We heard about Ponacka through word of mouth – the way that many parents find out about it. But by then, my son had already missed what would have been his first eligible summer at age eight. The following year we enrolled him for two weeks and fretted terribly when he seemed homesick. But he enjoyed it enough to want to go back the next season. But by then he'd be 10 and would have to go for four weeks. That thought unnerved me enough that I considered that we'd skip that year and he could go back when he was 11.
But he wanted to go so despite my misgivings, we packed him off for the looooongest four weeks of my life. I expected to hear that he'd be homesick again and would want to come home early.
He loved it. Four weeks was better than two weeks. What I hadn't realized is that the four weeks gave him enough time to get over missing home and totally immerse himself in camp life. He had a chance to fully familiarize himself with all the activities, make new friends and enjoy the entire cycle of games, rituals and discoveries.
That was the beginning of one of the most important influences of his life. He told me several years later that he learned almost as much from camp as he learned from his father and me. And he went on to become a CIT, counselor and program director. I'll always be thankful that we discovered Camp Ponacka when we did.