Karen McKay Bevers, our incoming president for the 2018-19 Rotary year, attended the PETS Conference at a Seatac Hotel the weekend of Feb. 22-25, 2018. This is a training session for all Rotary president-elects in several Rotary districts. There were more than 700 persons in attendance. For her complete report, see below.
By Karen McKay Bevers, President-Elect 2017-18
I just got back from President Elect Training – known as PETS.
I’ll be honest.  I wasn’t super excited about it. I am pretty selfish about my time with my kids and not only did I have to give up a weekend with my family, had to take a vacation day from work because it started on Friday. I had to miss the Wild Game dinner, and I had been inundated for weeks with pre-PETS emails and PETS “pre-work.”  I felt apprehensive, and a little intimidated. I was expecting to show up and get lectured by a bunch of Rotarians or Rotary International reps about what we “should” be doing.
I was in for a very pleasant surprise.  PETS was awesome.
I loved it.  It was an amazing, positive weekend, and went from feeling skeptical to being inspired.  A wise past president told me that going to PETS was going to feel like drinking from a firehose.  That was a fair statement.   I experienced many emotions over the weekend… and I’ll be honest – I felt a little overwhelmed more than once. And I came home Sunday afternoon and fell asleep on the couch. I was exhausted.
It is pretty amazing and inspiring to be in a room with 700+ people who all want to serve their community People who want to lead and inspire others to make the world a better place. 700+ individuals of all ages, races and walks of life who believe in Rotary and the power of Rotary.
And now I feel inspired.   And you are going to be hearing that word from me and in Rotary a lot in the next year.  Why?  This year’s theme:  Be the Inspiration.
Karen and her kids Keith and Evvie.
I’ll be honest. I’ve never really paid attention to the annual “theme” of Rotary.   But, I am feeling inspired about Rotary and the upcoming year, and I hope I can be the inspiration for our club in my tenure. This theme really resonates with me!
I want to share my biggest ‘takeaway’ from this weekend.  PETS made me remember why I’m in Rotary.
At PETS, we were encourage us to “ask why” a lot as president.  We talked about the “Rotary Why”:   
The Rotary Why is friendship, working together, engaging our skills and passion, and taking action to have a positive impact.
I’ll talk more about my Rotary Why in the coming months.  I think this picture tells a lot about my Rotary Why (thanks, Geoff for the great pic).
I want to encourage you to think about your Rotary Why.
  • Why did you join Rotary? Is it the same reason you have stayed in Rotary?
  • Why do you come to the meetings every week?
  • Why do you give up your limited free time to help with Rotary projects or chair an event or committee?
  • Why do you get up early to go to Bremerton HS to meet with AVID students?
I encourage you all to think about your “Rotary Why.”  You might find yourself feeling a little more inspired about Rotary. 
And, if you are looking for a bit of inspiration, I want to encourage you all to attend the Rotary District Leadership Training Conference coming up the first weekend of May in Tacoma. Again – total transparency here – I’ve never felt especially compelled to attend these trainings.  However, several times this weekend I found myself wishing that each of you could be at PETS with me because I know you would have been moved and inspired like I was.
While we can’t all go to PETS, anyone can attend the District Training Conference. I highly recommend you consider it.  The club has some funds available to subsidize registration – please talk to me, Geoff or Andrea if you are interested in going, and we’ll work out the details.