P.E.T.S. A Historical Perspective

P.E.T.S. is the acronym for “President Elect Training Seminar”. This is an event occurring one weekend a year when Rotary Club incoming presidents from nine Rotary Districts are trained for their new responsibilities. Basically, the program addresses leadership and management skills and reinforces the participants knowledge of Rotary International and its myriad programs and opportunities for service. Lone Star P.E.T.S. has historically been held in the Dallas / Fort Worth area because of its central location, ease of transportation and the availability of outstanding facilities.

There are currently ten Rotary Districts that make up the membership of Lone Star P.E.T.S. Inc.: 5730, 5770, 5790, 5810, 5830, 5840, 5870, 5890, 5910 and 5930. Almost all of these Districts lie totally within Texas and Oklahoma with the exception of District 5830 two clubs in the Arkansas portion of the city of Texarkana. There are eleven clubs in far West Texas that are in District 5520 and not a part of Lone Star P.E.T.S. There are 61 clubs in District 5520, of which 50 are in New Mexico.

The first meeting of Lone Star P.E.T.S. was held March 13-15, 1987 in San Antonio, TX. (The planning took place in 1986.) with nine charter districts that are still voluntarily participating today. The organization was formally incorporated as a nonprofit corporation with the State of Texas in 1989 under the name of Lone Star P.E. T. S. Inc.

Following the letter and spirit of The Manual of Procedure, District Governors Elect are involved in planning and conducting this P.E.T.S. For some District Governors Elect this weekend provides the first opportunity for them to get acquainted with those club presidents with whom they will be working during their Rotary year and in their respective leadership roles. Goals are set and a plan of action is introduced that hopefully will enable the clubs individually and the District generally to have the best year ever.

District Governors and Governors-elect nominate Discussion Leaders as well as future Operating Chairmen from within their respective Districts. They review the curriculum, promote attendance and participate generally in evaluating the effectiveness of P.E.T.S

Through a survey, an attempt was made in January 1999 to determine the relevance of the training received at P.E.T.S. The group targeted was current club presidents after they had held office for 6 months. Survey results will continue to be evaluated with the intention of making improvements and refinements in future P.E.T.S. programs where possible and practical,

Lone Star P.E.T.S., Inc. is administered by a Board of Trustees representing nine (9) districts of Texas. The Board is comprised of five (5) officers (the current Operating Chairman and the four most recent Past Operating Chairmen) and four members at-large and/or Operating Chairmen-elects)–a total of ten(10). The administrative team also includes an Executive Director that is a Past Operating Chairman and Past Board Chairman. Additionally an Advisory Board, consisting of all Past Rotary International Directors, currently living in the organizations nine districts, is invaluable as they offer advice and suggestions.

The Lone Star P.E.T.S., Inc. curriculum is reviewed annually as are the Discussion Leaders. The material used in conducting discussion groups is the heart and soul of this training effort. Participants are divided into discussion groups of 16 to 30 trainees each, based on the number of members in their respective clubs. Each discussion group is led by up to six Discussion Leaders during the three half-day sessions. Evaluations by participants of Discussion Leader performance are taken very seriously by the Board of Trustees in a continuing effort to maintain the highest quality of training possible.

Realizing the great importance of spouse support for the club president, a separate and specific program of indoctrination and inspiration is available. Basic Rotary information is provided to the Presidents-elect’s spouses on the programs of Rotary. A growing number of spouses, however, are themselves Rotarians and/or are male, causing the program to be continually reviewed and modified to reflect new trends within Rotary specifically and in society generally. Our task is to improve on what is already good so that future generations of club Presidents-elect will be better able to lead Rotary into its second millennium knowing full well the best is yet to be

One of the outstanding advantages Lone Star P.E.T.S. has enjoyed over single-district training, is that we provide an opportunity for club Presidents-elect to hear top level Rotary International officers as they speak at the Plenary Sessions. Additionally, these officers make themselves available to meet with smaller groups and with individuals sharing their insights, concerns, hopes and plans. To hear these leaders speak to a large group and then perhaps later engage them in personal dialog is a rare opportunity indeed.