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.  

Chris Garcia - Associate Director

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.  Prior to working at camp she was an Asst. VP at Milwaukee based mortgage company.  Over the years at camp, Chris has worked year round doing many of the office responsibilities. Chris is looking forward to getting out and about more this summer.  She also coaches the local swim club ten months out of the year and the boys and girls high school swim teams.  From time to time, Chris even 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 when not at college.

Denise Salit - Activities & Program Director

Hi! I'm Denise Salit and I’ll be your Activities and Program Director for the 2019 camp season. As a past Agawak camper, counselor and Assistant Director I feel like my life is coming full circle. Agawak is such a special place to me as many of my happiest memories come from my home away from home Up North. During the school year, I am a teacher in Lake Bluff, Illinois and have taught reading to children for 27 years. I have a passion for teaching children & connecting with their families.

My family holds camp near and dear to our hearts. My daughter followed in my footsteps as an Agawak camper and counselor and my boys have "camp in their blood" too. How could they not, as my husband Dean and I met on the shores of Blue Lake (literally) 28 years ago when we were both on staff. I am excited to be a part of your daughter's summer. 2019 is sure to be full of fun, excitement, life lessons and tons of happy memories.

Sara Mervis - Director of Cabin Life, Srs & Inter.

Hello from Sara Mervis! Having spent 15 years as a camper, counselor, waterfront director, tripping coordinator and coordinator of director affairs, I am thrilled to rejoin the Agawak administrative team. I’ll be wearing a few different hats this summer as the Director of Cabin Life for our junior & senior campers, CIT Director and assisting the admin team in the office. My daughters, 11 and 7, are 3rd-generation Agawak campers. With parenting insight, I will be supporting campers and parents throughout the summer. Currently, I teach special education to 3-5 graders and l am also a Wilson tutor. In my spare time, I enjoy swimming, tennis and camping. I can’t wait to spend this summer with each of you.

Melissa Kramer - Programming Coordinator

Hi everyone! My name is Melissa Kramer and I’ll be your Programming Coordinator and part of the admin team for the 2019 camp season. This will be my 13th summer and 7th year on staff! I’ve recently graduated from The University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign in Community Health but will be continuing my education to become a Nurse in the Fall at The University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing. I’m counting down the days until I get to be back on Blue Lake, eating ducky’s pizza, watching campers ski, signing campfire songs, and being at my home away from home! I can’t wait for another amazing summer on Blue Lake!

Charlotte Patterson - Director of Cabin Life, Juniors

Charlotte cannot wait to be back to Camp Agawak for her fifth summer! She is completing her sophomore at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, majoring in Human Development & Family Studies and Psychology. Charlotte is excited to work with the juniors this summer as their division head. She will also continue to work in the office with the administrative team, as well as handle communication with parents. You might also catch Charlotte hanging out by the waterfront helping our rookies learn how to waterski. She is a member of the Min-Aqua Bats, and the campers (& staff!) love going to cheer her on in her shows.

Ducky D.

Hi, I'm Ducky and this is my 25th 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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Martin A.

Martin is a responsible, enthusiastic and active person. Raised in a lovely family, he has learned essential values like respect, honesty, tolerance, equity, love, and loyalty. He loves basketball and pizza! It's going to be his first time abroad and he's very excited to have been hired to work in Camp Agawak this summer, 2019.

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!!

Farah Baria

Hey Im Farah, but most my friends call me faz or fazzy. This is my first summer at Camp Agawak  which makes it all the more fun and exciting. You’ll find me down at the tango tower and also candle making, which I am super super excited about! *FUN FACT ALERT* IM A PROFESSIONAL HAIRDRESSER AND MAKEUP ARTIST. One of the many reasons why I am super pumped for camp this year is being an instructor on the tango tower, reasons being is when I was younger I used to be scared of heights but I had one instructor that took the time to guide me through that fear and being able to over-come was the best feeling.I LOVED going to school, learning new things and having fun with friends, but I think the main reason why was because of my teachers they made it that fun environment to learn new things but they also created the best atmosphere that made you feel comfortable to be express yourself and just have fun learning.That is definitely one thing that I am going to try and create at camp this year. 

*FUN FACT ALERT* MY INITIALS SPELL OUT ‘F-A-B’. I'm so so excited for camp this summer to meet you all and get to know you and have the best summer ever!! 



Marley Berk

Marley cannot wait to spend her 10th summer at Camp Agawak! As a camper for 8 years, and now her second year on staff she couldn't imagine spending her summer anywhere else! As a graduating senior at Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, IL, she is unsure where she will be studying next year, but is excited to be studying government wherever she lands. In her free time Marley loves to dance, and spend time with friends! She is on Poms and Orchesis at school, and volunteers tutoring kids! Marley is excited to have another summer kickboxing away in Happy Camper Hall, and you can always find her singing as loud as she can in the lodge with all her friends! 

Thanks so much! Can't wait to have a great summer! 

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.

Gemma Elliot

Gemma couldn’t be more excited to travel from Adelaide, Australia, to spend her first summer at Camp Agawak! She will share her love for the outdoors and being active, when working at the Tango Tower. Being her first major trip away from home, she’ll be sure to bring a jar of Vegemite and favourite chocolate! 

Libby F.

I am 20 years old and live in a small town of Victoria, Australia called Leongatha near the coast! This means I love getting outdoors and going to the beach and all the beautiful national parks we have nearby. I live with my parents and my two younger siblings, Holly and Wil. Currently, I work as a Teacher's Aide (Teacher's Assistant) in a Prep Classroom at a local school! As well as this, I am also studying Psychology at University. I love anything creative which has lead to me being hired to teach Arts and Crafts at camp! I can't wait to get over there soon and look forward to meeting you!

Yadira Ferrer

My name is Perla Ferrer, I’m from México and I study nutrition, as part of my school practice I’ve been at food service, hospitals and kindergarten. One thing I love to do since I was little is to travel, the first time I travel alone was when I was 11 years old to Tulsa Oklahoma as an exchange student, the second one was when I was 18 years old to Europe also as an exchange student, I visited France, Switzerland, Belgium and Spain. But this is my very first time in the US as a worker, and I can’t wait to have another adventure to tell to my family and friends. One of my plans to future is to get a master degree in oncology in pediatrics and work in a hospital. I look forward to meeting everyone. See you next summer!


Claire Finlay

Claire is very excited to be flying all the way from Melbourne, Australia to be spending her first summer at Agawak! Claire enjoys her dancing, netball and swimming. As a qualified swim teacher at home she loves to watch her students grow, learn new skills and have fun. Claire is looking forward to immersing herself in the American culture and meeting new people.