Why Ponacka?


Ponacka is a community where each boy truly counts and belongs.  Each camper gets many opportunities to learn, have fun, make friends and challenge himself in a supportive environment, which builds self-confidence and independence.



Ponacka's program offers freedom and adventure within a structured day, with lots of personal choice to build independence: each day, every boy signs up for his own activities (space permitting). Learning to care for himself and become more responsible are vital parts of the Ponacka experience.


We want every boy at Ponacka to be productive and learn skills. Each boy chooses his own activities each day, so he can do what interests him.

Activities and courses focusing on skill-development include:

Archery, Bushcraft (survival skills), Swimming, Sailing, Windsurfing, Canoeing, Arts & Crafts, Horseback Riding, Pottery, Woodworking, Nature, Lapidary (stone cutting and polishing), Waterskiing, Kayaking, Scuba, Aerial Ropes, and Climbing Wall. 

See A Typical Day for more information on our programming.


Digital technology is not part of the Ponacka experience, and we are proud to provide boys a "tech-free" experience! None of the camper accommodations have electricity, which gives boys the chance to truly live in, and appreciate, the natural world.


Ponacka was founded by Bruno and Gwen Morawetz in 1947, and their daughter Anne Morawetz and her husband Don Bocking have directed the camp since 1985. Now their daughter Laura and her husband Nick Smart are working with Don and Anne as the third generation of camp directors in the family.

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.


“There are certain things a boy can best learn at camp:  to fit into a group, to live away from home, to care for himself and his belongings, to depend on himself, to develop initiative.  To ‘grow up’.  It is important that this learning is accompanied by a feeling of success, a feeling Ponacka aims to provide for each boy, every day. In many ways, the first camp experience is a boy’s first time facing the world at large. At Ponacka, a tremendous effort is made to make this first step enjoyable, happy and successful.”


— Bruno Morawetz, Ph D., Founder

The Ponacka Spirit

The “Ponacka Spirit” inspires gratitude for life, taking personal responsibility, learning forgiveness, humility and an appreciation of the natural world.  It is embodied by each staff member and CIT (Counsellor-in-Training), and is both ‘caught’ by spending time at Ponacka, and intentionally taught. One can hear it in “Morning Talks”, where staff share their wisdom each day after breakfast.  Overall, the ‘Ponacka Spirit’ is one reason why Ponackians (alumni) say their summers at camp were the highlight of their childhood.