EAGLE RIVER - Imagine yourself running a 5k. Does the thought exhaust you?
Now imagine running a 5k where you’re only about chest-height compared to the rest of the runners.
Dozens of fourth and fifth graders from Northland Pines are up to the challenge.
The “Mission Possible” running club will take on the Journey’s Marathon 5k this weekend after seven weeks of training.
“I think I’m ready for it,” said fifth grader Brady Snedden.
He’s been training with 71 other students from Northland Pines Elementary School.
Teacher Megan Hoffman started Mission Possible last year with just 30 students.
“We just saw some of the kids not veering down the right path,” Hoffman said. “[They were] not making the right decisions as far as the foods they were eating and activities they were doing.”
That’s not an issue for fourth grader Lakken Ludwig.
“I love to run with my friends and I just like to be active,” she said.
Ludwig plays soccer, too. But running feels different.
“You can just run and you don’t have to worry about anything.”
That idea makes running accessible to almost anyone.
“All of the kids can participate,” Hoffman said. “Whether they’re here to walk or whether they’re here to run, they don’t really necessarily have to have a special talent. Everyone is welcome.”
“I feel good because every night when I go home, my parents are proud of me because I did it and it just makes me feel like I’m always in shape,” Ludwig said.
That kind of encouragement is important, but the big payoff is the big race.
“It plays a huge role in our community, to see the kids out there with their families – some of the parents are running, aunts and uncles are running, because [the kids] are running,” Hoffman said. “It’s just played such a huge impact beyond the school and in the community.”
“It’s just fun to train for something you know is big and that you want to accomplish,” Snedden said.
RHINELANDER - The Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce group held a seminar at Nicolet College in Rhinelander Tuesday, to plan how to make Wisconsin more attractive to skilled workers and manufacturing businesses.
WMC's president believes the shortage in younger people in the industry has to do with two big misconceptions about manufacturing.
"The younger kids, as do their parents, have a perception on what manufacturing looks like and it's about 40 years out of date. If you're in an advanced manufacturing facility now, it's clean, it's high-tech, the engineers and technicians are working together," said Jim Morgan."We have a perception problem. I think we still have a definition of success that's says unless you have a four-year degree, you're not successful."
Morgan says groups like WMC work to change that perception. He believes workers with a two-year degree are just as successful in the industry.
So far, WMC held seminars at nine other technical colleges. For Rhinelander, more manufacturers could mean more economic independence.
"The Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce is looking to see how it can help and partner with local manufacturers to make the Rhinelander area a more favorable place for them to locate their businesses, as well as to attract and retain skilled workers to make those businesses successful," said Dana DeMet, Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce director.
Over the next six months, WMC will continue to look for ways to attract more workers and businesses to the state.
In December, it hopes to have 1000 representatives for a meeting in Milwaukee focusing on how manufacturing will benefit the state.
WMC also works with the University of Wisconsin system and the Wisconsin Technical Colleges.
WAUSAU - Students at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau got to see Tibetan monks create a work of art steeped in Buddhist history.
The Mandala Sand Art is an ancient Tantric Buddhist tradition dating back thousands of years.
The Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery are on an international tour called Mystical Arts of Tibet where they create mandalas in front of an audience.
"The colored patterns we are using, we are following the scriptures, the Buddhist scriptures. It's a very old tradition, more than 2,500 years ago," says Geshe Loden, head of the Mystical Arts of Tibet.
The monks' last visit to Northcentral Technical College in 2011 was so popular, they were invited back.
"At NTC we feel like it's important to offer our students a variety of different programming, and one of the things we feel our responsibility to do is expose our students to other cultures, other religions, other ideas," says Director of Student Development Shawn Sullivan.
The monks work hours at a time placing sand delicately in the lines of the intricate pattern.
The mandala will take them four days to complete, but the beautiful creation won't last long.
"After finishing this, making the mandala, we consecrate this completed mandala, and we dismantle it to symbolize the impermanence of all the conditioned things, all the phenomena," says Loden.
The monks' tour raises money for more than 3,000 monasteries in India. They also do it to raise awareness about the plight of Tibetans.
"Lord Buddha had started this, and that tradition keeps going on."
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