I’m just back from Chesapeake PETS where President-Elects from four Districts (7600, 7610, 7620, and 7630) gather to get trained to be a great Club President. The Multi-District PETS is a massive operation with more than 200 PE’s getting the best training that Rotary can provide. And they also get the best speakers. The picture above shows RI President-Elect, John Germ, exhorting the PE’s to be “All-Stars.” (Notably, this had to do with some nonsense about next year’s DG Class wearing red Converse All Stars sneakers in San Diego at the International Assembly. Converse All-Stars? Can you still buy them? Has anyone ever heard of NIKE?) But the point was, as it is every year, that being a Rotary Club President is one of the best opportunities an individual can have to make a positive change their club, their community, and the world.
But I submit that despite the highly trained and motivated facilitators that volunteer to teach at PETS, and the professional curriculum for PE’s developed by RI for just this purpose, the very best training for Rotarians doesn’t occur in the breakout or plenary sessions. The best learning occurs in a unique environment called “the hospitality suite.” Regardless of whether the hospitality suite is located at a Multi-District PETS, or located at a District Conference, if you want to find out what is REALLY going on in Rotary clubs in your District, Zone, or around the world, head immediately to the nearest hospitality suite, grab your favorite beverage, and listen to the conversation.
To prove this hypothesis, I bravely decided to shoot some video at the District 7620 suite this year. You will note that many of the attendees have somewhat glazed looks in their eyes due to drinking a few too many margaritas. (Another Note: Yours Truly brought the margarita machine. Special thanks to my partner behind the bar, Rotarian and soon to be First Husband to DGE Anna Mae Kobbe, Doug Newell, for helping to experiment with the ingredients until we ended up with the best margaritas of the evening. Uh….we were actually serving the only margaritas of the evening.) I think the video shows the incredible intensity of the Rotary information being exchanged. You can see how productive everyone was until I showed up.
The next clip is a rare view of a District Governor-Elect motivating and educating her Club Presidents in the Hospitality Suite environment. Here, 7620 DGE Anna Mae Kobbe, was in the middle of explaining how Rotarians can actually finish the job of achieving world peace when I interrupted her with this interview. Unfortunately, even though Anna Mae had the answer to achieving world peace and prosperity by the end of the 2016-17 Rotary year, after she finished her margarita she forgot how to do it. She does remember something about red sneakers, though….
Finally, another benefit of hospitality suites is that you get to interact with the very best and highly trained support staff that Zone 33 has to offer. In this clip I was fortunate enough to capture our Zone Coordinator, Paula Mathews, explaining some of the most intricate and complex issues in Rotary to PE Brahm Prakash, who was desperately trying to understand Paula’s southern accent.
It’s really too bad that none of the Rotarians who attended the hospitality suite seemed to be having a good time.
Not that it matters, but the Rotary clubs in District 7620 are sponsoring seven (count-em) SEVEN hospitality suites at our District Conference. If you want to learn a whole lot about Rotary, that no one will teach you in a classroom, that will change your life, AND have a whole lot of fun, you might want to find one of the hospitality suites and hang around with some interesting and knowledgable Rotarians. TOO MUCH FUN!
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