MRCA LogoThe Minnesota Resort and Campground Association (MRCA) announced that it has awarded scholarships totaling $3,000 to five students for the 2015-16 school year.

The recipients are children of MRCA resort/campground owners or have been closely affiliated with a member business and recommended by its owner. Since 2008, the MRCA has supported 33 students with financial assistance of $17,000.

Nicholas PlankersAmong them was Nicholas Plankers, who was nominated by Timber Trails Resort in Remer. Plankers is in his second year of working for Tom and Kathy Marnik at Timber Trails Resort. His family has a summer cabin on their lake.

Plankers graduated from Blaine High School in 2012 and studies at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. Since working at Timber Trails, he’s thinking about teaching in northern Minnesota so he can serve as a fishing guide in the summers.

“Nick has that something special you look for but don’t always find. I have received many compliments from guests about his friendliness and positive ‘How can I help you’ attitude. Nick has been a great resource for the resort due to his extensive fishing experience on Big Boy Lake,” Tom Marnick said. “This year Timber Trails will embark on a partnership with Nick to get him started as a fishing guide for our guests and other interested fishermen on the lake.”

Allison BergAllison Berg, daughter of Dan and Sandy Berg of Lakecrest Resort in Detroit Lakes. Allison graduated from Detroit Lakes High School this year with a 4.0 GPA and will attend the University of North Dakota. “Living on the resort influenced my future plans by teaching me how to help people,” she said. “My parents are always helping people and that has influenced me in a positive way. In college I will be working toward a degree in physical therapy so that I can help others. I also learned how to properly communicate and deal with problems through living here. If a guest is unhappy one must stay calm and deal with the issue. The same will be for any job but it is extremely important to have proper people skills for physical therapists.”

Eric GoodenEric Gooden, son of David and Diane Gooden of Everett Bay Lodge in Tower. Working hard at the resort helped him make the transition to college. Eric said, “The resort gave me the opportunity to be able to have conversations with adults with careers in other fields who were able to teach me about things I did not know. My interest in chemical engineering started when I talked to a chemical engineer who was staying at the resort. We were sitting around a campfire one night. I talked with him about his job and by the end of the night it was apparent that this was a job that I could be interested in.”

Carly OnraetCarly Onraet, daughter of Rita Onraet of Jessie View Resort in Deer River, said, “Growing up on a resort has really put in perspective for me on what hard work takes. … I’ve learned valuable people skills that will help me in the future. I’ve also learned skills like bookkeeping, money management, business management, sales and more. By learning several different tasks, it has given me the opportunities to try out things as I figure out what I want to do with my life.”

Shelby RueShelby Rue of Bug-Bee Hive Resort in Paynesville. Owner Paul Bugbee said, “Shelby goes an extra five miles in every employment position she has held, ranging from housekeeping, front desk and banquets to children’s activities and special events. She is truly the employee poster child for Minnesota resorts and campgrounds. Her smile radiates all that Minnesota hospitality represents, her work ethic is beyond compare and her people skills are genuinely sincere.” This summer, Shelby serves as the Bee Creative Coordinator, overseeing children’s activities as well as family programs such as dairy farm tours and island adventures.

For details on all five scholarship winners, click here.