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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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! 

Lily Emalfarb

Lily Emalfarb is beyond eager to be back at Camp Agawak for her ninth summer, and first summer on staff! Lily is finishing up her junior year in high school, and is looking forward to spending her summer on Blue Lake. Lily is excited about returning to such a loving and accepting environment with her sisters, and she can't wait to make new memories! Lily is involved in her high schools Newspaper and Art/Literary magazine, and when not in school, Lily can be found at DePaul University and the Jewish United Fund where she is a Research Training Intern studying both Gender and Women's studies. She loves all forms of art, reading, writing, watching movies, and playing her guitar and singing! She can't wait to be back at Agawak soon!

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.

Lindsay Fisher

“Hi campers! My name is Lindsay Fisher and I am from Atlanta, GA. I just completed by freshman year at Vanderbilt University and I’m so excited to be back on blue lake! This is my 11th summer at Agawak, and my 3rd as a counselor. You will probably find me teaching kickboxing and planning fun Blue and White activities as a commissioner. I can’t wait to see everyone again and to meet all the new campers! FULL SPEED AHEAD!!!!”

Katie Fisher

Hi everyone! My name is Katie Fisher, I’m 18 years old, and I’m a freshman at the University of Minnesota! I’m studying graphic design and love spending time with my friends and cheering        for the Gophers! This summer you can find me dancing down the black path with the juniors on the Fourth of July, drawing in arts and crafts, meditating in yoga, and loving Friday night pizza! This will be my eleventh summer at camp, and my third on staff! I can’t wait for this summer and hope it’s the best one yet! 


Emma Fogel

Emma Fogel is so excited to be returning for her 7th summer at Agawak and first year as a counselor! You can find Emma making necklaces in jewelry making, swimming and skiing in the lake. At home Emma participates in her school clubs GIMA and key club and she has also enjoyed playing badminton at her school for the last 2 years. She loves to hang out with friends and family. She is counting down the days until she arrives on Blue Lake and gets to meet all the new campers! GO WHITE!!! 

Sydney Garelick

Sydney Garelick is from Chicago, Illinois, and is so excited to be spending her ninth summer at Camp Agawak. Sydney goes to Francis W. Parker school and will be a senior next fall. She loves to spend time at the waterfront, specifally, waterskiing down at the ski docks. She’s always available to help kids learn how to waterski, and has no problem getting in the lake whenever. Sydney enjoys playing field hockey and soccer during the school year and will definitely be open to helping campers improve their skills. Her favorite even program is Blue and White. Sydney is ecstatic to finally be a counselor. She’s obsessed with camp and can’t wait to give campers the same experience she had! Sydney can’t wait for yet another summer at her home away from home!! 

Rhiannon Graves

Traveling all the way from Melbourne, Australia, Rhiannon is extremely excited to join Camp Agawak for the first time this year. Being involved in teaching gymnastics and the cycling program as well as being on the waterfront, she can't wait for the amazing summer ahead! Some of her interests are sports, particularly gymnastics, and being active, traveling, reading and she loves to cook, especially anything sweet. Rhiannon is also currently studying a Bachelor of Nursing at Monash University in Melbourne. 

Skye Greene

Skye Greene is currently a junior at Glenbrook North High School In Northbrook, Illinois! This will be her fifth summer at camp Agawak, and first on staff! She has been counting down the days to finally being a counselor since her first day at camp! You can catch her kick-boxing in happy camper or leading a new cheerleading activity!!! She is on varsity cheerleading at GBN and has an internship teaching 2nd grade at Hickory Point Elementary School. At home you can find Skye spending lots of time with her family and friends! Her favorite part about camp is meeting new people and creating unforgettable memories! Her favorite days at camp are waterfront days!! She can’t wait for an unforgettable summer!!