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

With over 30 years of camping experience Mary is a committed and seasoned director. Mary is only the third owner of Camp Agawak. Mary brings passion, hands-on leadership and incredible warmth to a camp culture that is as extraordinary as it is fun. Mary’s master’s degree in educational psychology along with a background in school counseling makes her a highly skilled and compassionate director. She has dedicated her life to working with children. Since 1989, Mary has helped thousands of young campers transition successfully to overnight camp.

Mary has 3 children Jaclyn, Jacob, and Joshua.




Chris Garcia, Associate Director

Hello! I am the associate director and have been working at camp year round for 13 years. I am the face behind many of the emails and phone calls camp families receive. I grew up in Minocqua, left for a few years but came back with my husband to raise our 4 kids in the beautiful northwoods. During the winter months I also coach swimming at the high school and club level. I cannot wait for Summer 2021!

Sara Mervis, CIT Director

Hi everyone!! It's Sara aka Merv....I am excited to be a member of the Administrative staff who will be here to share another summer at camp with you. This is truly my happy place! I have spent every summer of my life here at camp for at least a week, during post camp, and have had the pleasure of working at camp for over 17 years. While at camp, I work with the oldest campers, as the CIT Director, and Division Head for some of the senior cabins. During the school year, I am a 3rd grade special education teacher in the suburbs of Chicago, and am the proud mom to one camper and one counselor here at Agawak.

Ducky, Camp Chef

Hi. I’m DUCKY. I have been running the kitchen at Agawak since 1994. Over the years I have enjoyed preparing many foods from Grilled Cheese, Pizza, Pasta Bar, and Hobo Hash and many other favorites. I try to keep the menu at camp flavorful and exciting. Making meals that please everyone is difficult, yet I encourage them to give meals at camp a try. Who knows, they may really like it. But aside from the main dishes we have many other choices. Every breakfast has 8-10 different cereals and fresh fruits. Besides the hot meal at lunch, we have a full salad bar with toppings such as garbanzo beans, edamame, hard boiled eggs, baby carrots and much more with five to six different salad dressings and at least two fresh fruit choices. A few days a week lunch also includes homemade soups. There is also a sandwich bar where we offer flat bread wraps, sliced turkey and the fixings for a wonderful sandwich. At dinner time the same full salad bar is available along with the hot meal of the evening. Camp offers many choices daily and I always make sure the campers are taken care of. I am also familiar with a variety of medically approved diet restrictions from Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Diabetic Restrictions, and other allergy accommodations.   

Jacob Fried, Director of Operations & Camp Experience

Hey everyone! My name is Jacob Fried and I’m so excited for this summer! I’ve lived at camp my entire life and I love helping and working with our wonderful campers and staff. You can find me all over camp helping with activities programming and everything else that goes on here at camp. Smile on and FULL SPEED AHEAD!!!

Kiley Isaacson, Activities & Program Director

Hi campers! My name is Kiley Isaacson and I have been a part of Camp Agawak since 2007; first as a camper and since 2015 on staff. I’m so excited to be back. I will be your programming director this summer. I can’t wait to jump back into activity days, favorite Blue & White competitions, and evening programs. During the year I am a third grade teacher in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Can’t wait to be back on beautiful Blue Lake with you all!

Sort by Last Name:

Ally S

Hi! I'm Ally, I'm 17 and from Deerfield, Illinois. I've been going to Camp Agawak since 2015. I love to swim and dance, and I'm so excited to be with everyone at my favorite place!

Casey S

Hi! My name is Casey Schwab and I am from Deerfield, IL. I just completed my freshman year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Political Science on the Pre-Law tack! At camp you can find me helping out the water-skiers, kickboxing in Happy Camper, or taking a stroll in in-one-out-one. This will be my tenth summer here at camp and my third on staff and I could not be more excited! I cannot wait to meet and see you all and have the best summer yet!

Ashley Strauss

Hi! My name is Ashley Strauss. After 8 years of being a camper, I am so excited to be a Junior counselor this year. I love to dance and play tennis, and can’t wait to spend my summer at my home away from home.

Cindy T

Hi! Im Cindy from Oaxaca Mexico. I've been a part of Camp Agawak since 2014. I'm be in the kitchen for anything you need! :)

Amy T

Hey! I'm Amy, I'm 22 from Brisbane, Australia. I just graduated from university with a Bachelor of Psychological Science (honours) degree. I will be teaching dance, jewellery, and stand up paddle boarding. I am very excited for my first summer at Agawak!

Zoe T

I am 24 years old and from Minocqua, Wisconsin. I enjoy spending time outdoors, even in the winter. During the school year I work as a paraprofessional. You can find me either reading a book in the shade or at my workbench crafting something!

Kate T

Hi everyone! My name is Kate Tichacek and I am from Minocqua, Wisconsin. This will be my third year working in the camp office. When I am not working at camp, I am an English teacher at Lakeland Union High School. In my free time, I enjoy being outside and reading books! 

Karah T

Hello! I'm Dr. Karah and I am an Emergency Physician from Minneapolis, MN with 15 years of experience in the Emergency Department. I started as a camper at Agawak in 1991 and I have a daughter who is a Blue-blooded Agawak Girl too. I have been working at camp keeping our girls safe and healthy since 2021. I'm looking forward to another great summer of fun, laughter, growth, friendship, and good health for everyone!

Olivia V

Hi Everyone! My name is Olivia Vigran and I'm 21 from Cincinnati, OH. I've been a part of Camp Agawak since 2012 and I am so excited to be back at camp as a rookie camp counselor this summer!

Sven V

Hello everyone!! My name is Sven. I am 18 years old. I am a part of the Min-aqua bats waterski Club. I love spending my summers in Minocqua and I am looking forward to being on the lake driving all of the campers this summer and being apart of the Agawak community.