Berg: Much-Deserved Fuller Award Honoree
David L. Berg, who co-owns Red Apple Campground in Kennebunkport, Maine, with his wife, Jane, has received the Northeast Campground Association’s (NCA) highest honor: The Curtis Fuller Service Award.
Presented by NCA during its 49th annual conference and trade show in Sturbridge, Mass., the Curtis Fuller Service Award recognizes the unselfish contributions made by an individual who has worked to promote the advancement of camping in the United States over an extended period of time.
Dave Tetrault, NCA’s executive director, described Berg as “a calm gentle man who is always there to help, no matter what the task. Everyone should have the pleasure of having this guy by your side.”
Born and raised in northern Maine, Berg purchased the former Fran Mort Campground in Kennebunkport 16 years ago and changed the name to Red Apple Campground in honor of his parents, who owned and operated the “Red Apple Camps” in northern Maine for several decades.
But while he initially focused on making Red Apple Campground the best it could be, Berg soon turned his attention to helping other park owners through his volunteer efforts. He has held numerous leadership positions in campground industry associations at state, regional and national levels.
He completed two terms as president of the Maine Campground Owners Association, most recently in 2011 and 2012 and previously in 2003 and 2004. He is currently immediate past president of the state association, which he has served for the past 14 years.
He also just completed a three-year term as immediate past president of NCA. He was president of NCA from March 2009 to March 2010 and vice president from March 2005 to March 2009.
He was also chairman of the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) in 2010 and 2011 and has served on the ARVC board for nine years, holding the positions of second vice chairman, first vice chairman and past chairman in addition to the chairman’s position.
But despite his many years of service, Berg said he was surprised to receive the Curtis Fuller Service Award. “While I do not like receiving honors, I am very humbled by this award,” he said, adding, “I was raised to do something for others just because you can, and not to expect something in return. My goal has always been to work as part of a team to make our industry stronger.”
And by all accounts, he did just that.
As word spread about Berg’s nomination for the Curtis Fuller Service Award, NCA received letters praising Berg’s character, service and dedication from individuals who have worked with him throughout his lifetime, including Robert F. MacKenzie, Kennebunk’s chief of police.
“I am sure that the Curtis Fuller Service Award is well deserved,” Chief Mackenzie said, adding that he worked with Berg on the Kennebunk Police Department in the 1980s and ’90s.
NCA also received a letter praising Berg from Michael Baptista, the son of Acres of Wildlife founder Maria Baptista, who inspired Berg to go into the campground business in Maine. “He is a true Mainer,” Baptista said. “He is generous, thoughtful and full of life. He has been and continues to be an important role model in my life. I am happy to see him receive the Curtis Fuller Award and I know my mother would be so extremely proud of him today.”
Campground industry officials also lauded Berg’s character, determination and service to the industry, not only at state and regional levels, but at the national level through his service on the ARVC board.
Berg was deeply involved in changing ARVC’s direction and laying the foundation for significant changes in staffing, direction and focus that are being implemented by President and CEO Paul Bambei, who joined the association in December 2010.
“David was committed to see ARVC undergo some fundamental changes, both internally and externally, relative to becoming a more focused organization that is more responsive to its members,” said Rob Schutter, ARVC’s chairman, adding, “We wouldn’t be where we were if it wasn’t for David’s drive and determination and his ability to help people build consensus.”
Bambei, for his part, added humor to Berg’s accolades, noting that his receipt of the Curtis Fuller Service Award was “not bad for a former photographer, turned cop, turned union negotiator, turned campground owner. Because you chose our industry, we’re all the better for it.”
Dick and Lucas Hartford of Evergreen Insurance also praised Berg’s dedication.
“There is no doubt that this gentleman has taken our industry to many places that it has not been at a time (when) our industry needed a new surge or direction.”
Berg said he has been “touched very deeply” by the many letters of praise and words of congratulations he has received upon receiving the Curtis Fuller Service Award. He said it is important for park owners across the country to consider serving on the boards of their state, regional and national associations.
“One person with one good idea can make a world of difference in our industry,” Berg said, adding, “I can assure you that volunteering your time will be returned to you 100 times over.”
Named after Curtis Fuller, a well known personality from Woodall’s Publications Corp., the Curtis Fuller Service Award was first given to Richard Hartford of Evergreen Insurance in 1988. David and Pat Tetrault also received the award in 2010.
Read the April issue of Woodall’s Campground Management to learn more about David L. Berg and his campground.