History of Chesapeake PETS

 Every year in late Winter/early Spring every year, President-Elect Training Seminar (PETS) events are held by 550+ Rotary districts in more than 220 countries, bringing together more than 35,000 Presidents-Elect.  Although the style, setting, and presentation vary, virtually the same curriculum is offered at each training conference. Several years ago, Chesapeake PETS inaugurated a Presidents-Nominee Leadership Academy.  A one-day event, it started club leaders on their path to the presidency a year early and brought them into plenary sessions with all C-PETS participants for fellowship and to hear outstanding speakers.. The first PNLA was offered for 20 Presidents-Nominee, who were invited by their district’s Governor-Elect.  The second year, 40 PNs attended the Saturday event.

The multi-distrct C-PETS started in Virginia in Spring 2006, when two enterprising DGEs, Jim Probsdorfer (7600) and Burt Lamkin (7610), returned from the Rotary Zone Insititue impressed with a presentation from the Florida PETS organization. They decided to join forces to hold the first multi-District PETS in Virginia, held at the Virginia Crossings Resort near Richmond. After that success, an attempt to incorporate District 7570 and two West Virginia Districts was discussed but ultimately did not come to fruition.

In 2007, the second ‘Virginia PETS’ was held at the Virginia Crossings by DGEs Jim Pierce (7600) and Travis White (7610). A representative from D7620, DGE Rich Carson, was present to observe the training, with the potential of having 7620 clubs join in the following year.  In the following two years, D7620 joined forces with D7600 and D7610 and the ‘Virginia PETS’ became “Chesapeake PET”’ to acknowledge the growing arc of Rotary districts around the Chesapeake Bay. Before those two years ended, D7630 requested entrance, growing the combined PETS to more than 215 Rotary Clubs and requiring Chesapeake PETS to relocate to the larger capacity Marriott Westfields in Chantilly.

 All in all, the start-up vision has been realized: the dream of a Multi-District PETS  came true and the leadership of the Chesapeake PETS looks forward to many more successful events where the most important leaders in Rotary – Club Presidents – will be trained.