ARBOR VITAE - Brandy Lake Disc Golf Course in Arbor Vitae has only been around for 2 years. But Disc Golf players from throughout the Northwoods have played at the facility. Next week, some of the best players from not only the state, but nationwide will be playing there.
The inaugural Brandy Lake Shootout runs May 10-12. Some of the best pro and amatuer players will be competing.
"This will be the third year of operation," says Bill Stolpa the course organizer. "In our league program we averaged almost 50 players per week. The next logical step was to showcase the property and host a PDGA (Professional Disc Golf Association) event."
Disc Golf is played just like regular golf. Only instead of hitting a little white ball, you use discs. It's become very popular because of low costs.
Adam Hemmes is one of the early favorites in the Advanced Men's Division. The Arbor Vitae competitor is just 14-years old.
"I just like the challenge of getting the disc into the basket," says Hemmes. "If you hit a tree, you can't blow up. It's just part of it."
Success for the weekend isn't strictly about Disc Golf. With up to 220 players competing, the tourney is on target to make an economic impact in the Lakeland Community.
Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kim Baltus estimates "every visitor roughly spends $150 a day outside of accomidations... So you can figure that's about $300 dollars a day (including hotel). That's a significant impact."
The tournament will be on Mother's Day weekend. Plenty of openings still available for the historic event. The event is free for the people to check out the action.
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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