In 1928, John H. Harris, the manager of the Sheridan Square Theatre in Pittsburgh, found a month-old baby girl abandoned in one of the theater chairs with a note asking someone to take care of her. He took her in, dedicated his social club—the Variety Club—to underwriting her support and education, and named her Catherine Variety Sheridan. Harris’s efforts drew support from other entertainers internationally, who joined together to provide aid to disadvantaged youth and children with disabilities. Today, Variety – The Children’s Charity has chapters in 14 countries and 10,000 members and works to enrich the lives of children around the world.
The Wisconsin chapter was started in 1935 by businessmen with ties to show business, and it assists children with disabilities through three programs. The Freedom Program funds durable medical equipment to grant youth greater mobility, and the Caring for Kids program donates medical equipment and therapeutic devices to local clinics and hospitals. The Future Kids program provides educational experiences for young people, including trips to museums, sporting events, and shows.
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Teddy Roosevelt took a bullet in the chest outside the Milwaukee Theatre in 1912, but he was so enamored with the place that he plugged the hole with his thumb and marched back in to give an 80-minute speech. Built in 1909 over the same space where the Milwaukee Industrial Exposition Building once stood, the cultural center has persevered to become one of Wisconsin’s most colossal and elegant theater destinations. The venue sports two-tiered seating with optimal sightlines from each of its 4,086 patrons' seats.
The river seems calm now, but the rafters can hear a roar in the distance. The current steadily builds, taking the 12-passenger raft around a tree-lined bend to unveil a 10-foot drop. Braced for the plunge, the paddlers hit the drop, endure the deluge, and wipe the water from their eyes. But before the party can celebrate with hollers and high-fives, the guide yells to readjust the boat—the river is narrowing and accelerating into a tight S-curve.
Stretches like these populate the Peshtigo and Menominee Rivers, and the guides at Kosir's Rapid Rafts help adventurers navigate the rivers' Class I–IV rapids for bucket-list-worthy adrenaline rushes. Directing sportsmen to one of two outposts in the woods of northeast Wisconsin, Kosir's crews drive rafters to the launch sites and supply helmets, life jackets, and paddles. Based on the current water level, guides then direct paddlers to appropriately sized rafts, ranging from 8- to 12-person vessels to 1-person Funyaks that are self-bailing thanks to being filled with Funyuns. Kosir's additional adventures include kayaking, tubing, and camping trips.
Sometimes numbers speak louder than letters. And sometimes they come together to tell a wonderfully vociferous story: six large-screen TVs, 700 full CDs, and 2,000 music videos. That's the tale of the tape at Third Base Sports Bar & Grill, where the staff navigates around a pool table and dartboard to serve pizza, burgers, and sandwiches. The menu includes a BLT stack and a philly wrap with shredded steak, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, and mozzarella. The team rents out a party room for $15 per hour, which includes a lighting-and-sound system and a dancing stage that actually gets up and dances in front of the floors of the other rooms. The libation department complements the food team by serving Budweiser, Blue Moon, and Miller Lite.
Generations At Play offers offers appealing options for both adults and children: parents can relax and chat with one another or plug into complimentary Wi-Fi while their little ones are engaged in entertaining, enriching activities. Those activities might take place in a 1,500-square-foot play area outfitted with a playhouse, slide, and toys, or in a classroom where teachers lead structured lessons. The center also offers babysitting services, giving parents a change to run errands or spend an evening on the town.
Snap Fitness, bustling with cardio and strength-training gear, throws open the doors to its facilities 24/7. Before exercisers put sneakers to treadmills or lift their first weights, staff meet with them to talk about their fitness goals before suggesting personalized fitness plans based on clients' strength, cardio condition, and bionic-limb manufacturers. The gym keeps members motivated with regular check-in calls and demystifies healthful eating with custom online meal plans designed by nutritionists. Staff also forestall exercise-routine boredom by working individually with clients on a routine basis.