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

Hello from Sara Mervis! I look forward to being a part of the administrative team, and to working with the CIT's to ensure an amazing summer of fun and preparation for their future as counselors. I have been a part of Camp Agawak's staff for 15 years after being a camper. During the winter, I am a 3rd grade Special Education teacher near Chicago.

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!!!

Beth Varsho, Office Manager

Hi Everyone! I have been working in the Camp Agawak office since the summer of 2021. I grew up in Marshfield, WI and met Mary in seventh grade. We have been friends for over 40 years! I received my Master's Degree in Education, taught Business Education, and was also a technology instructional coach. I retired from education in June of 2022. Agawak is such a special place for campers. I'm happy to be a part of something so special. 

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; time flies when you’re having fun! Last summer, I got the opportunity to be a division head and help out in the office. This summer I will be your Activity and Programming Director! I can’t wait to be running around camp watching our favorite games unravel and maybe even introduce some new awesome ones. I love laughing and having fun with all of you campers! During the year I am a third grade teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. I can’t wait for this summer to come and for the buses to roll in to the most special place. Here’s to 101 years of fun! :)

Lexi Maurer, EP Director/Prog Asst.

Hi everyone! My name is Lexi and I am from Carmel, Indiana. I have been a part of Camp Agawak since 2012--first as a camper, then as a counselor and this summer I will be joining the Administration team as the Evening Program Director and Programming Assistant. I'm finishing my junior year of college at Indiana University where I’m studying Elementary Education. I’m so excited to be back on Blue Lake. I can’t wait to see what this summer has in store for us.

Campbell Matz, Division Head

Hi! My name is Campbell. I recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology. My goal is to create a safe, inclusive environment where each and every camper and staff member feel that their needs are being met- whether that be mental, emotional, physical or all three. As a division head I will do all that I can to make everybody feel seen. Can’t wait to meet all of you!

Ryan Poulos, Division Head

Hello! My name is Ryan. I am a graduate from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a bachelor's degree in psychology minoring in sociology. My focus and hope coming into Camp Agawak is to bring in comfort and support to our campers and staff. I am a person to come to if you are needing emotional guidance or a space to take a breather. I aim to prioritize the mental health of everyone joining us here at camp, as we join as a family.

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Mariana G

Hello, my name is Mariana. I am 21 years old and I am student of  international business at the Metropolitan University of Aguascalientes. I am a very fun, social girl who really likes nature and exploring. I love meeting people, I like to be very explore. 

Alice G

Hello everyone! I'm Alice, I'm 19 and from England. This is my first year working at camp so I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone and having a fantastic summer. I love being outdoors and going on adventures so this is something I'm excited to share!

Lauren G

Hey everyone! I’m Lauren, I’m 18 and from Australia. This will be my first year at camp and I’m so excited to meet you all! You can find me doing drama or on the hockey fields.

Skye G

Hey Agawak family and friends! My name is Skye, I’m 22 and am from Northbrook Illinois! I just graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in Elementary Education, and will be teaching in the fall! I have been a part of camp Agawak for 4 years as a camper and will be returning as the photographer for the summer! Over the last two years, I have taken my love of photography to a new level and established my own business. I hope you will find that my photographs combine my creativity, passion, and ability to capture moments in time that will make you feel like you’re here right along with your child. I look forward to sharing these moments with you!

Andrea G

Hi! My name is Andrea, and I live in a city located in the east of Mexico. I'm 23 years old, I'm a medical student. I enjoy outdoor activities, spending time with my family, friends and my dogs. I am friendly and like to meet new people. I'm very happy to be on the Camp Agawak team!

Hayley G

Hi everyone! My name is Hayley. I am 19 years old and am from Adelaide, Australia. This is my first year at camp so I am so excited to meet everyone and have a fantastic summer together.

Ximena G

Hello everyone! My name is Ximena, I'm 22 and from Mexico. This will be my first year at camp Agawak, you can find me in the kitchen! I'm so excited to meet everyone and spend an amazing summer together.

Jesse G

Hi, I'm Jesse! I am from Deerfield, IL and next fall I will be a junior at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. This will be my 10th summer at camp, and 3rd year on staff! At camp I love to dance, kickbox, and spend time on Blue Lake. I can’t wait to meet all the new campers and staff and reunite with everyone!

Maddy G

Hi! My name is Maddy and next fall I will be a senior at Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, IL. This will be my eighth summer at camp but first year on staff! I am so excited to be back on Blue Lake and cannot wait to see all the fun activities planned. I love to play sports, spend time with family and friends, and travel! My favorite parts about camp are blue and white, swimming and skiing in Blue Lake, and enjoying Ducky’s pizza on Fridays! I can’t wait to meet all the new campers and am counting down the days until I am back in my happy place!!

Annabelle G

Hi! My name is Annabelle. I'm from the City of Chicago and I can't wait to attend Agawak for my 8th summer. This will be my first summer on staff and I can't wait to make so many new friendships. In the fall, I will be a senior at Francis W. Parker school where I like to be with my friends and play field hockey. This summer, you can find me anywhere on the waterfront, at kickboxing, or at cookwood. I can't wait to be back at my favorite place!!