EAGLE RIVER - "It's the families that have to deal with the cancer. It affects the whole family, a lot more than people really realize," says Richard Lemke, Camp Angel's coordinator.
He knows the impact cancer has on a family: he lost his wife to cancer.
Lemke volunteers for Angel on My Shoulder, a non-profit Lolly Rose founded.
She started it in 1995 in memory of her husband who died of cancer.
The foundation runs free camps for kids between the ages of 8 and 18.
"They're weekend retreats. They're support camps for kids living with people that have cancer, or they've lost a loved one to cancer. That would be a parent, grandparent, or sibling," says Rose.
Lemke's three sons went to the camp.
Like many campers, they came back as counselors. The camps have continued through the generosity of volunteers, like the Strauss family. They own Pirates Hideaway in Eagle River.
It provides family-friendly pirate tours on the Eagle River Chain of Lakes.
After 5 years, it has become a staple in the Camp Angel experience.
"We go out for 45-minutes. We enjoy popcorn and lemonade with the kids. We take a ride. We see the eagles. It's a different perspective out on the water versus your normal camp atmosphere. We do tattoos with the kids, we decorate t-shirts, and they just have a blast," says Pirates Hideaway owner Steve Strauss.
Activities like riding on the pirate ship gives Camp Angel kids the opportunity to be kids again.
"It gives the kids an opportunity to get away from the cancer and enjoy the whole weekend and not have to deal with it," adds Lemke.
So what are some of the campers' favorite memories from this weekend?
"I've met some really great people. They've become my friends," says camper Moria Sheehan.
"Probably just going around. Sailing on a pirate ship. How often do you get to do that?" says camper Tyler Foydik.
The campers may only be kids, but their strength and grace throughout these difficult times inspires. "If anybody else is going through problems with people who have cancer, I highly recommend this camp," Foydik adds.
"I just want to say to all those who have cancer, good luck," says Alissondra Quatsoe.
MERRILL - Members of a Northwoods union chapter gathered unique inspiration for a fundraiser - The Beatles.
Merrill-area Local 6 members gathered Wednesday on the Wisconsin flowage to raise money for groups in need of assistance. The union leaders organized boat rides, raffles, barbecues, and contests. The inspiration for the fundraiser came, in part, from the 1965 Beatles single Help!
"I found out it was the anniversary of the 'Help!' release from The Beatles record, and I decided, let's help our community," said Local 6 Vice President Valerie Nelson. "Our membership is very passionate about certain organizations within our community. One being the Lincoln County Humane Society, the local food pantry, and the American Cancer Society."
CONOVER - The Chain Skimmers Water Ski Team from Conover won the state title for their division last weekend in Wisconsin Rapids. Summer water ski shows are a wonderful part of the Spirit of the North.
"I don't know how to spend the summer anywhere else," said Jessica Clark.
She is one of about 35 skiers between the ages of 12 and 31 who spend their summers on Lake Pleasant in Conover. They come from Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida and Texas.
EAGLE RIVER - A new type of foundation could give you a better way to build a home, and the idea for the improvement starts right here in the Northwoods.
Composite Panel Systems in Eagle River builds composite panels for home foundations. Composite means anything made of two or more materials, which includes fiberglass in this case. The company describes the EPITOME Quality Foundation Wall as a revolutionary composite building solution for residential foundations.
The company makes them off site, and then they put them together on location. Composite Panel Systems' Scott Weber says that means a shorter build time compared to concrete foundations.
WOODRUFF - Americans will eat about 7 billion hot dogs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Wednesday, millions of Americans celebrated National Hot Dog day. That was the case in the Northwoods.
Hoggie Doggies Snack Shack is a staple in Woodruff. Their All-American favorite is the Chicago Style Dog.
The owner Judy Rossi has been there for 12 years and says they go through a lot of dogs.
"Last season we went through almost 17,000 hot dogs. This year we're on track for about 18,000," says Rossi. "Statistically we go through about 8 tons of potatoes in a season, which is close to 16,000 pounds for our homemade french fries. Those are some big numbers for this little place."
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