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.  

David McGowan - Assistant Director

Campers, this is my first summer at Camp Agawak and I can’t wait to meet each and every one of you! Whether this is your first summer or it’s your 15th summer at Minocqua’s picturesque Blue Lake, prepare yourself for an exhilarating camp experience filled with camp fires, water sports, friendships, and everything else that Camp Agawak offers to create memories that will last forever. As a former Apple Corporate Director of Sales, hockey and lacrosse coach, my energy and passion for youth empowerment is palpable. Get ready to hang with me, my wife Amy, and my two golden retrievers, Crosby and Bauer. If you are looking forward to summer 2018 half as much as I am, then it’s never too early to prepare for what will inevitably be the BEST summer of your life! Home is Deerfield, IL & I have four amazing kids, Jennifer, Judd , Ethan & Isabella.

 

Chris Garcia - Director of Office Operations

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.  Chris thoroughly enjoys the office life of number crunching, report running and day to day operations that go on "behind the scenes".  She works year round at Agawak, but also coaches the local swim club seven months out of the year and the boys high school team.  From time to time, Chris 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.

Emily Gurner - Administration

Emily Gurner has been at Agawak since 2000 where she started as a camper. She was a counselor for three years and now part of the administrative team. Emily is from Deerfield, IL and attended Indiana University where she earned her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. She also is a Learning Behavior Specialist. Emily currently works as a 7th grade special education teacher at Shepard Middle School in Deerfield. Emily is an integral part of the administrative team and absolutely loves it. She handles day-to-day communication with parents. Emily is looking forward to her 17th summer and can't wait to be back at her favorite place in the world and her happy place, Agawak!

Ducky D.

Hi, I'm Ducky and this is my 22nd 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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Ciara Stevenson

Ciara is super excited to spend her first summer at Camp Agawak and to visit America for the first time! She is nineteen years old and originally from Ireland, but is currently studying a Drama and Theatre degree at Royal Holloway University of London. She loves playing guitar, singing and exploring the outdoors. She can’t wait to coach drama this summer, and looks forward to sharing her passion for theatre with the girls!'

 

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! 

Rachel Thompson

“Rachael is very excited to be heading over from Adelaide, South Australia for her first summer at camp. A newbie to camp but not to the States, this will be her 6th time visiting the US (including a 6 month exchange at the University of Texas at Austin in Fall 2016!). She loves to go Camping and Snow Skiing and plays Netball, Softball and (Australian Rules) Football. She is a Scout Leader in Australia and is looking forward to sharing her love for the outdoors through working on the Tango Tower and doing outdoor cooking, softball, and canoeing.“

Daniela Aguilar Trinidad

My name is Daniela Aguilar, I'm 20 years old, I’m from México and I study Marketing.I have been server in kitchens at camp before. Also I have lived to Kingsville, Texas.  I was studying English in the TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY-KINGSVILLE. It was an amazing and unforgettable experience.  This is my first summer at Camp Agawak want to participate because I would like share my abilities and meet new people from new cultures and practice the English language.I can't wait to meet each and every one of you!

Jacqui Venteman

Hi Everyone!

I'm Jacqui Venteman from Sydney Australia (everyone at camp calls me Jax). This will be my second year back at camp and I am so excited and pumped to see all the girls! Here in Sydney I am working as a Nanny and Fitness Instructor in a Women's Gym and as it's Summer here I have been spending majority of my spare time down at the beach or lazing by the pool. Throughout the Camp season last year the girls found me at Tennis, Kayaking, Cooking, Riflery and Bike Riding. Fun facts about me - I went to Hawaii on the way home last year and swam with Turtles, one of the greatest days of my life! I love to travel, explore and also I volunteered in Cambodia a couple of years ago which i would love to go back to as well! 

See you all in a few months!!!!  

Love Jax! 

Taylor Warren

Hi everyone I’m Taylor Warren and I’m currently a senior at Highland Park High School. In the fall I will be attending University of Illinois and I’m so excited. This will be my second year on staff and 10th year at camp! You can find me singing and dancing in the lodge, kickboxing, and running around camp. I’m so excited for another great summer and I can’t wait to see all your smiling faces so soon! Go white!

Rachel Wartell

Rachel Wartell is beyond excited to be returning for her seventh summer at Camp Agawak and her first summer on staff. Rachel lives in Highland Park Illinois, and in the fall she will be a senior at Highland Park High School. One of Rachel’s hobbies includes playing soccer, so you can be sure to find her leading soccer in the upper athletic field. Along with that she has always shown great interest in the activity reflections and couldn’t be more excited to lead it this summer. Rachel enjoys every aspect of camp and cannot wait to be back singing campfire songs, eating ducky’s pancakes, cheering for the blue team, but most importantly creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Renee Wilton

Hi :) Meet Renee! She's 23 from Melbourne, Australia. 

This will be her very first time to the USA and to summer camp! Renee absolutely loves travelling, music, nature and having fun. Together, you'll reach new heights on The Tango Tower. Renee is super excited to meet you all and create memories to last a lifetime!