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. 

Sort by Last Name:

Maria O

Hi I’m Maria, this is my first summer at Camp Agawak and I could not be more excited. I’m 21 years old and from a small city in England. I'm in my last year studying Psychology at The University of Warwick. I have been singing and acting for as long as I can remember. A fun fact about me is that I have been a backing singer for the soundtrack of a movie. This summer I cannot wait to be helping out with all things theatre and drama!

Austin P

Hey there! I'm Austin, a ski instructor/boat driver here at camp! I am attending the University of North Dakota with another ski boy, Chuck. I have also been on the Min-Aqua Bats waterski team for many years, mainly driving the Ski Nautique for shows. I'm very excited to see everyone on Blue lake again this summer!

Sofia P

Hi!! My name is Sofia (Sof), I am 19 years old and I live in Wales. I am in my gap year and going to study Midwifery after it. I am super excited for my first summer at Camp Agawak, I can't wait for a summer full of fun and excitement!! I am very excited to meet you all! See you soon :) 


Ryan P

Hello! My name is Ryan-Catherine Poulos. 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.

Hayls P

Hi! I'm Hayls and this will be my 3rd summer at Agawak! I'm from Canberra, Australia and have been patiently waiting for Australia's borders to reopen to spend another summer at camp. You'll find me by the waterfront and as a division head this summer, I'm counting down the days until we're all on Blue Lake together! 

Flora P

Hi! My name is Flora, I am 19 years old and currently on my gap year. I am headed to the University of Cambridge to study History this autumn and I'm so excited, but I don't regret taking my year off because it means I can come and work at Camp Agawak this summer! I love playing guitar, and have been writing songs since I was 10 (although I hope I have improved over the years!). I'm a big fan of riding my bike, Taylor Swift and reading books. I love meeting new people, and am so excited to get to know everyone this summer at Camp!

Lucy Pa

Hi!! My names Lucy and I'm from Highland Park. This is going to be my 8th summer at Agawak and my first year on staff. I cannot wait to spend yet another summer at the greatest place on earth!!!

Hadyn R

Hi! I’m Hadyn and I’m from Cincinnati, OH! This will be my 8th summer at camp and my first on staff. You can find me on the waterfront, kickboxing in Happy Camper, cheering on the blue team, and hanging out with my best friends. I am counting down the days until we are all at the best place! I can’t wait to meet you all and have the best summer!!

Karen R

Hi everyone! I'm Karen and I am from Mexico City. I really love nature, and meeting new people. This is my first time in the camp and I'm so excited to meet everyone and have a great summer!

Maya R

Hi!! My name is Maya! This fall I will be a senior at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago! This will be my 8th summer at camp and 1st on staff! I am so excited to be back on blue lake with the best people! My favorite things to do at camp are being at the waterfront and skiing!! I am so excited to meet everyone!!