For over 25 years, Mary Fried, owner and director of Camp Agawak has brought heart, passion and hands-on leadership to an extraordinary and diverse camp environment. Mary has been “camp mom” and role model to thousands of campers and staff since 1989. She holds a masters degree in Educational Psychology and has dedicated her life to working with children. Her experience as an elementary and middle-school counselor makes her a resourceful and compassionate director. Mary’s breath of talent, combined with her enthusiasm for working with children creates a camp culture that is as extraordinary as it is fun. She is an active member of the American Camping Association, the Midwest Camping Association, the Wisconsin School Counselor Association, and the American Counseling Association. Mary lives on the camp property year round with her three children, Jaclyn, Jacob and Joshua.
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.
Chris Garcia joined the Agawak crew in 2008 and is a Minocqua native. After gaining an undergraduate Finance degree from Carroll College in Waukesha, she went on to receive a Masters degree in Administration from University of Whitewater. Prior to working at camp she was an Asst. VP at Milwaukee based mortgage company. Over the years at camp, Chris has worked year round doing many of the office responsibilities. Chris is looking forward to getting out and about more this summer. She also coaches the local swim club ten months out of the year and the boys and girls high school swim teams. From time to time, Chris even lends a hand to the waterfront giving swim lessons or lifeguarding. As a mother of four, she also gives out hugs when needed or an extra ear to listen. Chris lives in Hazelhurst with her husband, Robert and children Nick, Hanna, Jack and Georgia when not at college.
Hi! I'm Denise Salit and I’ll be your Activities and Program Director for the 2019 camp season. As a past Agawak camper, counselor and Assistant Director I feel like my life is coming full circle. 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 27 years. I have a passion for teaching children & 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 "camp in their blood" too. How could they not, as my husband Dean and I met on the shores of Blue Lake (literally) 28 years ago when we were both on staff. I am excited to be a part of your daughter's summer. 2019 is sure to be full of fun, excitement, life lessons and tons of happy memories.
Hello from Sara Mervis! Having spent 15 years as a camper, counselor, waterfront director, tripping coordinator and coordinator of director affairs, I am thrilled to rejoin the Agawak administrative team. I’ll be wearing a few different hats this summer as the Director of Cabin Life for our junior & senior campers, CIT Director and assisting the admin team in the office. My daughters, 11 and 7, are 3rd-generation Agawak campers. With parenting insight, I will be supporting campers and parents throughout the summer. Currently, I teach special education to 3-5 graders and l am also a Wilson tutor. In my spare time, I enjoy swimming, tennis and camping. I can’t wait to spend this summer with each of you.
Hi. I’m DUCKY this will be my 26th summer running the kitchen at Agawak. 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 5-6 different salad dressings and at least 2 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 a 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.
Hi! My name is Isabelle Anderson and this will be my 10th summer at camp and my first summer on staff! I am currently a junior at Lane Tech College Prep. My favorite things to do at camp are skiing and swimming on Blue Lake, and playing lacrosse. When I’m not at school or playing lacrosse, I love to hang out with my friends and snack! I can’t wait to spend my 10th summer in my favorite place with my new campers and friends! Can’t wait to see everyone on Blue Lake!
Hi! I’m Tatum Anderson and I’m from Chicago. I’m so excited for my 11th summer at camp and my 2nd summer on staff! In the fall, I will be attending Tulane University. This summer you can find me at the waterfront mostly on the ski docks and assisting with swimming! I can’t wait to be back with everyone on Blue Lake!
Hi! I’m Halle! I’m from Highland Park, IL and can not wait to spend my 9th summer (and first on staff) at camp agawak!! I live for anything camp related and am counting down the days until we’re all on blue lake!! In the Fall, I’ll be a senior at Highland Park High School where I like to be with friends, play basketball, and online shop. And during the summers I like to be on the water, swimming and skiing all day! I’m so excited to watch blue and white games this summer and hang out with my campers!! Can’t wait for another summer at my favorite place on earth!
Hi! I’m Maddie and this will be my 11th summer at Agawak and 3rd on staff. I’m currently a freshman at The Ohio State University (go Buckeyes!!) and from Highland Park, IL. At camp I can be found on the basketball and tennis courts or swimming in Blue Lake. This summer I will be one of the Blue and White commissioner (w/ my best friend Kayla Morris) and I cannot wait! I’m counting down the days until we’re all back at camp!!
Hi!! My name is Amanda Amiel and I just finished my freshman year at The Ohio State University! This is going to be my third year on staff and I couldn’t be more excited!! I will also be in charge of Final Four along side Tatum Oblonsky!! Counting down the days until we’re back on Blue Lake!! Go white!!
Hi!! My name is Paige Bordo and I am so excited for camp this year! It will be my 9th summer and first year on staff! I am from Highland Park IL and just completed my junior year at Highland Park High School. Outside of school, I love to dance and spend time with family and friends! At camp, you can find me at the waterfront swimming and skiing! I can’t wait to be on staff this year and am so excited to meet all the new campers!!
Hi! I’m Amanda and I’m from Northbrook, IL. I can’t wait to spend my 11th summer at Camp Agawak!! I love camp and can’t wait to be back for my second year on staff! In the Fall, I will be a freshman at Tulane University where I plan to study neuroscience. During the summers you can find me on the waterfront, swimming and skiing all day or planning Olympic Day along side my friends Halle and Tatum! I am so excited to be back on blue lake meeting all the new campers!!!
I am from Florida originally, but moved to Winchester Wisconsin. I love warm weather! I love to paint and do photography! Having fun outdoors and being with my loved ones is what I love the most! I will be doing the photography for all Camp Agawak Girls and Counselors! This is my first time taking pictures for a camp besides my school, and I am very excited to be a part of the Agawak family!
Hi! My name is Jenna Berk and I live in Deerfield, Illinois. This will be my 9th at camp and my first on staff. Next fall I will be at senior at Deerfield High School. My favorite things to do at camp are waterskiing, swimming, hanging out with my friends and campers, and Blue and White! I can’t wait for this summer!
Hi! I am Julie Biertzer, semi retired floral designer and nature crafter, which has been my profession for the last 42 years. In my spare time, I am an avid fisherman. I LOVE to fish! I am happiest on the water or ice, watching nature, and catching all kinds of fish. I have been fishing for over 40 years, and have competed in tournaments against a lot of men, guides included, and have gotten first places. This is my second year as fishing instructor at Camp Agawak. The girls caught hundreds of fish last year, and we plan to catch a lot more this year. My goal is to teach them how to bait a hook, learn to cast, and catch and release a fish safely. I love to watch the joy and pride on their faces when they catch one! I also want to teach them about the nature, plants, animals, birds and bugs that we see on the water( how not to fear the dragonflies when they land on us, and appreciate and identify them.) Blue Lake is a special body of water to explore, and find beauty, along with fishing spots, so lets take a boat ride and learn how to FISH LIKE A GIRL!