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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Claudia S.

My name is Claudia Siegel, I am 17 years old and this will be my 9th year spending my summer at Camp Agawak. My mom, my 2 sisters and I all share a love for the most beautiful place on Earth.  I love to play tennis and spend anytime I can in Blue Lake. I live in Carmel, IN, and I attend a small private college prepatory school that teaches kids Kindergarten through 12th grade. During the school year, I work at the aftercare program watching kids for a few hours of the day. 

Mezli S.

Hello everyone! My name is Mezli and I'm 20 years old. I study international trade two hours from my home in Tlaxcala, which is the smallest state in my country. When I have time, I enjoy watching playing videogames, reading novels and going to the gym.

Avery S.

My name is Avery Sherwood, and this will be my 9th summer at camp and 1st summer on staff. I am currently a Junior at Deerfield High School and will be a senior this upcoming year. Outside of school I love to dance, listen to music, and hang out with my friends. This summer you can find me biking, hanging out on blue lake, and skiing! I am so excited for another summer at my favorite place and to meet all the new campers! Counting down the days!

Melanie S.

Hi! My name is Melanie Small, and this will be my 9th summer at camp and 1st summer on staff. I will be a senior at Highland Park High School this upcoming school year. I am so excited for another summer and to meet all of the new counselors and campers!. I love to play tennis in the fall at school and soccer in the spring! At camp my favorite things are water skiing, swimming in blue lake, or playing tennis on the courts!! See you all sooo soon! Can't wait!!!

Kristi S.

Hello Everyone! My name is Kristi, and I will be one of the camp nurses this summer. I recently just graduated with my bachelor's degree in nursing from Concordia University Wisconsin. I plan on moving to Minnesota after graduation to work at the Mayo Clinic on a surgical floor. I have worked on a long term/rehab facility as a CNA for the past 3 years while I was in school, and loved my job. I grew up on my families dairy farm in Clintonville Wisconsin, which is about 2 hours south from camp. I love all animals, but my choice of animals growing up were horses and rabbits. I took care of all the sick animals growing up which inspired me to become a nurse. I have attended a few different camps growing up, but this is the first time I will be part of the staff. I look forward to meeting everyone this summer!

Ilana S.

Hi!! My name is Ilana Spitz and this will be my 11th summer at camp and 3rd on staff. I just completed my freshman year at Tulane University. I cannot wait for another unbelievable summer on the shores of Blue Lake! This year, I will take on the role as one of the Blue and White Commissioners. You’ll see me on the ski docks, running in one out one, and hanging out with campers! See you all so soon!!!

Christina S.

I grew up in small mountain town in Marion, Virginia-Mt Dew was invented there. I spent my childhood hiking the Appalachian trails and exploring the numerous state parks and national forest land. After graduating high school, I enlisted in the United States Air Force where I served 4 years as a member of the Security Forces, otherwise known as the Military Police. I got my Top Secret Security Clearance, traveled the world and met my husband. I was honorably discharged for completing my enlistment in 2002 and then pursued my college education in Nursing, graduating in 2006. My background includes Medical-Surgical, Nursery/Post-Partum, Mental Health/Foster Care Services, Pre Op,/OR /Recovery Room. Now, I am an Elementary School Nurse. I live in Frisco, TX with my husband, two girls and our dog, Whiskey. We enjoy spending time hanging out in our backyard on the patio, splashing in the pool, riding our bikes exploring parks and trails, seeing movies and spending time with our family and friends. To de-stress, nothing beats a good book and a beautiful sky line.

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. 



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.

Maddie T.

Hi my name is Maddie! This is my first camp and I’m so excited. I love the outdoors and I love gymnastics and performing arts. I've been counting down the days and it couldn’t come around soon enough. I will be off traveling after camp hoping to experience life around the world. I cannot wait to meet everyone.