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  • Type:
    Overnight camp
  • Focus:
    Traditional (multi activity)
  • Cost:
    $2,600/2 weeks
  • Ages:
    6 to 15
  • Gender:
    All Boys
  • Main language:
    English
  • Capacity:
    150
  • Programs:
Request more info
Don Bocking, Anne Morawetz & Laura Bocking
  • Summary Profile

    About Camp Ponacka

    Building better boys since 1947, Ponacka is family-owned and operated with home-grown counsellors. Boys return home from Ponacka with more confidence, self-reliance and new skills. Their safety, happiness and development are our priority. Friendships formed and lessons learned about how to manage in the world make Ponacka one of the best investments parents can make.

    • Special needs: Not available
    • LGBTQ+ friendly community



    Video Gallery


  • Programs, Rates & Dates

    Programs and Sessions Calendar

    Choose the right programs and sessions for your child; Camp Ponacka currently has 3 programs available.

    Filter activities available:


    Name
    Type/Gender
    Specialty
    Location
    Date
    Bus
     Cost
    Email
    Overnight Camp
    All Boys
    Ages: 6 - 7
    Traditional (multi activity)
    $1,400/week
    Bancroft, ON
    376 Ponacka Road
    Jun 30-Jul 06$1,400/week
    Bancroft, ON
    376 Ponacka Road
    Aug 01-06 $1,400/week
    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
    Overnight Camp
    All Boys
    Ages: 7 - 10
    Traditional (multi activity)
    $2,600/2 weeks
    Bancroft, ON
    376 Ponacka Road
    Jun 30-Jul 13$2,600/2 weeks
    Bancroft, ON
    376 Ponacka Road
    Jul 14-27 $2,600/2 weeks
    Bancroft, ON
    376 Ponacka Road
    Aug 01-14 $2,600/2 weeks
    Bancroft, ON
    376 Ponacka Road
    Aug 15-28 $2,600/2 weeks
    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: 7 - 15
    Traditional (multi activity)
    $4,600/month
    Bancroft, ON
    376 Ponacka Road
    Jun 30-Jul 27$4,600/month
    Bancroft, ON
    376 Ponacka Road
    Aug 01-28 $4,600/month
    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



    Financial Aid & Payment Details

    Payment Options:

    Deposit required with acceptance Yes
  • Insider Reviews & Perspectives

    The Our Kids review of Camp Ponacka

    our take

    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.  



    Editor's Review

    Editor’s Top 3: Camp Ponacka

    Hear the three things that Our Kids’ editors see when they look at Camp Ponacka



    User reviews of Camp Ponacka  — Read all 5 reviews


    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 ... Read More

    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 ... Read More

    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 ... Read More

    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 ... Read More

  • Location & Site Details

    Address

    Bancroft, ON
    376 Ponacka Road, Highland Grove, Ontario, K0L 2A0
    Peterborough, ON
    1735 Fifth Line, Peterborough, Ontario, K9J 6X5
    The Beach, Toronto
    16 Hartford Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4L 1N9



    Accommodations

    Sleeping Accommodations

    • Cabins
    • Platform Tent

    Washrooms Facilities

    • Outhouses
    • Showers (indoor)

    More details about accommodations: Our junior section campers live in cabins and our senior section campers live in large platform canvas tents. In the junior sections, each group has a cabin that is home to 8-10 campers as well as two counsellors. In the senior section, each group has two large platform tents, each tent is home to 5 boys and one counsellor. All campers have their own bunk and set of shelves. All groups have their own table in the dining hall where they eat together during each meal.

    Are meals provided? Yes

    Is Camp Ponacka technology free? Yes We are a 100% tech free camp. Campers are not permitted to bring tech devices. Any technology brought to camp will be confiscated. Exemptions are made for international campers travelling with cell phones or campers requiring accommodation. Upon arrival international campers turn in their devices for safe keeping, to be returned fully charged prior to departure.



    Property Details

    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

    More details about property: Ponacka is located on 160 acres of shoreline and forest on beautiful Lake Baptiste. The camp is at the end of a peninsula looking out onto crown land. We are fortunate to be located in the west bay of Lake Baptiste and enjoy a quiet section of the lake. There is good wind for sailing and windsurfing but our bays provide sheltered areas for swimming and canoeing. Acres of wooded trails are enjoyed by the boys who like running, mountain biking or horseback riding.



    Associations

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


  • What's New

    Director's Message

    Don Bocking, Anne Morawetz, Laura Bocking, Owners/Directors
    Don MSW, Anne BNSc., Laura BNSc. RN

    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.

     

     



    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!... Read More



    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.

      ------

      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



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