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Camp Ponacka

376 Ponacka Road Highland Grove, Ontario, K0L 2A0 Locations: Virtual Program (view map)

Ages:
6 to 15 (All Boys )
Type:
Overnight camp
Specialty:
Traditional (multi activity)
Cost:
$2,500

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  Don Bocking, Anne Morawetz & Laura Bocking
  Phone Camp

About this camp

Camp Ponacka
 

Building better boys since 1947, Ponacka is operated by the Morawetz Bocking family. All counsellors are home-grown. In the woods, by the lake, boys can just be boys. They learn skills, make new friends, have tons of fun and a break from home, school and technology.

Over decades, Ponacka has given thousands of boys opportunities to develop confidence, resiliency and independence. Parents tell us at the end of every summer, how much their sons have "grown up". 

Ponacka is a long term investment at significant cost to parents who recognize the experience is transformative. The boys become staff who excel at team work, initiative and communication.  Preparation for life and the world at large starts at summer camp!


The Our Kids review of Camp Ponacka

 

Founded in 1947, Ponacka has been family run for more than 70 years, providing a wonderful continuity to the programming and the culture of the camp. It was founded very much in the vein of what Taylor Statten was doing at Couchiching and the Algonquin camps that continue to bear his name today. Namely, these programs based in woods-lore and campcraft—all the most traditional camp activities—in order to promote confidence, social interaction, and a set of core values. Then, as now, that's why families turned to Ponacka. The all-boys atmosphere is attractive as well, giving boys a unique space to develop and grow into a sense of themselves and their talents.  


Session Calendar

Choose the right sessions for your child. Filter by activities below. (Currently showing 3 of 3 sessions)

Available Sessions:

Name
Type/Gender
Specialty
Location
Date
Bus
Cost
Email
Overnight Camp
All Boys
Ages: 8 - 15
Traditional (multi activity) $4,400 to $4,400
Bancroft,ON
376 Ponacka Road
Jun 28-Jul 25 $4,400
Bancroft,ON
376 Ponacka Road
Jul 30-Aug 26 $4,400
Rope courses|Wilderness Out-tripping|Wilderness Skills|Guitar|Piano|Theatre Arts|Arts & Crafts|Pottery/ceramics |Woodworking|CIT/LIT Program|Nature/Environment|First-aid/lifesaving |Archery|Basketball|Board Sailing|Canoeing|Fishing|Hockey|Horseback Riding/Equestrian|Kayaking/Sea Kayaking|Mountain Biking|Ping Pong|Rock Climbing|Sailing/Marine Skills|Soccer|Swimming|Ultimate Frisbee|Volleyball|Waterskiing/Wakeboarding
Overnight Camp
All Boys
Ages: 7 - 10
Traditional (multi activity) $2,500 to $2,500
Bancroft,ON
376 Ponacka Road
Jun 28-Jul 11 $2,500
Bancroft,ON
376 Ponacka Road
Jul 12-25 $2,500
Bancroft,ON
376 Ponacka Road
Jul 30-Aug 12 $2,500
Bancroft,ON
376 Ponacka Road
Aug 13-26 $2,500
Wilderness Skills|Guitar|Piano|Arts & Crafts|Pottery/ceramics |Woodworking|Archery|Basketball|Canoeing|Fishing|Hiking|Hockey|Horseback Riding/Equestrian|Ping Pong|Sailing/Marine Skills|Soccer|Swimming|Ultimate Frisbee|Volleyball|Waterskiing/Wakeboarding
Overnight Camp
All Boys
Ages: 6 - 7
Traditional (multi activity) $1,350 to $1,350
Bancroft,ON
376 Ponacka Road
Jul 05-11 $1,350
Bancroft,ON
376 Ponacka Road
Aug 09-15 $1,350
Wilderness Skills|Piano|Arts & Crafts|Pottery/ceramics |Woodworking|Archery|Basketball|Canoeing|Fishing|Hiking|Hockey|Horseback Riding/Equestrian|Ping Pong|Sailing/Marine Skills|Soccer|Swimming|Ultimate Frisbee|Volleyball|Waterskiing/Wakeboarding
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Camp Address
376 Ponacka Road, Highland Grove, Ontario
Other locations: Virtual Program

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Camp Ponacka
Camp Ponacka
376 Ponacka Road Highland Grove, Ontario, K0L 2A0
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Reviews & Testimonials


Thoughtful Considerate Leader
Katie - Ponacka Parent 2019 — Parent

Ponacka has been a transformative experience for Cam. He has learned to be a more thoughtful and considerate person and has developed leadership skills. We are very grateful for this!


2 to 4 week Transition
Lisa - Ponacka Parent 2019 — Parent

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.


Happy Confident and Unplugged
Andrea - Ponacka Parent 2019 — Parent

Thank you for giving Pierce another fabulous experience at camp! It's 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.


Engaged Counsellors
Tara & Warren - Ponacka Parents 2019 — Parent

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.


Belonging and Personal Care
Christine & Tico - Ponacka Parents 2019 — Parent

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!



Accommodation & Property Details

Sleeping Accommodations

  • Cabins
  • Platform Tent

Washrooms Facilities

  • Outhouses
  • Showers (indoor)

Sports facilities

  • Archery Range
  • Basketball Court
  • Climbing Wall
  • Horseback Riding Arena (indoor/outdoor)
  • Rope Course
  • Soccer Field

Landscape

  • Beach
  • Forested Area
  • Lake/Pond/River
  • Nature Trails
  • Open Field


Upcoming Events

upcoming events
  • April 21, 2020Toronto orientation evening for new campers and their families
    Leaside Memorial Gardens, William Lee Room, 1073 Millwood Rd, Toronto, Ontario
    Join us Tuesday, April 21 from 07:00 pm - 08:00 pm

    All first year boys and their families are invited to attend. We introduce the new boys to each other and show our 2019 video. Local counsellors, CITs and Anne, Don and Laura (owners/directors) will be on hand to meet the boys and parents. Prospective families wishing to learn more about Ponacka are most welcome. Refreshments will be served! Please RSVP to [email protected]


  • April 28, 2020Oakville Gathering for new and returning campers
    Oakville Public Library, 120 Navy St., Oakville, ON
    Join us Tuesday, April 28 from 07:30 pm - 08:30 pm

    All first year and returning boys and their families are invited. We will introduce the new boys to other Ponacka campers and show our 2019 video. Local staff and CITs will be on hand to meet the boys as well as Anne, Don and Laura, the directors/owners. Prospective families wishing to learn more about Ponacka are most welcome. Refreshments will be served! Please RSVP to [email protected]


  • May 01, 2020Ottawa Gathering for new and returning campers
    Parkdale United Church, Tape Hall, 429 Parkdale Ave., Ottawa, ON
    Join us Friday, May 01 from 08:00 pm - 09:00 pm

    All first year and returning boys and their families are invited to attend. We will introduce the new boys to other Ponacka campers and show our 2019 video. Local staff and CITs will be on hand to meet the boys as well as Anne, Don and Laura, the owners/directors. Prospective families wishing to learn more about Ponacka are most welcome. Refreshments will be served! Please RSVP to [email protected]



Director's Message

Don Bocking, Anne Morawetz, Laura Bocking, Owners/Directors

For over 35 years, we have directed Ponacka, taking over from Anne's parents, Bruno and Gwen Morawetz. Bruno purchased the land that is now Ponacka in 1946 and over many years, he and Gwen created this wonderful place, which Bruno described as a "happiness factory".

In 2015, our daughter Laura and her husband Nick, joined the Ponacka team. Laura, having grown up at Ponacka and trained as a public health nurse is a huge support to us and our staff and campers. We look forward to transitioning Ponacka to the third generation. 

Ponacka strives to give every boy a happy camp experience while providing opportunities to learn to live independently, to learn to live with others and make his own decisions. During the four week stay each summer, boys develop authentic and lifelong friendships.

Through the attainment of skills, boys develop self confidence and a willingness to take risks and try new things. Skills learned in childhood provide opportunities for lifelong enjoyment, whether in a sport, music, drama or art.  With over 20 activities, each boy can find his niche, often surprising himself with a newfound passion. Camp is an ideal place to try on the "world at large" independent of family and the comforts of home. Trying new foods, new physical challenges and exposure to a few discomforts (rain on a canoe trip or sore muscles from the ropes course) all help to develop personal growth. 

From the initial contact with the parents, to the home visit prior to arrival, we try to make each boy feel included and a part of the Ponacka family.

 

 


Cost & Financial Aid

Cost: $2,500 /2 weeks

Payment Options:

Deposit required with acceptance Yes

Stories


A mothers perspective, 15 years later

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.

 

...



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.

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For more information on "Why 4 Weeks?" click here

For more testimonials click here 

...



From an appreciative Mom, August 2017

“ As the stories unfold, it always astounds me how so much living can be packed into one month. Thanks for fostering and supporting Murray’s individual interests and providing such a warm and caring environment. Murray can’t wait for next year."

...



Comments from a 5 year camper, August 2017

“Cameron always returns from camp having had an outstanding experience. He says, “I can’t believe that a whole month has gone by already”.

...



From a first year camper's Dad, August 2017

 

'Peter had a wonderful time at camp this past summer and is very excited to

return. I think it's the only reason he has agreed to continue weekly

swimming over the winter. Thank you for being such a motivating force."

...



After camp....

From the time he went to sleep until the moment he woke up he did not stop talking about camp - in fact he is still talking! 

Once again he LOVED his time at Ponacka.

We wanted to extend the warmest of gratitude to you, Anne and Don, because it is clear that without your leadership those boys and the staff would not have even an ounce of the character and joy that they do. Our Jack is so incredibly happy - to the core - after coming back from camp. He soaked up every single moment. Last night at our own back yard camp fire where he made the fire - log cabin and all! - he said, "Dad. Thanks for sending me to camp". When a kid has genuine appreciation for an experience you know it must be an amazing place. He has embraced all the wonderful attributes of being a boy and has returned once again confident and counting the days until he returns! "Next year, four weeks mom"!

Thank you. Thank you.

To his counsellors: Jack absolutely loved and admired his counselors from last year and this year he has once again returned with the same feelings. The beginning and end of each day with your child are moments a parent cherishes, knowing you were there for our boy at those times and knowing you are trying to be the role models we hope him to have, is worth so very much. Jack spoke highly of the two of you and watching you hug him the way you did upon his (late) departure, means more than words can describe.

With warmest regards and deep appreciation.

...



Learning Independence and Resiliency

Hi Anne and Don

At the end of September Tye was explaining that a few kids had left Dalhousie University because they were home sick. He told me that he was fine because he was used to being away after spending so many summers at camp! He was loving being on his own at school! I was thinking how great it would have been to hear those words way back when Tye was 8 years old and we were sending him away for his first 2 weeks.Thanks for helping to build the much needed confidence kids need to be successful in the real world. Looking forward to seeing you next summer!

Take care, Jackie

...



In the News

October 15, 2015 - PONACKA TURNS 70!

Since 1947, Ponacka has been in the Morawetz family. Most traditions and values have not changed since its inception! ...


Associations

  • Canadian Camping Association/ Association des camps du Canada Associations
  • Ontario Camps Association Associations
  • Ontario Equestrian Associations


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