Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador Organization

100 South 1st Street
P
O Box 580737
Minneapolis, MN 55458

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Queen of the Lakes Elise Toussaint

from the community of North Branch

Elise Toussaint is a student at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. She is in the University Honors Program, and a member of the Black Student Union. Elise plans to apply to medical school, with hopes of becoming an anesthesiologist, or an obstetrics-gynecologist. Elise volunteers with Nike in a program that encourages children to be active, and she will be volunteering regularly at a clinic. Elise's personal goal is "to do something to further someone's success everyday."

Minneapolis has been the heart and the hub of Robert Schroeder’s entire life. As a child, Robert’s playgrounds included Minnehaha Creek and the Falls, the Mississippi River bottoms below the Ford Dam, Fort Snelling and the Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport. Curiosity and a bit of fearlessness combined well for a life of adventure. He rode and raced motorcycles, and began flying airplanes and gliders at age 12. Robert flew solo before he got his driver’s license.

 

At age 15 his sharp eyesight changed, disqualifying him from achieving his dream of becoming an Air Force fighter pilot; it was a huge disappointment and personal setback for him. Instead, by age 18, Robert was trained as an Air Force Crash Rescue Firefighter, sparking a lifelong career as a scientist and fire investigator. Schroeder has been in the “fire business” nearly 50 years; fighting fires, investigating fires and researching fire and materials. His work has taken him from Argentina to Alaska and points in between. A graduate of Oklahoma State University and the University of California, Berkeley, Dr Schroeder has multiple engineering and science-based degrees.

 

“Schroeder” as he is called by many, loved attending the Aquatennial Grand Day and Torchlight Parades. A chance encounter in the spring of 1974 lead to Schroeder’s first involvement with the Aquatennial. Harry Powers, one of the world-famous “Aqua Jesters,” detected a curiosity in Schroeder and invited him to take clown classes and audition for the Aqua Jesters. Schroeder participated in his first Aquatennial Grand Day and Torchlight Parades in 1974, creating joy and fun as an Aqua Jester character for the next three years. This experience taught Schroeder about the importance of volunteerism, community involvement, and reaching out to those in need. Schroeder is thrilled to return 45 years later as the Aquatennial Ambassador Organization's Commodore.

has been the heart and the hub of Robert Schroeder’s entire life. As a child, Robert’s playgrounds included Minnehaha Creek and the Falls, the Mississippi River bottoms below the Ford Dam, Fort Snelling and the Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport. Curiosity and a bit of fearlessness combined well for a life of adventure. He rode and raced motorcycles, and began flying airplanes and gliders at age 12. Robert flew solo before he got his driver’s license.

 

At age 15 his sharp eyesight changed, disqualifying him from achieving his dream of becoming an Air Force fighter pilot; it was a huge disappointment and personal setback for him. Instead, by age 18, Robert was trained as an Air Force Crash Rescue Firefighter, sparking a lifelong career as a scientist and fire investigator. Schroeder has been in the “fire business” nearly 50 years; fighting fires, investigating fires and researching fire and materials. His work has taken him from Argentina to Alaska and points in between. A graduate of Oklahoma State University and the University of California, Berkeley, Dr Schroeder has multiple engineering and science-based degrees.

 

“Schroeder” as he is called by many, loved attending the Aquatennial Grand Day and Torchlight Parades. A chance encounter in the spring of 1974 lead to Schroeder’s first involvement with the Aquatennial. Harry Powers, one of the world-famous “Aqua Jesters,” detected a curiosity in Schroeder and invited him to take clown classes and audition for the Aqua Jesters. Schroeder participated in his first Aquatennial Grand Day and Torchlight Parades in 1974, creating joy and fun as an Aqua Jester character for the next three years. This experience taught Schroeder about the importance of volunteerism, community involvement, and reaching out to those in need. Schroeder is thrilled to return 45 years later as the Aquatennial Ambassador Organization's Commodore.

Aquatennial Princess Erin Westlund

from the community of Hutchinson

Erin Westlund is a student at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota. Erin is studying elementary education. She has a long-term goal of earning her masters degree in STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Math) education, and to especially emphasize outdoor education. Erin has participated in three mission trips, delivered food with Meals on Wheels, and serves as a board member for Ducks Unlimited. Erin is also an instructor for youth figure skating.

Aquatennial Captain Stephen Zins

Owner, LS Investments, LLC

Dr. Stephen Zins is a retired Chiropractic Kinesiologist with over 23 years of experience in the healthcare field. During his clinical career, he operated two private practices in the Minneapolis area and St. Michael. Currently, Stephen is the CEO of a real estate investing company, LS Investments, LLC, which specializes in rental and distressed properties. Investing in real estate and understanding the power of passive income, has allowed him to pursue his dreams of public speaking, seminar development and presentation, and book writing. He is currently writing 2 books on health and human interaction and hopes they will be best sellers. His goals and objectives have always revolved around assisting others to achieve their optimal best and to bring about individual change for the greater good.

 

In addition to real estate, Stephen is a consultant for business owners in the development of successful businesses through building solid foundations in the areas of finance, procedures, standard operations and future investment.

In his free time, Stephen enjoys reading, researching, golfing, traveling, meeting up with friends, exploring new places and historical sites, and many other activities. He is the favorite uncle of six amazing nieces and nephews and enjoys watching them grow up. Stephen coached women’s slow pitch softball for seven seasons and is a Minnesota State High School football official of 22 years with state tournament experience. He is honored and excited to be serving as an Aquatennial Captain.

Aquatennial Princess Jennifer Anderson

from the community of Lakeville

Jennifer Anderson is a student at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. Jennifer's career goal is to become a social media marketing analyst and digital content creator. Jennifer volunteers with young girls through her church, provides entertainment at senior living centers, and also assists with recruitment via social media for the organization Sleep in Heavenly Peace. Jennifer is an active member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and received the National Encore Conventional Scholarship Award.

 

Aquatennial Captain Terri Kane

Terri is a long time Aquatennial volunteer who has assisted in various events in all of the original divisions including Parades, Power Boats and the Aqua Fireworks Party. She was also instrumental in the revamping of the Aqua Dragon float for the Aquatennial's 50th anniversary.

Along with being involved in the Aquatennial, Terri has volunteered her time with other events and festivals in various roles such as the St. Louis Park Parktacular Parade Coordinator and board member; Woodbury, Eagan, Rice Street, and West St. Paul parade volunteer; Dreadwood Haunted Forest volunteer; Holidazzle pacer; and BIR SCCA and IMSA racing series safety worker.

Terri has always enjoyed the friendships and mission of the Aquatennial and Aquatennial Ambassador Organization. She started with the Aquatennial as a “day of” volunteer and stayed because of the people. As she likes to put it, she’s spent more of her birthdays with her Aquatennial family than her own family.

Terri is a graduate of the College of St. Teresa with a degree in Social Work and Psychology. She has worked in the customer relations field since she graduated.

She is a lifelong Minneapolis resident.

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The Aquatennial Ambassadors represent the Minneapolis Aquatennial at nearly 300 community festivals and events throughout North America each year.

 

The Ambassador Crew consists of the Queen of the Lakes, Commodore, two Aquatennial Princesses and two Captains who volunteer their time and efforts for the AAO.

 

The Senior Ambassadors, supported by the Minneapolis Aquatennial Senior Alumni Association (MASAA) complete the Aquatennial Ambassador Crew with the Senior Queen, Senior Commodore, Senior Princess and Senior Vice-Commodore.

 

At the end of their year of service as an Aquatennial Ambassador, the Queen of the Lakes and Princesses each receive educational scholarships provided by the generous donors and members of the AAO.

Aquatennial Ambassador Crew

The Queen of the Lakes began with the Aquatennial's inception in 1940.

When the Ambassador Crew visits a community that sends an Ambassador Candidate to Aquatennial Week, a Queen's Charm is given to the Candidate as her official invitation.

The Commodore
is the primary spokesperson for the AAO and escort of the Queen of the Lakes.

At each festival the Ambassador Crew visits, an Honorary Commodore Award is presented to an outstanding volunteer nominated by the local community.

In recognition of his/her year of service, the Commodore is promoted to Admiral and is given a blue coat.

The Aquatennial Princesses were added to the Ambassador Crew in 1952. 

Similar to the Queen of the Lakes, each Princess wears a Crown featuring a stylized "M" for Minneapolis inside of a heart and waves representing the City's nickname, "The City of Lakes."

The Aquatennial Captains 

are the primary escorts of the Princesses and responsible for keeping the Aquatennial Crew organized and on-time.

Captains & Commodores are chosen by a nomination committee.  In recognition of their year of service, the Captains are promoted to Commanders and given a gray coat.