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!

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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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!! 

Jess H.

Hey guys! My name is Jessica Hyde and I am from Sydney, Australia! This will be my first summer at camp and I am super excited to experience all that Camp Agawak has to offer and create so many amazing memories with a whole heap of new and wonderful people! I will be working alongside the lifeguards and the Tango Tower team, which I think will be incredible fun! I have currently finished my first degree in a Bachelor of Physical Activity and Health Science (majoring in teaching), and will be returning to university next year to complete a Masters in Teaching! I have been working alongside kids and young people for many years now for a crazy company running some of the coolest programs for Australian kids, so I can't wait to bring my experience to camp and pick up new skills and learn more! I have a serious bug for traveling and cannot wait for an American summer in 2019 at Camp Agawak! See you all soon!

Lana Horsfield

Hi, my name is Lana, I come from Nottingham, England and this will be my first summer at Camp Agawak. I am currently studying for a Degree in Geography at University and love to travel. I have been traveling to America with my family for most of my life, visiting new and interesting places and catching up with family who live in California; but have never explored Wisconsin, so I am super excited. I love to participate in sports such as cycling, and I look forward to helping around camp with the biking program. I can’t wait to come to camp this summer to meet you all to make fantastic memories and experience camp life.

Kiley Isaacson

Hi guys my name is Kiley Isaacson and this will be my twelfth summer at camp and my fourth year on staff. I’m so happy to be back this summer at this amazing place and to be back with all of you! In the fall I will be a Junior studying Elementary Education at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. I love being around kids! Whether i'm spending time tutoring at the local elementary school or volunteering at community events you can always find me surrounded by kids! This summer I can't wait for Ducky's pizza, singing around the campfire, and laughing with my campers. You can either find me down at the ski docks or leading Blue & White alongside two other commissioners!! I’m super excited for all the new friendships, memories and to go full speed ahead this summer! :) 

Sydney K.

Hi my name is Sydney, and this will be my 9th summer at camp! I was a camper for 8 summers and this summer will be my first summer as a counselor. I am a junior at Highland Park High School. This summer you can find me doing my favorite activities at camp like sailing, skiiing, jogging and much more! I’m so excited to be with all of you so soon!! 

Iris K.

Iris Krasnow is the mother of four sons, the wife of one husband, an author of seven books and a professor at American University. She is entering her 16th summer at Camp Agawak — ten as a camper in the 1960s and 1970s, and returned as the Editor of Agalog, the camp magazine where she got her literary start at the age of eight. Her new book, due out in April 2020, is on the lasting impact of the summer camp experience.

Hannah K.

Hannah Korach is so excited to be back on Blue Lake for another summer.This will be Hannah's 6th year at Camp Agawak and her second year of being on staff. Next fall, Hannah will be a freshman at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Last summer, Hannah led a wide variety of activities, but you can usually find her at paddle boarding, swimming, hippie living, and other art activities! Her favorite evening program is Blue and White and celebrating Agawak's spooky Halloween. In her free time, Hannah loves to be with her friends and family, watch movies, or just walk around Chicago. A fun fact about her is that she has an older brother who also attends Michigan and her favorite sport to watch is college basketball (March Madness, in particular). Hannah can't wait to return up north and share her love of camp with her campers - she's always looking to meet new people! 

Eden K.

Hi! My name is Eden Kawer and this will be my 9th summer at camp and 1st summer on staff. I am currently a Junior at Highland Park High School. This summer, I’m looking forward to activity days, evening programs, and hanging out with my cabin! Camp is truly my favorite place on Earth and I am so beyond excited and lucky to be back! I can’t wait to meet all the new campers!! I’ve been counting down the days!!

Shoshana Kaplan

Shoshana is so excited to be back at Agawak for her 10th summer, and her second summer on staff! She is from Highland Park, IL, and will be attending Tulane University in the fall. You can find her at jewelry making, kickboxing, and paddle boarding! She loves dancing in Happy Camper Hall and loves eating Ducky’s grilled cheese every Tuesday! At home, she enjoys tutoring other students and going for a walk. She is so happy to be back at camp so soon and can’t wait to meet you all!

Zoey Kohn

Hi!! My names Zoey Kohn and I’m currently finishing my freshman year at Indiana university! This is going to be my third year on staff and I couldn’t be more excited!! I will also be in charge of evening program along side my bestie Morgan Paull!! Counting down the days until we’re back on blue lake!! Go white!!