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; 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! :)

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Chloe J

Hey guys, my name is Chloe and I'm from Australia! 2023 was my first year at Agawak, and I am really excited to be coming back in 2024! I will be working at the tango tower and as a lifeguard! Looking forward to a great summer!!

Sydnee J

Hi everyone!! I’m Sydnee, I’m 17 and will be a senior at Deerfield High School in Illinois next year!! I was a camper at Agawak and am beyond excited to come back and be on staff!! I love to play tennis, hang out with friends and family, water ski, sail and exercise! I can’t wait to meet all the new campers and staff and make so many memories at the best place on earth!!

Emma J

Hi Everyone! My name is Emma, I’m 17, I’m from Deerfield Illinois, and I have been going to Agawak since 2015. Agawak is my favorite place and I cannot wait to share it with all of you!

Ffion J

Hey!! My name is Ffion, I’m 19 and I’m from Wales! This is going to be my first summer at Camp Agawak, so I cannot wait to meet everyone and have the best summer! See you soon!!

Brieanne K

Hi! My name is Brieanne and I am a registered nurse in Stevens Point, WI. My experience in nursing has been working in labor and delivery and with adults with special needs. This will be my second summer at camp and I am super excited to be able to provide a safe and fun summer for campers and staff! I’m looking forward to this summer and can’t wait to see everyone!

Jordyn K

Hi everyone! I'm Jordyn, i'm 16 and from Chicago. I've been going to Agawak since 2017 and I am so excited to meet you all this summer!

Maya K

Hi! My name's Maya, I'm 17, and I'm from Highland Park, Illinois. This will be my 6th year at camp, and I can't wait to have an awesome summer!

Carly K

Hi everyone! I’m Carly and I’m 21 from Deerfield Illinois. I’ve been apart of the camp Agawak family since 2012. This summer I will be a rookie counselor and I am so excited to meet everyone! It’s going to be a great summer!

Maya K

Hi, I’m Maya! I am 17 years old, and next year I will be a senior at Highland Park High School in Illinois. This will be my 8th summer at camp and my first on staff. I am so excited to make so many memories and have an amazing summer with everyone!!

Addie K

Hi I’m Addie and I’m 19. I am from St. Louis and have been spending my summers at Agawak for 7 years. At camp I am always kickboxing, sailing, and hanging out at the waterfront. I’m so excited to be back at my favorite place making so many memories this summer!