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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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!!

Genevieve Kopesky

Genavieve cannot wait to spend her first summer at Camp Agawak! She is a student at the University of La Crosse studying Public Health and Psychology. During her free time, she loves to play guitar and ukulele, run and train for half marathons, as well as spend quality time with her friends and family, and go on as many road trips as she can. She is very passionate about the outdoors, adventure, art, and loves music. Her favorite adventures so far are white water rafting in Colorado and backpacking in Wales. She plans on making many more memorable adventures this summer with everyone! One of her favorite summer activities is singing and playing her guitar around a summer night campfire (so be ready to sing along). She is looking forward to meeting everyone this summer!

Georgia L.

Hey everyone! I’m Georgia from Sydney, Australia. This will be my 5th year at Agawak and I am so excited to be coming back!!! I am the Waterfront Director so you will find me on the beautiful Blue Lake. Can’t wait to see all you’re smiling faces!!

Liv L.

Hi! My name is Liv Ludwig and I’m from Deerfield, IL! This will be my 8th summer at camp but my first on staff! I have been counting down the days until we’re all back on blue lake!! I am currently a junior at Deerfield High School. During the school year, I love to hang out with my friends and family, run on my schools cross country team, and see my camp friends as much as possible! But during the summers, my favorite things to do are swimming, kickboxing, and going on walks with my friends! I’m so excited to hang out with my campers and lead activities this summer!!

Siobhan Lambert

Hi I'm Siobhan, I do prefer Shorny though. This will be my first year at Camp Agawak and I can't wait! I'm from Gold Coast Australia and love anything to do with the outdoors. I'll be part of the waterskiing program and looking forward to meeting everyone.

Samantha Linn

Hi!! My name is Samantha Linn, and I just finished my freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania. This is going to be my eleventh summer at camp and third year on staff, and I can not wait to get back to Blue Lake! You can always find me down at the ski docks, running in-one-out-one, or having a dance party in Happy Camper!! Camp is my most favorite place, and I can’t wait for another amazing summer!!! Go blue!

Kasey M.

Hi I’m Kasey! I’m 19 from Melbourne, Australia! This will be my first time in America and to camp but it’s always been a massive dream of mine! This year I’ll be the Agawak photographer as I love all things photography and media! I’m super super excited and can’t wait to meet everyone! 

Jazmin M.

Hi! My name is Jazmin Medellin and I am 21 years old! I am a culinary student, currently living in Puebla, Mexico. My hobbies are reading, exploring, traveling and going to the movies. I love to dance and go out with my friends. I am looking forward to my first summer at Agawak!

Casie M.

Hi! My name is Casie McAllister and I am 19 years old. My hometown is Merrill, WI and I am currently a Freshman at UW River Falls studying Elementary Education. I have always wanted to be a camp counselor and I am so excited to be given this opportunity. This will be my first summer at Camp Agawak. I love working with kids and I’m eager to bring this passion to camp. In my free time, I like playing tennis, walking my dog, spending time with friends, playing games, and being outdoors in any way. In High School, I played Varsity Tennis and made pizzas at an Italian Restaurant. I am excited to be a part of the Agawak family and I am looking forward to getting to know the campers and making memories that will last a lifetime.