For over 25 years, Mary Fried, owner and director of Camp Agawak has brought heart, passion and hands-on leadership to an extraordinary and diverse camp environment. Mary has been “camp mom” and role model to thousands of campers and staff since 1989. She holds a masters degree in Educational Psychology and has dedicated her life to working with children. Her experience as an elementary and middle-school counselor makes her a resourceful and compassionate director. Mary’s breath of talent, combined with her enthusiasm for working with children creates a camp culture that is as extraordinary as it is fun. She is an active member of the American Camping Association, the Midwest Camping Association, the Wisconsin School Counselor Association, and the American Counseling Association. Mary lives on the camp property year round with her three children, Jaclyn, Jacob and Joshua.
As any good camp director will tell you, the key to a successful summer is the caliber of the staff. Implementing a dynamic program and maintaining a beautiful facility is only meaningful if our staff supports the mission of providing a safe and nurturing camp environment for our campers. The selection of quality staff is given top priority. We look for the “cream of the crop”……the best of the best.
At Agawak we select sensitive, enthusiastic, exceptional people who are dedicated to working with children. Our staff is composed of undergraduate and graduate students, teachers, coaches and high school students who love camp, the outdoors and working with children. Agawak staff members are high spirited, passionate individuals from around the country and world who want to make a positive difference in the lives of our girls.
In addition to the vast amount of rigorous, on-site training that our staff receives during pre-camp, they also go through intensive online training with industry professionals from Expert Online Training.
Emily Gurner has been at Agawak since 2000 where she started as a camper. She was a counselor for three years and now part of the administrative team. Emily is from Deerfield, IL and attended Indiana University where she earned her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. She also is a Learning Behavior Specialist. Emily currently works as a 7th grade special education teacher at Shepard Middle School in Deerfield. Emily is an integral part of the administrative team and absolutely loves it. She handles day-to-day communication with parents. Emily is looking forward to her 17th summer and can't wait to be back at her favorite place in the world and her happy place, Agawak!
Camp Agawak was joined by Suzi Pierce in 2008, who became our Activities Director and then our Assistant Director. Suzi works closely with Mary, throughout the year, on the day to day operations of camp- planning and implementing programs, activities and making sure that everyone is having fun, being safe and has a smile on their face. She brings a wealth of experience with her to Camp Agawak. Her love for camp started as a young camper at Wisconsin Porter Gymnastics Camp. She grew through the ranks during her 16 years as a camper, counselor, head coach and member of the senior staff. Her love of gymnastics continued on during her career as the Director of 2 different gymnastics clubs in Idaho. Suzi is the mother of two boys, Ben and Max. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Suzi has lived in Idaho since 1993. Suzi was introduced to the Camp Agawak family by Mike Pierce (MP) and they wed in 2010 on the Shores of Blue Lake. Suzi is looking forward to another great summer in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin.
Mike Pierce started at Agawak in 1993. Mike, who is known both in and out of camp circles as MP, is the director of our water ski program. As a member of our administrative team, MP also assists our staff with programming, staff training, and tripping program. In MP's, 30 plus years in camping, he has been a camper, counselor, swim instructor, water-front director, tripping program leader, photographer, and ski instructor. Our campers and staff lean on his experience and expertise. MP holds a Master's Degree in Fine Art, and spent over a decade as a Professor of Art at UW-Milwaukee, The Milwaukee School of Art and Design (MIAD), and Concordia University- Wisconsin. MP is married to Suzi Pierce, our Assistant Director. They have two boys, Ben and Max. They reside during the off-season in Boise, ID.
Chris Garcia joined the Agawak crew in 2008 and is a Minocqua native. After gaining an undergraduate Finance degree from Carroll College in Waukesha, she went on to receive a Masters degree in Administration from University of Whitewater. Chris thoroughly enjoys the office life of number crunching, report running and day to day operations that go on "behind the scenes". She works year round at Agawak, but also coaches the local swim club seven months out of the year and the boys high school team. From time to time, Chris lends a hand to the waterfront giving swim lessons or lifeguarding. As a mother of four, she also gives out hugs when needed or an extra ear to listen. Chris lives in Hazelhurst with her husband, Robert and children; Nick, Hanna, Jack and Georgia.
Hi, I'm Ducky and this is my 22nd summer here at Agawak. I have been the head cook longer than any of our campers have been alive! I look forward to another summer of making everyone happy with healthy, delicious food, including all the faves- Pizza, Grilled Cheese on Tuesdays, BBQ Chicken and of course...Pasta Bar! Can't wait to see you all very soon!
Hi, my name is Heather and I will be one of the camp nurses this year! I have been a counselor for 3 years at Agawak and recently finished my BSN at the University of Sioux Falls. I also have a BA in exercise Science from Simpson College (IA). I grew up in South Dakota but love to call Wisconsin my home in the summer. I can't wait to be back on Blue Lake!
Hi! My name is Amanda Amiel. This will be my ninth year at Camp Agawak and my first year on staff! My favorite activities are water skiing, cooking, and cheering for the white team! I live in Highland Park, Illinois.
HEY GUYS!!! I'm Lucy and I'm 23 years old from Newcastle, Australia. This will be my 3rd summer at camp. When I'm not at camp I'm a barista at a cafe. I cant wait to be back on the shores of Blue Lake. Bring on camp 2017!
Hi everyone! My name is Samantha, I'm 19 years old and will be a sophomore at the University of Michigan. This will be my 10th summer on Blue Lake, and my third summer as a counselor! I love water skiing, dance, blue & white, and my all time favorite camp activity is singing at campfire! I can't wait to spend another summer at camp! Go blue!!
Hi everyone!! My name is Marley Berk and I will be a senior at Glenbrook North High School in the fall. This will be my 9th summer at camp, but my first on staff!! I'm so excited to meet all of the new campers and have another amazing summer back on Blue Lake with everyone! Go White!!!
Hello! My name is Holly Bellamy, I’m 24 years old and I’m from England, this will be my first year working at Camp Agawak! I finished my studies last summer so I’m now a qualified Primary School teacher, I’m also a qualified dance and acrobatics teacher and I currently run a dance company alongside my sister in my hometown. This summer at camp I’ll be coaching Gymnastics and I can’t wait! I'm so excited to meet you all, see you soon!
Hi everyone! My name is Pavel, but "call me Pavy" :) I am from the Czech Republic and I will be teaching photography. .....and making your kids laugh! This is my 9th year at camp and it will be a great one! Camp - that's where the heart is...
Hi! My name is Caroline Bercu and I'm going to be a senior at New Trier High School in the fall. I've been going to camp since I was 8 years old and I can't wait to provide others with the same experience that I had. My favorite things about camp are skiing on blue lake, playing tennis, climbing the Tango Tower, and cheering for the White Team!! Can't wait to go full speed ahead!
Hi I'm Tori Boorstein! I am 18 years old and will be a Freshman at the University of Michigan in the fall. This is my 9th summer at camp and I love everything about it! You will be able to find me dancing around camp, cheering on the blue team, and eating some of Ducky's pizza! Some of my favorite activities at camp are water skiing, singing at camp fire, and anything that has to do with the Fourth of July! I look forward to meeting each and every camper in the summer! FIKEY IKUS!
Hi Everyone, my name is Courtney Bainbridge and I'm 19 years old, from Melbourne, Australia. I'm looking forward to my first year at Camp Agawak! I will be demonstrating my skills to the girls at camp in the fishing program but also on the Tango Tower! I can't wait to meet you all in June, see you soon!