For a long time, PETS has been the acronym for 'Presidents Elect Training Seminar'.  For us, the new Presidents Elect, this first training was over a weekend held at Massey University on 21st and 22nd November.
But, it has been decided that we will no longer have the focus on training, so our new acronym will be PEDS, where the “D” means “Development”, as new Presidents need that, rather than training.
Three of us from the Hutt Rotary Clubs went to this seminar, together with our AG Michelle Simpson.  We had 2 days of training from Mark Wheeler, our incoming DG, Gillian Jones, our present DG, and from Mitchell Brown, a past DG, who is the director of training, as well as several of the AG’s.
Our thoughts for the seminar need to be directed into thinking about, “How do we Walk Backwards into the Future?”  We were reminded that it is important that we all remember that the power is with the clubs, and we need to harness the power of our communities.
One of the first exercises that we had to do was called “Keep, Start or Stop”, where we had to talk with the 3 members of our cluster, and Michelle, about what things we should keep in our meetings, whether there was anything that we would like to start, and was there anything that we would like to stop.  None of us in our cluster wanted to stop anything, because all 3 of us considered that anything that we wanted stopped, had already been done!
Another question that we had to ask ourselves, thinking about the projects that our club undertakes, is do we actually ASK our community what they would like, or do we assume that we KNOW what they want.  How do we go about finding out what they do need or want us to do?
Our new Rotary International President is to be Shekhar Mehta.  Although his primary goal is the eradication of Polio, he also wants to support the clubs in the 7 areas of focus, which are:
• promoting peace
• fighting disease
• providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene
• saving mothers and children
• supporting education and
• growing local economies, and (recently)
• Improving the environment.
We have come a very long way since Rotary’s inception.  Did you know that in 1909, Rotary’s first project in Chicago was a toilet block?  In Wellington, Rotarians organised the building of the Karitane hospital in 1921.   Think about how the Rotary club of South Wairarapa started the Martinborough fair, and how big that has become!  Another Rotary project that has become famous world wide is Zealandia, in Karori, and so it continues, with both big and small projects done by us as Rotarians.
It would be a huge exercise to tell you all about this first training/development, but we need to think further about the future of our own club, and how we can move successfully into the future.  We know that the past is clearly visible, but the future is not.  We have imperfect information for the future.
Where does our club need to be in 1,2..5 years time?  This is up to us!