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, Seniors

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, Intermediates

Charlotte cannot wait to be back for her 6th summer at Agawak taking on the role of Director of Cabin Life and Intermediate Division Head. She will be graduating this year from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with degrees in Human Development & Family Studies and Psychology. Charlotte worked with the juniors last summer, and is excited to get to work with the intermediates this summer as their division head as well as oversee the well-being of all the campers. She will also continue to work in the office with the administrative team as Chris’s right hand, as well as handle communication with parents, cabin reports, etc. You might also catch her hanging out by the waterfront helping our rookies learn how to ski!

Spencer W. - Evening Programs

Hi! My Name is Spencer Weiss and this will be my 14th summer at camp! I just graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder with a major in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with a minor in Business! I still have no plans for the real world but there is no better way to start the post-graduate life than being back at camp! I will be working in the office, helping with evening programs and at the ski docks this summer! I am so excited to have another AMAZING summer on blue lake! I can’t wait to meet all of the new campers and see everyone’s smiling faces! Full speed ahead!

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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Kit C.

Hi guys! My name is Kit and I’m 19 from Ocean Grove Victoria in Australia! Last year I graduated high school and have always wanted to do a gap year and go to a summer camp in America. I have always enjoyed spending time outdoors and trying new things. I was hired for waterfront, tennis and art and I couldn’t be more excited! I can’t wait to meet you all and spend an awesome summer together. 

Kelly C.

Hello! I’m Kelly Christianson and I am the ceramics instructor at Agawak! This will be my second year at Agawak and I am so excited to be back.  While not at camp, I teach K-8th grade art at Minocqua J1 School District. I love all outdoor activities especially biking, camping, and kayaking. Bring on Blue Lake and all of its greatness! See you around, ladies!

Jamilla Carr

My name is Jamilla but most people call me Jam. I'm 22 years old and come from Brisbane, Australia. I am about to finish a double degree in law and finance and I will be spending my first summer at Agawak just a few days after I graduate! My hobbies include keeping active, whether it be pilates or boxing, cooking and travelling. I love trying new things and can't wait to immerse myself in the camp culture.

Alondra Chapuli

Hi everyone! My name is Alondra. I'm 20 years old and from Puebla, Mexico and I am on my 6° semester at University.  I am so excited to be spending my second year at camp and hope to have new experiences this new summer. I am the sous chef in a familiar restaurant in Puebla and in my free time I like to spend time with my family and of course with my dog!


Cori D.

Hi!! My name is Cori Dyner from Los Angeles, California and this will be my 8th summer at camp but my first summer on staff. I am currently a Junior in high school and during the school year I like to hangout with friends, play tennis, and run track. This summer you will find me at the tennis courts, hanging by the lake, kickboxing, or running around camp. I am beyond excited to come back for another year at my favorite place on earth. I look forward to seeing everyone this summer! I can’t wait!!!

Makenna D.

My name is Makenna Drost, you can also call me Kenna. This is my very first year at Camp Agawak, and I am so so so excited! I just graduated from Aveda Institute in Madison, WI for esthetics. Next year though, I plan to further my education at UW Milwaukee for teaching. Some of my hobbies and interests include; swimming, longboarding, shopping, skincare, and making people laugh! I have a feeling that this will be my favorite summer yet, and I can't wait to share this experience with all of the campers and the rest of the staff!

Sydney D.

Hi! My name is Sydney DeLeske, I live in Marshfield WI and in the fall I will be a senior at eAchieve Academy. This will be my first year at Camp Agawak! I love to hike, do yoga, and travel. During camp you can find me in the shooting range, on Blue Lake, or helping with arts and crafts. I am counting down the days and can’t wait to meet you all!



Hannah E.

Hello! My name is Hannah Easley and I am currently studying to become a paramedic in For Collins, Colorado. This will be my first year as a counselor, however I have attended Camp Agawak for 4 years as a camper. I am really fun and easy going and love working with children! My favorite hobbies are singing and playing the ukulele, as well as anything water related, like water skiing and swimming. I also enjoy hiking, camping and rock climbing up the rocky mountains of Colorado. I am very inclusive and like to create a sense of community for the campers! I cannot wait for the summer to start!

Tahli E.

Hey, I'm Tahli but most people call me Tee! I'm from the beautiful Melbourne, Australia and this will be my first year at camp and it will also be my very first time overseas!! I love being outdoors and having a good laugh with my family, friends and pets. I'm SO excited to meet everyone and I'm looking forward to calling Agawak home! I'll see you all there! 

Gemma Elliot

Gemma is ecstatic about returning to camp this year! It will be her second year at Agawak and you’ll likely find her at the Tango Tower or on Blue Lake. She is 20 years old and has traveled from Adelaide, South Australia, to create another unforgettable summer surrounded by new and old friends.