August '20

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22 • RV PRO • August 2020 rv-pro.com Jennifer Mercer Director of Development CARE CAMPS Speaking to Jennifer Mercer is a bit like drinking champagne: fun, fizzy and effervescent. She is so excited about the work of Care Camps – the non- profit, medically supervised summer camps KOA runs for chil- dren experiencing cancer and their families – that it permeates everything she does. "There is so much need out there," Mercer says simply, adding that the camps give children and their families "a chance to expe- rience some healing in the outdoors, away from a hospital." When she was in college, Mercer managed a car and truck rental company, through which she became involved in commu- nity outreach efforts. In retrospect, she says she "grew to love the chance to give back in as many ways as possible." After that, she spent some time in the pharmaceutical industry before landing a spot as the executive director of a regional charity in her beloved home state of Montana. From there, she discovered Care Camps and, as she says now, "the rest is history." The job brought Mercer her first exposure to the RV industry, which is a big supporter of Care Camps. She says the thing she likes most about the industry are the people and that she is wowed by the industry's leaders and their dedication to making a positive difference in the world. "I believe the RV and camping industry has some of the most genuine, authentic people in the world working in it, and they have a desire to do the right thing, for the right reasons," she says. "It's a great industry to get to work in every day. "Everyone wants to be part of some- thing bigger than themselves," she adds. "We all want to be the hero in our own story, so the leaders that empower their teams to be a part of making that dif- ference have the happiest and most suc- cessful organizations." Mercer says she has been "blessed by many mentors, but the most valuable example was my grandmother, Mary. She chose to invest her time in making a difference to the community she lived in every day, and she passed on that passion to me. She taught me that we may not be able to make a difference to the whole world, but we can make the world a better place for one person ... and that matters. Just do something." Mercer has mentored numerous people, experiences she describes as "incredibly rewarding." "Each person has gifts and abilities that are just waiting to be exposed, so finding out what they are passionate about and allowing them the opportunities to grow those gifts is so much fun," she says. In addition, she is a proud member of the RV Women's Alli- ance and a regular participant in "Elevate Leadership" – a weekly leadership development group where members "work together to learn new leadership skills in an environment of mutual support." Referring to her beloved Care Camps, Mercer says her main goal is to "see every RV business supporting the Care Camps charity." This would allow every employee to make a real differ- ence, she says, which is ultimately what makes people feel good about their job.

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