Why Ponacka?


Ponacka is a community where each boy truly counts and belongs.



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.


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).


“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.