Friday, June 23, 2006

Distass, May 6

Last May 6, we attended the 2nd and last required training seminars for PEs, the District Assembly or Distass (the first was the PETS, last March). Host club here was the RC of Makati Center, under Serving President Leonardo "Nards" Tanlu. The activity was held in Canyon Woods Resort Club, in Laurel, Batangas.

Like the PETS, I again hitched with classmate Rey Alas (hey, we're neighbor), PE of RC Makati-Nielsen, along with Joel Ciron, PP of our club.

Several times in the past, I have passed by Canyon Woods (between Tagaytay and Lemery) and I was always curious how it looks inside. So the Distas was my first opportunity to finally enter the resort. And wow, it's really grand! The clubhouse is huge, and the posts, huge and rounded cement posts, they look like giant wood trunks.

Before the program proper, PEs have again posed for a group picture with Gov-Elect Butch Francisco and wife Maling. As usual, people have good smiles whenever you lump them in a big group and lots of cameras clicking and flashing in front of them.

Gov. Jimmy Cura was in his usual stance -- delivering eloquent, extemporaneous (no notes) and inspiring opening address. Gov-Elect Butch is also in his usual poise -- always smiling, and doesn't talk long.

Our main resource speaker that day was PDG Bill Dethlefs from Australia, who spoke on "To serve we must grow", showing some numbers about membership, and emphasizing the need to retain and develop current members and recruit new ones.

The luncheon plenary was rather long. There were 5 topics delivered by 5 panelists: DSWD Sec. Esperanza Cabral on Hunger, RC Makati PP Puno Pena on Health, RC Makati JPRizal PP Lita Wells on Literacy, RC Makati PP Tito Panlilio, and RC Makati Dasmarinas PP Ding Dizon on Family of Rotary.

But what made things bad, even intolerable for others, was the delayed serving of lunch! I was able to finish my lunch about 1:45pm; somehow I was lucky because others haven't eaten until past 2:30pm.

The afternoon group sessions was more dynamic. District officials on one group, club secretaries and other club officers on another group, spouses on another group, and our group, the PEs, on another. Naturally, DGE Butch was our main panel speaker. I still cannot remember the names of many of my classmates, but many dished out valid issues and questions. One of them suggested that instead of a scheme where clubs compete with each other for points to get awards, the system be changed to non-competitive point system where some clubs would earn sort of "summa cum laude", others "cum laude", and so on. This way, clubs will be competing not against each other, but within themselves how much work they can accomplish, from membership expansion to having Paul Harris fellows to community/youth/international services.

Classmate Inky Reyes voiced out his members' concerns that although DGE Butch wants club inductions to be as simple and austere as much as possible to earn points, his members want to have a grand party at a grand place, and he's going to invite all of us, fellow Presidents, to witness that big event in their club. We applauded the man of course, for that very early invitation. I even suggested to Gov. Butch that we better do away with the points system for the club induction because while Inky will not get points, he will make us happy with a sumptuous food and drinks treat! But Gov. Butch replied that he'll keep the said points system for club inductions. If some guys would throw a lavish party, no problem; if others will be austere about it, no problem either.

Then another session on same groupings. Our session was "Using new technology", led by PDG Willy Segovia and PP Fritz Ocampo. They talk about using the web for our education on RI matters, how to use web-based texting, and so on. Gov. Willy even gave away 2 discs, one on downloaded important RI materials especially on TRF, and another on Powertext software.

The program was ended with a group singing of "Lead the way" (tune of "happy heart") with classmate Joey Lina as lead singer.

We left Canyon Woods rather dark, past 7pm. This time, Joel and I hitched with PP Herman Gapac on our way back to Makati as Rey Alas has to go to Alabang for some business meeting.

Whew, formal district trainings are over. The challenge of actual club work and trainings still beckoning...

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