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 and Bill, Owners & Directors

Mary Fried and Bill Fuhrmann

With 35 years of combined camping experience Mary and Bill are Agawak’s committed and seasoned directors. Individually, they have been self-employed for over 30 years. Together they bring 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.

Bill’s deep love of water-skiing and his genuine interest in children make him a perfect fit for Agawak. Bill practically grew up on a ski boat and has performed in numerous professional water ski shows. He is a talented and competent ski director. His passion for skiing can be seen daily on Blue Lake as he teaches our campers and staff the skills he’s perfected. Bill has been designing handmade, one-of-a-kind jewelry in the Madison area for over three decades. He designs the cherished Agawak charms and rings our alumnae wear proudly.

In the off season, Mary and Bill live in Waunakee, WI. They have 5 children Jaclyn, Jacob, Cole, Dean 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!

Denise Salit, Activities Director

Hi! I'm Denise Salit and I am the Activities Director at Agawak. I have been on the administrative team since 2019, but my history at Camp Agawak goes way back. I have spent many many summers at camp since I was a new camper back in 1977. 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 30 years. I have a passion for teaching children and 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 both attended summer camps and have worked at Agawak in the past. Believe it or not,  my husband Dean and I met on the shores of Blue Lake in 1990 when we were both on staff. I am excited to be a part of your daughter's summer and to be a part of another successful summer. 

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, 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 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. 

Sort by Last Name:

Emily H

Hi! My name is Emily, I’m 19, and I am from Muncie, Indiana. This will be my first time at Camp Agawak! I am so excited for this summer and can’t wait to meet everyone!

Jenna H

Hi!! I’m Jenna and I’m from Chicago. I am so excited for my 8th summer at camp and first on staff. I am looking forward to spending this summer making so many new memories. I am counting down the days until we are all back on Blue Lake. I am so excited to meet everyone!!

Sarah H

Hi my name is Sarah! I love anything and everything to do with the outdoors, my hobbies include surfing, waterskiing and walking my dog along the beach. I cannot wait for my summer at Agawak!

Emma H

Hi! My name is Emma and this will be my 9th summer on Blue Lake. I am super excited to be a counselor for the first time and give my campers the same amazing experience my counselors gave me. When I'm not at camp, I live in Highland Park, IL and will be a senior at Highland Park High School this year. I spend my time dancing, running and being with my favorite people. I am so excited to meet all my campers and have the best summer ever!

McKenzi J

I’ve been with Agawak since 2016 and I'm so excited to spend another summer leading trips! I went to school at UW-L and am currently living in Stevens Point. My favorite things to do are hiking, kayaking and biking, especially with my two daughters!

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! 

Ally L

Hi! I'm Ally, and I'm from Deerfield, IL! I am so excited to spend my 10th summer (1st summer on staff) on Blue Lake this summer! I am currently a senior at Deerfield High School, and I will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in the fall. During the year, I love to play soccer and spend time with my family and friends! My favorite things to do at camp are skiing, jogging, and kickboxing!!! I can't wait for another summer on Blue Lake!