Chesapeake PETS, a Multi-District Club “Do Over.”


Chesa PETS
Assorted DGEs, DGNs, and Committee Chairs “making it happen” under the watchful eye of Chesapeake PETS Chair, Eric Grubb (far-end left) and training Chair, Jim Probsdorfer (far-end right) at a recent Chesapeake PETS meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, Va.

Rotary changes its leadership throughout the entire organization every year.  For those who prefer to see the glass as half full, that presents a great opportunity.  Why?  Because every year our Rotary clubs get a “do over.”  Meaning, no matter what has happened in the past the new club leadership has the opportunity to reenergize a club with a new vision and new energy.  There are endless examples of a new club President inspiring a club to do great things.  We’ve featured several recently in Ready, Fire, Aim.

Our President Elects are trained at something called PETS, which is the acronym for President-Elect Training Seminars.  And yes, it’s always fun when a club visitor asks why the family dog or cat is being trained for Rotary.  (You get it, right?  PETS training?  Dogs and cats?….whew….tough crowd.)   In our District we participate in a multi-District training extravaganza known as Chesapeake PETS.  Four different Rotary districts participate in putting on a gigantic, combined, two-day training event (Feb 27 to March 1) that has become one of the more amazing examples of multi-District cooperation.

The Chesapeake PETS committee meets just about year-round on a monthly basis to discuss every aspect of the training.  You can probably imagine the issues with the venue, food, AV equipment, trainers and curriculum, guest speakers, finances, registration, etc.  And then, because four different Districts are involved, multiply the havoc involved by multiple times and you get some idea of what’s really involved with the planning.

Fortunately, the current Chesapeake PETS is chaired by the very able District 7630 Past District Governor, Eric Grubb.  (The past Chair was our own PDG, Rich Carson).  Along for the ride is every DGE, DGN, and DGND for each District, which means that when they convene a meeting there is enough brass in the room to set off the metal detectors at Dulles International Airport.  I mean….it is kind of like a bunch of Mafia Dons sitting around the table.  (Just kidding everyone….just kidding.)

Seriously there is a lot of passion, enthusiasm, and institutional knowledge sitting at the table, and the end result is that our new club presidents have a fantastic Rotary experience.  We are lucky to have DGE Bill Fine representing us this year, along with his team of Training Chair, Paul Frey, Yours Truly,  and DGD Anna Mae Kobbe.  Not to mention PDG Bob Grill who is the Chesa. PETS treasurer.

Of course, after PETS the PEs return to their clubs where there is often a titanic collision between our highly  motivated change agents (our newly trained PEs) and Rotarians who love the status quo.  What fun!  And it happens every year.  Stand by for more updates about Chesapeake PETS.