This year’s President Elect Training Seminar and Secretary Elect Training Seminar, organized by the Rotaract District 3220, commonly referred to as PETs and SETs 2018, was scheduled to be promising to every President and Secretary elect in the district. As this was a first ever experience to all the newly elected Presidents and Secretaries to meet the district committee members as well as fellow president and secretary elects from other rotaract clubs of the district.
Morning of the 12th of May, Tangerine Hotel, Kaluthara, was ready to welcome the excited president and secretary elects of all rotaract clubs of the district. Two buses departed from the Royal Skills Center, Colombo at about 6:40 am and reached the Tangerine Hotel by 9am. As soon as both the buses reached the destination, the participants were warmly welcomed and without sparing much time, rooms were allocated for all members in groups of 3 for the clubs present. The schedule to start off the event was in a perfect sequence- and as soon as the rooms were allocated, the opening ceremony was held- which included the formal proceedings followed by quite a few informative speeches conducted by DRR Elect (2018-19) Rtr. Amjath Yoosuf and the Rotary Governor (2018-19) Rtn. Dushan Soza. The opening ceremony was concluded to then gather around for the Official Group Photo followed by an in depth discussion of the RI Documents for Rotaract.
All Presidents and Secretaries present were then divided into teams, and asked to assume the team was a mini Rotaract club. The teams then commenced to choose a name and board of directors for their new found clubs. This totaled to 10 teams with the elects eagerly discussing their team names. Afterwards, the teams were informed that they would compete in various challenges throughout the two day training seminar and the winning team would be announced at the end. This announcement was then followed by the first challenge; a quiz about the history of Rotaract. This proved to be a great way to learn more about the history while getting to know the new found teammates.
Right afterwards, the teams were asked to pick from chits of paper that contained the names of a Type of Dance and a Genre of Music. These would be for the third challenge which would be coming up later in the day, after dinner. By the time all teams were sorted, it was time for lunch and all rotaractors were queuing down the dining hall. Lunch, to all rotaractors, was a need at the time, after almost getting exhausted from a morning filled with activities. After lunch, all the energetic rotaractors were amped up to have fun, learn new things and of course, to meet fellow rotaractors of the district and to meet their roommates.
Having the lunch that was bit too much, meeting and getting to know the roommates was a good experience as it was with them that the rest of the days were to be spent. The groups divided earlier in the day were then called to start off with the next challenge; a scavenger hunt. While five of the teams headed away to the scavenger hunt, the rest had to attend an informative session conducted on district citations presented by DRR Elect (2018-19) Rtr. Amjath Yoosuf.When the session came to an end, the slots were switched and both activities took place parallelly.
The scavenger hunt made the bond among team members strong, with all teams motivated to finish up the competition. The clues that lead to each task was daunting enough to make the scavenger hunt harder. The tasks each team had to face included building a sand castle, chess game, drawing a club logo and a Haka dance.
After the completion of the parallel sessions, it was almost dusk, and rotaractors were given refreshments, plus a much needed break. By the time everyone was ready to kick back in full throttle, it was time for dinner, and that too was followed by the 3rd challenge which was a dance competition. This dance item truly was appalling. To anyone who’s forte is not in the field of dancing, especially, as the task was to come up with a dance choreography in a very short time, based on the track and the theme assigned to each team from the chits of paper chosen earlier in the day. This segment was truly a picture of how creative rotaractors
are as they improvised and worked together in creating the most entertaining dances, an example would be a traditional Kandyan dance done to Hip hop music- arguably the most entertaining segment of the night. After the announcement of the best performers of the night, all the rotaractors went off to a well- deserved rest, a peaceful sleep. That was the whole idea but, it was not meant to be, because all the rooms were filled with music and laughter; a clear reflection on how much everyone enjoyed the day. Although, all the rooms went silent as it passed midnight.
The second day dawned, with many rotaractors finding it hard to be up for the morning zumba session. Starting at 5.45 in the morning, the zumba session was more of a wake up call; tiring but definitely fun. This undoubtedly proved to be a great way to start the morning, with the participants laughing and dancing as they struggled to catch up with the zumba instructors who most definitely did a great job as the energy in the room pumped up. Finishing off with everyone, including those who were too shy to dance, joining in .The session concluded with a group selfie before wrapping up for a quick change. Breakfast was a welcoming sight, as everyone was hungry and eager to dig into the mouth watering buffet. The breakfast was followed by two enlightening sessions- first, the Role of Presidents & Secretaries was presented by Past District Governor Rtn. Thariq Thulba. Then for all the elect presidents and secretaries, separate sessions were conducted. For presidents, the decorated district committee member DRR. (2016-17) Rtr. Mohamed Husni. A parallel session was being conducted by District Rotaract Secretary (2018-19) Rtr. Afraa Mohamed and District Rotaract Secretary (2016-17) Rtr.Tilani Subasinghe, for all elect secretaries. Basically on the different guidelines on the roles of a president and secretary respectively.
The most anticipated segment of the event, the bidding of the district projects, was called after lunch. This was no game, and the atmosphere in the room was competitive.The look in the eyes of all presidents’ and secretaries’ confirmed it. Based on a point system, the bidding took place, where clubs placed their bids on different projects put up by the district committee- per every project there were three clubs competing to host it, including key projects such as project ‘Serve’, ‘Lead the way’ and RCL. Finally, the bidding came to an end; with some clubs lucky enough to host projects of their choice and some clubs, not.
To bring up a change to the challenging atmosphere already prevailing, the final challenge of the seminar was a presentations for a project idea. The quick round of presentations came to an end leading to the announcement of the overall winners of all the challenges.The evening was coming to an end- with not one rotaractor figuring out how fast time flew. Marking the end came the closing ceremony. After concluding the event with necessary formalities, to everyone’s amazement, a surprise birthday wish was conveyed to DRR (2017-18) Rtr. PP. Anuradha Senanayake. Right before all rotaractors were getting ready to leave the premises, the Rotaract tradition; the mandatory group photo was taken. The best part was when heading back home. In contrast to how dull the journey to the event was, the return journey was filled with laughter and joy. There was singing and dancing till the end of the journey
As all good things come to an end, the president and secretary elect of the district truly experienced two days of motivational speeches by inspiring leaders, well thought up sessions of knowledge transferring and a great platform for fellowship. PETs and SETs will forever be a fond memory for all those who participated, as it was there that bonds were made that will never be broken.