Director and Staff

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. 

Administration Staff

Mary Fried - Owner & Director

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.  

David McGowan - Assistant Director

Campers, this is my first summer at Camp Agawak and I can’t wait to meet each and every one of you! Whether this is your first summer or it’s your 15th summer at Minocqua’s picturesque Blue Lake, prepare yourself for an exhilarating camp experience filled with camp fires, water sports, friendships, and everything else that Camp Agawak offers to create memories that will last forever. As a former Apple Corporate Director of Sales, hockey and lacrosse coach, my energy and passion for youth empowerment is palpable. Get ready to hang with me, my wife Amy, and my two golden retrievers, Crosby and Bauer. If you are looking forward to summer 2018 half as much as I am, then it’s never too early to prepare for what will inevitably be the BEST summer of your life! Home is Deerfield, IL & I have four amazing kids, Jennifer, Judd , Ethan & Isabella.


Emily Gurner - Administration

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!

Chris Garcia - Office Manager

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.

Ducky D.

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!

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Maddie Abrams

Maddie cannot wait to spend her 9th summer at Agawak and first year on staff! You can find her on the basketball and tennis courts, cheering for the white team, or skiing and swimming in Blue Lake. In the fall, Maddie will be a Senior at Highland Park High School where she plays on the varsity basketball team and hangs out with friends. She is so excited for another summer at her favorite place. 

Amanda Amiel

Hi! My name is Amanda Amiel and I am from Highland Park, IL and I am senior at Highland Park High School. This will be my tenth summer at Agawak and my second year on staff!! I enjoy spending time with my campers whether it's singing around our table during meals or playing games in the cabin!! You can find me on the ski docks helping new and returning campers and biking to Kawaga. My favorite evening program is Blue and White!! I cannot wait for another summer at the best place on Earth! Counting down the days until I can watch the sunsets on Blue Lake. As always, go White!!

Mela Baldan

Mela Baldan is a fun and energetic character, that loves being active. Mela studied ballet and contemporary dance for 15 years where she competed in international competitions. Mela is currently studying to become a Primary School (elementary school) teacher at the Australian Catholic University. Caring and nurturing are strong characteristics of Mela’s, she hopes to pass on her confidence into other young woman around the world. “Strength and belief, will always get you through” is one of Mela’s favorite quotes to go by, it reminds her that the bullies are not worth her energy. Mela look forward to meeting all the campers and experiencing Agawak fro the first time! 

Abby Barnes

Abby is excited to be joining Camp Agawak for the first time this year! Hailing from Sydney Australia, Abby has a bachelor degree in Marketing and is taking a break of the office life to be outdoors and by the water with the campers! In Australia she is a Girl Guide leader and loves reading, swimming, traveling and most of all chocolate! 


Rachel Camera

Rachel is 27 from Melbourne, Victoria. She has been a Registered Nurse for 7 years with specialties in paediatric life support, education and post-operative recovery room.  When shes not wearing scrubs she can most often be found in lycra, teaching Body Flow as a group fitness coach and headstanding her way across the globe. This is her first summer at Agawak, having previously done summer camp in New York and she can not wait to meet you all!

Carlos Antonio Castelar

“Hello parents and campers who are reading this, the name of this guy is Carlos Castelar and he is from Mexico. Carlos is a mechanic´s student and a music lover, one of his hobbies is to play rock music in his electric guitar, and sometimes the drumset. Carlos also likes to go for a walk and read Sci-Fi books.  Carlos is a maintenance guy and this is going to be his second summer in Agawak, for that reason He is so excited for this summer comming”.

Alondra Chapuli

Hi, my name is Alondra and I really hope this will be the greatest summer of my life. I’m 19 years old, and I’m from Puebla in Mexico. I’m studying at the university at the Benemerita Universidad Autonoma De Puebla, that is the university public university in Puebla, my career is about be a professional chef, so you could imagine that I love the kitchen and to cook for others, my dream is to open my own restaurant in the future with my brother. Some of my hobbies are to cook of course, to swim and why not to go in a bike. Now I’m going to practice swim 4 days at week, and never school I have a half time job in a small restaurant serving breakfast. I’m going to the camp to work as a helper of kitchen, and I’m rally exciting to going to Agawak camp, to meet new people and of course make new friends and make new memories for all my life. See you all soon.

Delaney ( Laney ) Collins

Delaney (Laney) is extremely excited for her first summer at Camp Agawak! From dancing all throughout middle and high school to teaching dance, Laney is overjoyed to use her experience to teach dance classes at camp! She will be a sophomore this coming fall at UW- Eau Claire, and is working to achieve her degree in Elementary Education. Laney is eager to participate in camp fires, canoeing, and creating lifelong memories here at Camp! (She also loves a good alliteration). 


Aimee Cruickshank

Aimee is super excited to be heading to camp Agawak from Sydney, Australia for her very first summer.  Being from Australia it’s no surprise she loves everything to do with the water but her favourite thing is paddle boarding and loves sharing that passion with others; she can’t wait to do just that with all the girls at camp as a part of the waterfront team. Aimee has worked in travel for the last 7 years and been lucky enough to visit over 24 country’s within her 25 years. This has given her many fun stories, life skills and experiences, but most importantly the meaning of appreciating what you have and looks forward sharing all of this with her new found friends at camp.






Zoe Diamond

Zoe Diamond is so excited to be back at camp for her 9th summer!! Zoe is currently a junior at Rochelle Zell High School! At home Zoe loves to hang with friends, laugh, and dance! Zoe loves kickboxing as well! Zoe loves camp, but one of her favorite programs is food olympics (because who doesn’t love food!) Zoe also enjoys dancing on top of tables while screaming her lungs out to songs in the lodge, even if there’s no music playing. Zoe is beyond thrilled to be back at camp for her first time on staff and can’t wait to experience it with her new campers!