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.

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.

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.   

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 and taught Business Education courses for 11 years to students in grades 3-12. For the last 18 years I was a technology instructional coach. In June of 2022 I will be officially retired from education. Agawak is such a special place for campers. I'm happy to be a part of something so special. 

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Chloe J

Hey! My name is Chloe, and I am 21 years old, from Sydney, Australia! I am currently studying a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy. I have been dancing my whole life, and I also love swimming and reading. This will be my first year at Camp Agawak, and I am so excited to meet amazing people and have so many new experiences!


Kara J

Hello, my name is Kara and I am a registered nurse currently living in Dallas, TX. I have a family home in Minocqua and grew up coming to the northwoods of WI almost every summer. My professional nursing experience has been mostly with adolescent and adult mental health patients. I am very excited to join the nursing staff at Camp Agawak and help provide a fun and safe summer for all campers!

Stella K

Hello! My name is Stella and you will find me on the waterfront life guarding, swimming and helping teach campers how to ski. On land, you will find me teaching dance and taking campers on the fun bike trails surrounding camp.  Agawak is a second home to me and I've been here since 2014. Blue Lake is where I learned to ski. I'll be attending UCLA  in the fall. I'm looking forward to giving my campers a super fun summer! See you soon.

Melissa K

Hi everyone! My name is Melissa and I have been a part of Camp Agawak since 2008; first as a camper and since 2014 on staff as a counselor, then admin staff and now I’m so excited to be back this summer in a new role as one of the camp nurses! I graduated last fall from UIC Nursing with my MSN and now am a Registered Nurse in Chicago. I am looking forward to being back at Camp Agawak providing a safe and fun summer for all the campers and staff. I’m definitely counting down the days until I get to be back on Blue Lake, eating Ducky’s pizza, watching campers ski, singing campfire songs, and being at my home away from home! I can’t wait for another amazing summer on Blue Lake!

Addie K

Hi I’m Addie and I am from St. Louis. This is my fourth summer at camp and my first year on staff. At camp you can always find me kickboxing, dancing in the lodge, or hanging out on the water front. I am so excited to be back at my favorite place making so many new memories this summer! 

Taygan L

Hi, I’m Taygan 

I am 18 years old and from Melbourne Australia. This will be my first time at Camp and I’m beyond excited to meet everyone and see the beautiful Agawak.I have a background in gymnastics, and can’t wait to share my knowledge with the campers, and have the best time at camp!

Karla L

I am so excited to be back for my 6th summer "cooking" with you all at Cookwood! Beside teaching Montessori (for 30+ years) and cooking/baking (forever!!), I like to do anything outdoors for fun in the sun; hiking, swimming, kayaking, biking....


Lucy M

Hi everyone! My name is Lucy and I have the privilege of coming to work at Camp Agawak this summer! I’m from Melbourne Australia and love everything about the outdoors and camping! Im so excited for this summer!!

Melissa M

Hi! My name is Nat, I´m 19 and I´m from Mexico, I´m an astronomy student, and this summer I´ll be working with the kitchen staff for you to have delicious food every day, see you there!

Maria M

Hi everyone! I'm Maria and I am very excited to spend another summer at Camp Agawak, I'm part of the kitchen staff and you will love the delicious meals we have for you!