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.

Sort by Last Name:

Winter R

Hi!! I’m Winter and I’m a rising senior! I am from Arizona and this will be my ninth summer at Agawak!! I love to run, swim, and spend time with my friends and family! I can’t wait to be a counselor!!

Sophia S

Hey guys! I'm Sophia, I'm 18 and have been Camp Agawak's Ceramic Arts Director since summer of 2022. I am a very creative person and I love to assist in helping kids discover their creative abilities through the medium of ceramic arts. I'm stoked to meet our new arrivals and reconnect with returning campers! See you soon!

Casey S

Hi my name is Casey and I am from Deerfield, IL! This will be my 8th summer at camp and my first on staff. My favorite parts about camp are the waterfront, activities, and of course the people I am surrounded with. Camp is such an amazing place and I am so excited to meet you all, counting down the days!!

Marissa S

Hi! My name is Marissa! This will be my 8th summer and my first on staff. I am from Chicago and a rising senior in high school. I am so excited to meet new people and make new memories! See you all this summer!

Abbie S

Hi! My name is Abbie and I am from Highland Park, IL. I will be a senior at Highland Park High School next fall. I was a camper at Agawak and I am so excited to continue my camp experience as a counselor! I love to dance, hang out with my friends and family, ski, and sail! I can't wait to be back on Blue Lake!

Ron S

I started teaching riflery at Camp Agawak the summer of 2019. During the off season I work in the Anitgo School District as a Special Education Teacher. I enjoy bow hunting and fishing in my spare time and spending time with family. I am a proud United States Army Veteran. I enjoy teaching and working with campers to improve their skills. Summer won't come soon enough!

Caroline S

Hi! I’m Caroline and I’m so excited to spend my eighth summer at Camp Agawak. In the fall I will be a senior at Francis Parker in Chicago. During the summer you can find me at the waterfront, ski docks, or on the tennis courts having the best time! I can’t wait to meet all of the new campers!

Rachel S

Hi everyone! I’m Rachel from Sydney, Australia. I have a bachelors degree in speech, hearing and language and have worked in before and after school care and vacation care for six years. At home I love hiking, reading, trips to the beach and I’m learning how to roller skate. This will be my second summer at Camp Agawak and I’m beyond excited for another season of fun, time outdoors and memories. One of my favorite memories from last summer was winning counselor of the year! You’ll find me down on Blue Lake or one of the other activities around camp. Let’s make this an unforgettable summer!

Riley S

Hi! My name is Riley and I am from Chicago, IL. In the fall I am going to be senior at Lane Tech. At camp I love to swim, ski, and play tennis. This will be my 8th summer at camp and I am so excited to spend it with everyone!

Ari S

Hi I’m Ari! I’m 17 and I live in St. Louis. I go to Clayton High School and I’ve been going to Agawak for 6 years. I love to waterski and stargaze and have deep talks.