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Bentsen Palm Village sweeps Texas awards

MISSION—Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort, which won national recognition last year for its customer service, activities and operational excellence, has earned three more awards from the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO).

The awards, presented April 28, include “Park of the Year” in recognition of Bentsen Palm Village’s operational excellence, customer service, guest reviews, directory ratings, employee training techniques, community service, and association involvement.

“We have these awards every year and Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort was selected as the best in the large park category, which involves parks that have more than 151 campsites,” said Brian Schaeffer, TACO’s executive director and CEO.

Rayford Crossing RV Resort in Spring, Texas received the Park of the Year Award in the medium size park category, which involves parks with 51 to 150 sites, while no awards were given this year in the small park category.

Bentsen Palm Village also received both of TACO’s newest awards, including its Best Event Award and its Best Welcome Package Award.

Bentsen Palm Village received the Best Event Award for its annual pet parade during the third weekend in February, which the park uses as a charity event to raise money for Cinderella Pet Rescue, a no-kill animal shelter in Mission.

Owners dress up their pets to participate in the parade and donate $1 to cast each vote for the top pets that compete in three categories, including best dressed, most obedient and best trick. 

This year’s pet parade had 55 participants and raised $2,100 in donations for Cinderella Pet Rescue. Two of the pet shelter’s dogs were also adopted by Bentsen Palm Village guests that weekend, said Juanita Carvajal, who co-manages the resort with her husband, Guy.

Bentsen Palm Village also won the Best Welcome Package Award. 

Guests arriving at Bentsen Palm Village receive a map of the park and a directory of amenities, cable television listings and a directory of local events. They also receive a local map of Mission, and a map of the Rio Grande Valley. Upon check-in, guests are also asked to fill out two copies of an emergency help card, which they use to list contact information for their doctors and family members as well as any medications they are taking. Guests are asked to post one card on their refrigerator and to keep the other one in their vehicle in the event of an emergency. The help card also lists emergency contact information for local police, fire and ambulance services. 

In November, Bentsen Palm Village received the Park of the Year Award from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. The 250-site campground won the award in the medium size park category at the national level, which is based on several criteria, including customer service, employee training, operational excellence, national directory ratings and community service. 

Built 10 years ago by developer/builder Mike Rhodes and his wife, Lori, Bentsen Palm Village is located next to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park and has a lot of visitors who come to enjoy the resort’s native plants, which host butterflies and birds. “Our guests love to come bird watching and butterfly watching,” Carvajal said, adding that the park also has two miles of frontage along the Rio Grande River.

“We have pontoon boats that take people on the river for bird watching and nature tours,” she said.

Although Bentsen Palm Village was built from scratch, the owners planted native trees and shrubs, which are becoming more beautiful each year as they mature, Carvajal said. The park was designated by Texas Parks & Wildlife as a certified wildscape and is the largest of its kind in Texas. 

Carvajal said Bentsen Palm Village plans to install pickle ball courts and double the size of the park’s wood shop this summer. New washers and dryers will also be installed, while additional irrigation systems will be put in place in two of the park’s camping areas.

“Every year we try to make improvements,” Carvajal said, adding that last year’s improvements included the construction of a gun range.

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