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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IIana Spitz

Hi Everyone! My name is Ilana Spitz and this will be my 10th summer at camp and 2nd on staff. I am currently a senior at New Trier High School, and I will be attending Tulane University in the fall. I am SO excited for another amazing summer on the shores of Blue Lake! You will find me helping on the ski docks, singing around the campfire, and hanging out with campers! I can’t wait to be with you all so soon!! Go Blue!!

 

Ava Stein

Ava stein cannot wait to spend her 9th summer back in the north woods at her absolute favorite place of all time! Ava lives in the city of Chicago and will be a senior at Whitney M. Young High School in the fall. During the year, Ava loves playing on the girls tennis team in addition to being a valuable member of the girls lacrosse team. Ava enjoys hanging out with her friends and family at home and is very energetic and sociable! At camp You will definitely find Ava assisting down at the ski docks, jogging in one out one, biking the bear skin trail, living it up in cook-wood, and of course cheering for the White Team! Ava is beyond excited to be a first year staff member and cannot wait to share all her memories with her campers as well as give back everything that Agawak has given her. 

 

 

Maddie Stubbs

Hi everyone! I’m Maddie (or I also get called Mads!) I’m from Melbourne, Australia and beyond excited to get back onto the shores of Blue Lake for a second incredible summer at Agawak. I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Education to become a Primary (Elementary) teacher while also working in child care with young students at a before and after school program. I spend the rest of my time exploring the Victorian outdoors with friends, planning my next epic adventure and counting down the days until June!! This year you’ll find me at the tango tower or out on the lake and I can’t wait to see you there! 

Riley T.

Hi! I am Riley, a tennis professional from a little place across the bay from downtown San Diego called "Coronado" I love to teach and coach tennis to all levels and all ages. Baseball was my chosen profession after college at "Regis University" in Colorado. If not on the court or at the beach, golf is another sport I enjoy. Looking forward to teaching at camp and enjoying some action packed drills and fun on the courts.

Anna V.
Ana V.

Hi, my name is Ana Vaqueiro. I live in Mexico City. This will be my first summer in Camp Agawak as staff, though I attended twice as a young girl. I love reading, listening to music, and doing all sorts of sports like soccer, tennis, biking, skiing, motocross, horseback riding, running, and more. I’m very excited for this summer and can’t wait for camp to start!

Emily W.

Hi! My name is Emily Williams and I am so excited to be with you all this summer! This is my first year as a counselor but my seventh year at Agawak. I live in Denver, Colorado and in the Fall I will be a senior at Regis High School. During the year I love to play soccer, run, go snowboarding, and be with friends.  But at camp you can find me swimming, running Blue Lake, or playing soccer in the upper. I'm counting down the days until the start of this summer! See you soon! 

MAx Wohlleber

Hi everyone! My name is Max Wohlleber. This is going to be my first summer at Camp Agawak and I could not be more excited! I’ve lived in Manitowish Waters which is a short 40 minutes from camp, my entire life! I will be apart of the ski staff this summer. I enjoy skiing, fishing, and anything that involves the outdoors basically! I’m currently enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire as a business major. Looking forward to meeting all of you!

 

Aliza Z.

Hi! My name is Aliza Zelen and this will be my 9th summer at camp and 1st on staff. I am currently a junior at Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook. This summer you can find me down at the ski docks, jammin' to KWAK, swimming and sailing on blue lake. I cannot wait to watch all the new campers fall in love with the place I did when I was their age! Counting down the days until we are all around the campfire again singing “I’d rather be an Agawak Girl”, watching everyone play blue and white games and spending time with my favorite people on Earth. 

Katie Zurek

Katie Zurek is from Highland Park, Illinois and is ecstatic to be spending her 6th summer at camp and her first year on staff! In the fall she will be a Senior at Highland Park High School. At home she loves playing soccer, field hockey and spending time with her friends. You can find her on the upper athletic field playing soccer, kickboxing in Happy Camper, and cheering on the white team!! She is counting down the days until she is back in her favorite place with her best friends!!