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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Blair Morris

 Hi everyone! My name is Blair Morris and I am from Deerfield, Illinois. I just completed my freshman year at the University of Wisconsin Madison, and I am excited to go up north for the summer! This will be my 11th summer on blue lake and my 3rd as a staff member. I am so excited to run blue lake, water ski, and sing and dance in the lodge with all of you!! This summer I will be planning evening programs, and I cannot wait for all the fun nights ahead!! Counting down the days until we are back on blue lake together!! :)


Lucy Okmin

Lucy Okmin is finishing junior year at Deerfield High School in Deerfield, IL. This will be her 8th summer at camp and her first on staff! At her school, she is apart of the cross country and track team. At camp you can find her eating in the lodge, running in one out one and cheering for the white team!!  She is counting down the days until another summer at the best place, and cannot wait to meet you all !!!

Charlotte Patterson

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 the president of the Min-Aqua Bats, and the campers (& staff!) love going to cheer her on in her shows. 

Julia Paull

Julia Paull can't wait to be back at her favorite place on Earth this summer, for her 7th summer and first summer on staff! Julia will be a senior at Highland Park High School next year. At home, Julia loves yoga, watching movies and spending time with her friends and family. As a trained lifeguard, you can expect to find Julia at the waterfront this summer. She is also a pro-reflector and can't wait to revive and lead the reflections program. Julia loves everything about camp, one of her favorite programs is campfire. She also loves impromptu lodge dance parties! Julia is super duper excited to be a counselor this summer and share her love for camp with her campers.

Morgan Paull

Hi everyone! My name is Morgan Paull and I am from Northbrook, IL. This will be my tenth summer attending Agawak and my second on staff. At camp you will usually find me on the basketball courts, jogging, or even cooking! I am most looking forward to helping everyone improve their basketball skills, as I am a long time player and always loved participating in basketball as a camper. I am so excited to meet you guys and to see all of the returning campers faces for another summer!! When camp ends, I will be attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign!! GO ILLINI!!


Sophie Plattner

Hi everyone! My name is Sophie Plattner & I am super excited as i will be returning for my 3rd summer on staff & my 11th summer on the beautiful shores of blue lake!! I study communications at Northern Arizona University and I will be a sophomore in the fall. One of my favorite things Agawak has to offer is waterskiing! Thats right you guessed it, you will be able to find me at the ski docks & eating Duckys pizza allllll summer long! Also I am so excited to be your newest Final 4 commissioner!! I have already started counting down the days until the busses roll into camp and the fun begins!!! This summer is going to be the best one yet!

Emma Plattner

Emma Plattner is wrapping up her junior year at Catalina Foothills High School all the way in Tucson, Arizona! This will be her 9th summer at camp and her first on staff! She enjoys swimming competitively and hanging out with her friends! This summer you can catch her life guarding down at the water front, helping out at the ski docks, kick boxing in happy camper hall, and cheering on the white team! She is counting down the days until she is back on Blue Lake and she is extremely excited to meet you all!


Samantha Poole

Georgina also known to friends as “Geo/ G or George” has come from Manchester in the UK and is very excited for her first summer at Camp Agawak and her first summer as a camp counsellor. Georgina is studying performing arts at college and loves to shine on stage. This is Georgina’s first time in America and she can not wait to meet lots of new and lovely people and experience real camp life.


Ashlee Richards

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! 


Sol Alarcon Rodriguez

Ave del Sol is absolutely excited about going back to Camp Agawak for second year. She is from the international staff and is on her final year of university. Her bachelor’s degree will be English and she also speaks little French. She loves doing outdoors activities such as mountain hiking, trail running and kayaking. She is very chatty and is very passionate about learning other people’s culture. On her spare time she enjoys exercising or reading English literature. She is very happy to come back to Agawak to meet all her old friends and make new ones.