MINOCQUA - The Northwoods provides many summer activities to enjoy outdoors. But not all of them include free entertainment... Three nights a week, you can head to Lake Minocqua and take in a waterski show.
Andrew McFerrin "We're a 100% amateur waterski club," Andrew McFerrin explains. He's one of the members of the Min-Aqua Bats.
Another member, Elin Wahman adds, "It's been one of the best things I've done in my life."
Since 1950, the Min-Aqua Bats have been entertaining locals and tourists with a top notch ski show. The performers range from pre-teens to 25 years old and it's clear they love what they do.
"It's like acrobatics on waterskis and it's an incredible thing to watch," says Anna Tedstrom also from the Min-Aqua Bats.
Mary Beyer is a fan.
"It's nice enjoyment and it's wonderful to see what the kids do out there."
For many of the skiers, being a Min-aqua bat runs in the family.
Elin "My mom was a Min-Aqua Bat," Elin Wahman proudly proclaims.
Connor Tedstrom adds, "My grandma was a Min-Aqua Bat in the '50's."
Some just grew up liking the idea of performing.
Christian Wahman says, "I definitely thought that these people watersking were so cool and I wanted to be one of them when I was older."
Anna Tedstrom adds, "I used to watch the shows and be like, oh my god, that's the girl on top of the pyramid, I want to be her."
They're known as the world's oldest amateur waterski team... and they perform a wide variety of exciting acts.
The shows here attract quite a crowd and the skiers become local celebrities.
"It's fun to walk downtown with a bunch of our Min-Aqua Bat friends and they're like, oh those are the Min-Aqua Bats," Anna Tedstrom explains.
Christian Wahman says, "It's great to have all the little kids come down and ask for autographs after the show."
And this talented group shows no signs of slowing down.
Chris Coleman is a former Min-Aqua Bat.
"I'm hopeful that the club continues and that they can maintain the heritage that we've built."
Connor Tedstrom says, "There's a lot of traditions here and we've just got to keep it going for another 64 years."
WISCONSIN - Mud, debris, and damaged property still cover parts of Northern Iron County after a storm ripped through there more than two weeks ago.
The lack of money to repair certain areas is largely keeping the rebuilding process from getting started.
That's why the Federal Emergency Management Agency came to Iron County Tuesday.
It surveyed the damage because of its severity and the extreme costs to fix.
"Really if it's beyond the scope of local jurisdiction, and even the states that respond," said FEMA External Affairs Officer Troy Christensen.
Wisconsin Emergency Management currently believes the damage caused by the mid-July storm is around $38 million across 10 counties and Bad River Reservation. Around $15 million of that happened in Iron County.
FEMA relies on local government like the ones in Iron County to help it assess damage.
"They have sights selected so they will be showing us a lot of these sights." Said Christensen.
Those sights included multiple towns, Saxon Harbor, and crumbled highways.
This week Iron County gave its damage estimates to FEMA.
RHINELANDER - Building a robot may seem like a pretty lofty summer camp goal, but teens in the Northwoods love the technological challenge.
It's all part of a summer camp that's heavy on science and social interaction.
13-year-old Sean Timm says the eight day robotics camp at Nicolet College mixed the best of both worlds.
"I like technology a lot more than I do outside stuff," Timm said. "It's kind of nice to have technology like drones to bring me outside. It's really fun."
Camp Instructor, Mike Wojtusik has many years of experience as a technology education teacher and robotics advisor. He wants kids to see the importance in learning these skills.
"The kids are getting experience from a mechanical engineering side, electrical engineering side, design, prototyping," said Wojtusik. "We try and cover as much as we can about the whole entire system."
Learning about robotics isn't the only thing these students do. Some of them are also exercising skills they'll need in the future.
"I think it's a great experience for them to understand what really goes on in the real world as far as a career," Wojtusik said.
Certain careers that often require teamwork.
"Challenging part is working with a team because you don't always agree on the same thing," said 12-year-old Louis Malais. "When you build a robot you do the most teamwork than I think in any other job."
As their final project, students design and build their own version of a remote control robot.
They are required to work in teams to sketch a vision, make prototypes and design a working model with aluminum.
"It's not just you know operating a piece of machinery, it's learning how that machinery is put together," Wojtusik said.
Students are piecing together machines and building future careers at the same time.
"If I were to get an opportunity to do something like this in the future, I would definitely take it," Timm said.
Throughout the course of the camp, students were exposed to prototyping, brainstorming, modeling, safety and sketching.
The last day of the robotics camp is scheduled to be Thursday, July 28.
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