Imagine for a second that you set out to kayak the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico where the river meets the ocean. On your way you pass through two towns known as Marquette and McGregor, IA. As you paddle by, you think that these towns might be able to provide you with a hot shower, some food, and a place to sleep for the night. However, you realize that there is no place to store your kayak while you sleep. So, you get back on the water and continue to a town that can accommodate your needs.
As you paddle away, you realized that not only did you miss out on all that Marquette and McGregor have to offer, Marquette and McGregor missed out on you. They missed out on you shopping their stores, dining in their restaurants, and spending time in their lodging. This is a problem for both you as the adventurer and the small business owners in these two communities.
Executive director for the McGregor-Marquette Chamber of Commerce, Jessica Goltz has spoken with kayak travelers who are looking for a place to stay in Marquette and McGregor along with a space to hold their kayaks overnight. With a desire to solve this problem, Jessica pitched her idea for a Kayaking Pool 10 Guide and kayak holding space to the MFL MarMac Authentic Learning class.
After sharing her idea, two students, Sydney Moser and Jordyn Jones jumped at the opportunity. “Kayaking is something we both enjoy, and we are excited to bring these resources to our community,” states Jones. Sydney and Jordyn have already begun to put together the guide that will provide information on kayaking Pool 10 of the Mississippi River from Harpers Ferry to Guttenberg. The two students are collaborating with the Nauti Marina in McGregor to provide a kayak holding space.
In addition to the kayak project, Jessica was approached by two other students, Will Koether and Jonah Wille who pitched the idea of creating a McGregor-Marquette Travel Guide for the Chamber. Will and Jonah are starting their own drone business and see the value in providing images of the area that provide a sense of experience for those wanting to travel to Marquette and McGregor.
The Travel Guide will contain information on area businesses, attractions, and natural resources. “Natures Vacation Destination” will be a common theme throughout the guide along with “Experience the Ports of Discovery” “People are looking for an experience and we have great natural resources to capitalize on,” shared Wille. Jonah and Will have also partnered with Sydney and Jordyn to share ideas since the two projects align with the purpose of increasing tourism.
The Chamber of Commerce recognizes the need for professional development and is excited to offer opportunities to students to gain real life exprience. "This project really is a collaboration between the Chamber, MFL MarMac School District, and local businesses," shared Goltz. "The collaboration provides a sense of community and enhances learning opportunities for area youth. The Chamber see's the value that these projects bring and we are excited to be apart of the work."
More information on the projects will be shared in April during a public presentation from the students. Watch for details about the presentation on the McGregor- Marquette Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.