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.  

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!

Suzi Pierce - Assistant Director

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.

Michael Pierce - Water Ski Director

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 - 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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Mollie S.

Hi everyone! My name is Mollie Smetana and this will be my second summer as a counselor here at Agawak, but 10th in general! I'm currently a senior in high school, but will be attending the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign for college in the fall! I can't wait to meet everyone up at camp! And of course go blue!! 

Azminda S.

Hello My Name Is Azminda Alonso Sánchez. I am 21 years old and I am Mexican. I study at "Higher Technological Institute Nochistlán" in engineering management career in the sixth semester. The school is located in the state of Zacatecas Mexico. This will be my first experience at camp and will be fascinating because I'm very excited to work in the camp. I like the life in the countryside and to meet new people, because I consider myself a very social person and I adapt to everything. I also like traveling and seeing new places.

Sophie S.

 My name is Sophie Schwartz, this is my 9th summer at camp! I live in Riverwoods, Illinois and am going to be a senior at Stevenson High School! I can't wait for this summer, I know it's going to be the best one yet!

Emily S.

 Hi guys! I am Emily and this will be my 10th summer at camp. I just finished my freshman year at the University of Michigan! You can find me at the ski docks or running the trails around camp. Can't wait to meet you all! 

Lara S.

G'DAY EVERYONE! My name is Lara Sybaczynskyj. I'm 21 years old and live just north of Sydney in Australia :) This will be my first but not last year of camp and boy oh boy am I excited to take this amazing experience to make life-long friends and to have the children at Camp Agawak forever remember me as a friend, a teacher and most importantly, someone who they can look up to as a big sister. The activities I'll be running is cycling, candle-making, camping trips and life-guarding!! woohoooo!! Can't wait to meet you all. 

Annika S.

Hey I'm Annika and I am studying psychology at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. I am originally from WI and I have been going up to the Minnocqua area since I was little for family vacations. I love to run, read, bike, eat, and do yoga. 

Sylvie S.

Hi my name is Sylvie Siegel and this is my 10th summer at camp! I am from Indianapolis Indiana and I just graduated from North Central High School and I will be attending IU in the fall. I am 18 years old and I love camp more than anything in the world! This is my second year as a counselor and I cannot wait to do it again. There is truly nothing like a summer in the north woods of Wisconsin! 

Allison S.

Hi everyone! My name is Allison Sawyer and this will be my 9th year at Camp Agawak and 1st year as a counselor. I go to Deerfield High School and I will be a senior in the fall. I am on the Cross Country team and the Track team at my school, so if you ever need a running buddy for in-one out-one, you know who to look for! Some activities I love at camp are water skiing on Blue Lake and cooking in Cookwood. I am really looking forward to the upcoming summer and I can't wait to see all your smiling faces!


Ilana S.

HI!! My name is Ilana Spitz and I am 17 years old. This will be my 9th summer at Agawak, but my 1st year on staff! I live in Glencoe and I am a Junior at New Trier High School. My favorite activities at camp are water skiing and blue and white! I'm so excited to meet you all and to have another amazing summer!! GO BLUE!!! :) 

Kimberly T.

Hi Everyone! I’m Kimberly Tuff, also known as Kimbo. I’m a Primary School Teacher from Sydney, Australia. This will be my first ever summer at Camp Agawak and I’m super excited. I absolutely love art and I can’t be away from water for more than a day... so camp seems like the perfect fit. I’m counting down the days until I get to meet you all! I CAN’T WAIT!