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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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!

Lindsey F.

Hi everyone! My name is Lindsay Fisher and I just finished my sophomore year at Vanderbilt University. This will be my 12th summer at camp and my fourth as a member of the staff. My favorite things to do at camp include dancing in the lodge after meals, walking outside and around camp, kickboxing, and participating in all of camp’s fun programming. I am currently studying to take my dental school entrance exam but I am counting down the days until I’m back on Blue Lake for second session! I can’t wait to meet all the new campers and be reunited with my summer family!!! 

Claire F.

Hey everyone! My name's Claire, I’m from Melbourne, Australia and I’m 22 years old. I’m super excited about spending a second incredible summer at camp! You’ll either find me mostly life guarding down on Blue Lake or up in Cookwood helping the girls cook up a storm! Counting down the days till we’re back on the shores of Blue Lake!

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!


Liza G.

Hi! My name is Liza Greenberg, and this will be my 9th summer at camp and 1st summer on staff. In the fall, I will be a Senior at Highland Park High School. During the school year, I love dancing and hanging out with my friends! This summer you can find me down at the tennis courts, running "In One Out One," cheering everyone on during Blue and White, or hanging out on blue lake! I am so excited for another summer at my favorite place and to meet all the new campers! Counting down the days until I’m back!

Shannon G.

Hi! My name is Shannon and I am super excited to be back at Camp Agawak for my second summer! I’m from Hertfordshire, England and I am 22 years old. Throughout this past year, I graduated with First Class Honors in Business Management. I have now slightly put off "adulting" in England, while I travel Australia and couldn’t resist another summer in the States! I cannot wait for summer ‘19 to unfold embracing all its glory and surprises!

Katey G.

Hi everyone! I’m Katey! I’m from Deerfield, IL and this will be my 9th summer at camp. I cannot wait to spend my first year on staff with all of you! During the year you can find me dancing on the Warrior dance team and hanging out with friends. Camp is my FAVORITE place on Earth and my second home. I am counting down the days until I can ski, swim in Blue lake, or lead kickboxing. I am looking forward to meeting everyone and having the best summer yet!!

Sydney Garelick

Hi! I’m Sydney Garelick and I’m from Chicago, Illinois. I cannot wait to return for my 10th summer at Agawak!  My favorite thing to do at camp is to teach campers to ski on blue lake. In the fall, I will be attending the University of Wisconsin- Madison. I am so excited for another amazing summer at my favorite place. I am counting down the days!! 

Michaela H.

Hey! My name is Michaela Harnett, I am 21 and from Newcastle, Australia and this will be my first year at Camp Agawak. I have been in Scouts my whole life and am so excited to bring some Australian Scouting to America. I am so excited to be coming to camp and you will find me on the Tango Tower and doing some outdoor cooking! I look forward to spending the summer with some really awesome girls and I can’t wait to meet you all!

Danna H.

Hello everyone! My name is Danna Hernández and I´m from Puebla, México. I´m 20 years old and I´m currently in my fourth semester doing a double mayor in Clinic and Organizational Psychology at UDLAP (Universidad de las Americas Puebla). I love to swim, play soccer and volleyball. This will be my first summer in Camp Agawak and I will be working as kitchen staff. I´m looking forward to meeting all of you. See you all soon!