care shown by the leadership and staff. Luke spoke so highly of his counsellor Jamie – he clearly was a positive role model. Thanks for a wonderful summer camp experience for Luke!

Oakville, July 2023

A toast to the Ponacka Spirit – I first want to express how thankful I am to be here right now and doing this toast. It means so much to me. I’ve been coming to camp ever since I was 8. Over the years I’ve been here, a lot of people asked me why I love camp so much and why I keep coming back. And it’s always hard to explain to them why. I bring up skinnies and doubles, they are never sold on that. So when I was asked to do this toast I genuinely didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what the Ponacka spirit was. Then I finally realised that it’s not one thing and it’s different for everyone. But there is one part of the spirit for all of us. The feeling. It’s the feeling of joy, challenge, accomplishment, laughter, good times and a feeling that every person from Lakeview to the Gatehouse, truly belongs and has their place here. Ponacka is like no other place this way. It doesn’t just feel like a home. It is a home. When Okimau started Ponacka back in 1947, he didn’t just start another summer camp. He started a feeling that burns bright in each and every Ponackian. That is the spirit of Ponacka. As camp comes to an end and we start this evening’s festivities, let’s make sure to acknowledge the Ponacka spirit in all of us. 


Camper, August 2023

As a first-time camper we were a bit worried that Elliot may have a bit of a hard time transitioning and making friends. Our expectations were far exceeded, and we are so happy with Elliot’s experience.


Mississauga, Canada August 2022

Leo always comes home talking about his counsellors and CITs. He has benefitted a lot over the last two years from having older boys to look up to and to go to for guidance. I have heard multiple stories about the wisdom of your young staff. They’ve also inspired him to take more seriously leadership and academic opportunities.


Toronto, Canada August 2022

Gray absolutely loved camp! We had been worried about him being homesick, but it does not seem as though he experienced any at all! I’m so pleased to hear all about his new skills (sailing, canoeing, etc.), and he can’t wait to return!


Philadelphia, USA July 2022

I am very happy that Andy had the pleasure of attending Ponacka for two weeks this summer. He came back and told me a lot of interesting things that he experienced. He enjoyed getting up every morning and jumping in the lake. He introduced each horse’s name to me, and he loved the activity of horseback riding. The counsellors were very friendly and took care of him, and the friendliness of the kids also made him feel warm. I’m glad he’s growing up and I appreciate your dedication! Hope he comes back to this family every year.


Vaughn, Canada August 2022

I just want to thank you for all you did with our kids. They had a wonderful time in Canada at Camp Ponacka. Santi, who at the beginning was very worried to go, told me it was the most wonderful experience he could have, and Emilio said the same.


Merida, Mexico August 2022

Thank you for the wonderful month Charlie had at Ponacka. He is still regaling us with stories about the friends he made and all the fun things he got to do (last night he went online to find a map of his canoe trip route to show us – a big deal considering he was initially a little worried about going on a longer trip!).

His counsellors were fantastic, the activity staff were fantastic, the way the days were structured was fantastic, as were the activities and programs themselves – he came home proud and happy and enthusiastic and I really can’t thank you enough!


Oakville, Canada August 2021

We were so grateful to be able to send the boys to camp, especially this year.

Owen said last night, while he was at camp, he forgot all about COVID. Camp has been a big reset for him, bringing our joyful boy back to himself.

As well, for Emmett, beyond the envelope of evaluations he brought home, the accomplishments he made this past month we can see in his quiet confidence and to be surrounded and mentored by a group of kind young men is such a gift.


Ottawa, Canada August 2021

I have heard Sam say this was the best summer yet a couple of times.  Going from 2 weeks to 4 weeks was a big step for him, but it was better than expected!

Each year I think the counsellors or CITs cannot get any better, and then they do.  Always very impressed when we have the opportunity to meet his counsellors.

We are very happy to have Sam come home raving about this summer’s experience and activities.

We can’t say enough good things about Ponacka.


Toronto, Canada August 2019

Every year Sebastien comes home a happier, stronger version of the self that went to camp. He was excited to go this year, but still came home a little happier, stronger and full of joy and confidence. And he’s got his laundry on already. As always, he came home clean (how is that even possible?), healthy, well fed. Also he said he had no moments of anxiety at all at camp. Sebastien came home so full of joy. He had a FANTASTIC year at camp. He came home with tales, all positive and totally exhausted from the final night. And to my “horror” he came home my height!


Toronto, Canada July 2018

The counsellors appear very engaged. Appreciated that they did their “homework” and knew a bit about my son prior to the drop off on day 1. Really liked and appreciated the letter from the counsellor after week one. Both Korben and Zaiden had another great summer at camp. Boys like all the activities, get a lot out of their “trips” to Algonquin and have very good things to say about the counsellors.
Tara & Warren

Richmond Hill, Canada July 2018

Charles looks forward to Ponacka all year. He returns to us more confident, independent and grown up after spending his August with you, your staff and the campers.

Scott & Emily

Toronto, Canada

Seggie had a great time at camp. He is enthusiastic about going back again next year. I’m very happy that Seggie is a Ponacka camper.
Renata & Justin

Toronto, Canada August 2018

William loves camp Ponacka, this year was fantastic. It lived up to all his expectations (which says a lot about how wonderful camp Ponacka is). He anticipates and looks forward to camp all year, and each year is as good as the last. William feels safe and happy for the duration of camp. It is the only place that he feels 100% content and where he feels he belongs/fits in. He always goes through a couple of days of sadness/anger when he gets back home and needs to reacclimatize to home life. There is no worry that his personal care and safety is ever in danger at Ponacka. The camp has a quality about it that you can feel as you enter. The staff is top notch, very good role models and care takers. They show empathy and kindness, a broad spectrum of human emotion that men may sometimes hide in the general public. It is a wonderful place for the boys to build their “soft skills”. We are yet again very thankful that William has had the opportunity to spend a month of the summer in your care. He is happier, healthier and more content. Ponacka helps William get through the other 11 months. We are blessed to be able to send him, he will be back again next year.

Aiden had a wonderful time at camp. It’s a place he loves to go to and a place he feels at home. We feel very fortunate that we have found a place where Aiden can be himself. Ponacka is one of the first things we budget for when our year finances are looked at. There is a perfect balance of safety and risk at Ponacka. I am happy that the boys are still able to cliff jump and rough house and that they do get bumps and bruises. They thrive at Ponacka. I have never seen such great leadership and quality of staff anywhere. You can feel the difference in mood when you enter camp from the outside world. It’s a magical place or bubble that the boys enter for one month a year. Where they can be themselves. Ponacka has continued to be everything the boys expected. When they look back to the 4 years they have been, each year is as great as the last. they are never disappointed. They thrive and rejuvenate at Ponacka. The program, the staff and their cabin mates all contribute to creating a place where they can get away from it all and be themselves. Thank you. It’s the best thing for these boys!

Christine & Tico

Midland, Canada July 2018

I love camp Ponacka. I loved everything.


August Camper 2018

I think camp was an unqualified success. I could not be more pleased, both because I know how much fun Anders and Kaes had, but also because of how they’ve grown. 

As you know, the boys really liked doing so many things there– some I was sure they would, and others I didn’t expect– didn’t even tell them about, like lapidary, and chapel. I wasn’t sure they’d like morning singing (how could you not?), but they are still humming camp songs. Anders, who had a professed aversion to lakes, and fish, and swimming, came back with a half mile swim under his belt. Who’d’a thunk? 
No amount of badgering from their mother has ever brought about their making their own beds willingly. Both boys are now doing that, unasked. They empty the dishwasher without being asked. I’ve noticed they are more open to the world in general. If you tell them how they might do something better, they now welcome it more. They openly express gratitude, unbidden.

New York, USA August 2023

I also want to tell you how thrilled Tyler was with his experience this summer with your program.  He came back such a changed young man. He seemed much more confident and self assured. 

Tyler mentioned  what great people were at camp and that your daily talk each morning was his favourite part of the day. 
Definitely both boys will be attending this summer!

Toronto, Canada August 2023

As Ben’s first experience away from family, it couldn’t have gone better! Looking forward to next year!

Greg & Larisa

Ottawa, Canada August 2023

Pierce had his best year yet and just loved camp! Every letter he wrote included fabulous highlights of achievements, activities he was trying for the first time, and ways he was recognized, felt proud, and was having fun. So wonderful! The reports once he got home were even better! We loved hearing about the skills he was learning and awards he received. He feels like an important member of a close community and wants to keep in touch with everyone!


Toronto, Canada August 2022

We are impressed with the leadership demonstrated from the junior counsellors and up. It has obviously had a big impact on Benji. He has come home a “better boy” and I can tell from his demeanor, super cheerful singing, and hugs that he had a fantastic time, and that he will miss you all dearly – until next year!


Toronto, Canada July 2022

Your staff really do care about the boys. Arthur talks non-stop about all the staff members he liked and admires – they made a BIG impact on him!


Stratford, Canada July 2022

Colin greatly enjoyed his first camp experience. I was pleased to see he had been encouraged to push himself and try new things! We felt confident sending Colin to camp after interactions and chats with Anne and Don. The counsellors were terrific and clearly had made the effort to connect with Colin.



Ottawa, Canada August 2022

Oh my goodness, we cannot thank you enough for the experience and community Gavin found at Ponacka! He absolutely had the BEST time. He talked (or sang) non-stop ALL the way home. From the second we saw him at camp the stories just started to roll. We read the tripping stories out loud in the rag bag on the drive home, often crying laughing. Still, a week-plus later the stories are still rolling. Our boy, is full to the brim from his time with you all. Thank you for your care, leadership and guidance from the morning talks, to chapel, and modelling an inclusive community….it means so much to us and we are so grateful for the blessing you have all made on Gavin’s life. He has every intention to return next summer and is already thinking about what skills he can develop and contribute as part of the staff one day!


Penny & Simon

Toronto, Canada July 2021

Thank you directors, support staff, and others for all your hard work and making this month happen. I was really happy to get to come back for another month at Ponacka and am hopeful I get to come back next year for my sixth year. Make sure you thank my counsellors, Parker and Connor, for all they did for me and my tent-mates.
Looking forward to seeing all of you again next year.


Halifax, Canada July 2021

First off, thank you for everything!!! 

Lance and I were really impressed with how everything was handled on our/Lachlan’s arrival to camp!   Thought it was prudent to send this email, as we arrived home today with a totally different child, thanks to the experience that he had this past week.  The growth, development, and confidence is FINALLY exuding from our child, who has always had the potential, but has always been stuck.    

We had not even departed the parking lot, and he was already asking to come back again next summer (which is of course the plan).  One of his new friends (Finn, whom I understand is related), had said Lachlan was smart.  Lachlan told me, it was the first time that a peer had ever said that to him, and it meant the world to him.  That was just one of the memorable experiences that he has had this past week.  We also wanted to say that Tyler, Gardiner, and Noah could not have been more supportive of Lachlan – please extend this thank you to them, with THANKS, as we know he can be a total handful!   We cannot wait to see how this experience will impact him over the course of this year.  


Barrie, Canada August 2021

It was awesome.  It felt like 3 days, and I’m going for a month next year!


August Camper 2019

Alex loved camp. He did seem to miss home more than Zachary, but keeping them together really helped. He is excited to go back in 2019. Impeccable care. I love that their emotional health is just as important as their physical. Zachary was in his element at camp. He loved every part of it. Zachary said he didn’t feel anxious as much, but when he did his CIT really helped him calm down. I was so impressed with everyone at Ponacka. We could not have had a better experience in 2018. The kids will be back for 4 weeks next year.

Nick & Nicola

Kitchener, Canada July 2018

I am deeply grateful that Oliver had a positive and happy camp experience. I appreciate how much work and planning must go into each year. Thank you and see you next year!

Kitty & Dana

Toronto, Canada August 2018

Thank you for giving Pierce another fabulous experience at camp!  Its amazing to see him come home feeling so happy and confident, and excited to share all of his awesome camp stories.  He is involved with so many wonderful things at home, and yet – I can already see that Camp Ponacka is something so different and special for him.  We are lucky to have such an amazing place for him to go to challenge himself, be unplugged in nature, and make new friends.  For his experience, and for everything you do to make it all happen – we are truly thankful.

Andrea & Rob

Toronto, Canada August 2019

It was our first year so we didn’t know what to expect. Elliot came back so happy and excited. I would have liked more communication from the camp while he was there – at the same time I understand why you don’t do it.
Andrea & Gordon

Toronto, Canada August 2018

Once again Parker had an awesome time at camp! Overall, it appeared that despite the terrible meals (only on trip) the canoe trip was a great success for him. Having a sense of knowing he can endure has definitely increased his confidence. Also he loves PHL and PBA. Excellent leadership and quality of staff. It’s funny, it doesn’t appear to be the organized discussions that have the most impact, but instead the bonding that happens off line, in down time. Great laughter and inspired to try to new things, like guitar. So overall, it’s your leadership Don and Anne together with your young leaders that so helps enrich Parker’s life and why he keeps coming back. Thank you again for giving him this wonderful opportunity and experience. It’s life changing.

Toronto, Canada August 2018

Alex came back from camp all enthusiastically. He thanked us for having sent him to camp all these years – and we remember that he didn’t like it the first few years. So the persistence paid off and we are very grateful. Each time after camp Alex has grown as a person. He comes back very kind and helpful. This must be linked to the quality of the staff. Louis seems to have been the youngest, but I think he did fine. Just after returning, he said that camp was “good”. That’s already quite high praise for him – he’s a critical mind. I had no doubt that he’s always been in good hands. Another great year at camp for Olivier. Many thanks, I think Olivier is ready for the 4-week camp next year.
Lori & René

Toronto, Canada July 2018

The Importance of a One-Month Experience

At first the thought of 4 weeks away sounded like a really long time for our “little boys” but once there it is clear why this is an essential part of the Ponacka program.  

Picture any holiday – usually a week, if you are lucky two – it takes several days to wind down at the beginning to get to enjoy time away, then several more to wind back up at the end to prepare to get back to the “real world”. Not really much time to actually enjoy and get much from the time away. Time really does fly when you are having fun. Ponacka gives the boys the gift of 4 weeks to really make the most of their experience.  Not only do they get to completely settle in, being comfortable with the routines, make their tent/cabin their home and get to really know the people around them, but they also get to truly develop new skills in activities that simply can’t get done in any shorter period of time. They have time to go on a real canoe trip into the wilderness, play a meaningful season of PHL, and earn entire swimming levels, and high level canoeing, riding and sailing levels. Most importantly though, 4 weeks gives the boys the time and space to truly develop their independence, social skills, self esteem, and make true friends for life. Our boys have both been at Ponacka for over 10 years.  We can’t imagine a better experience in their lives any other way.

Kim Morrison

Camp Doctor, 2007-2019

Kim with sons Aaron and Corey
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