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About the 2017 District 7280 Conference

For over two years a group of very dedicated Rotarians have been planning a special three day event in Punxsutawney for May 19, 20 and 21, 2017.  That event known as District Conference is the time to celebrate the year of “Rotary Serving Humanity.”  The key word here is celebrate!

While writing this newsletter we literally have people coming from Europe, Canada and from several different U.S. states.  Yet, the reality of this year and every year is many of our own District clubs and members never take the time to experience the fun and fellowship of their fellow Rotarians and many guests.

Why not?  Well that question has been analyzed and re-analyzed for many years.  Here are some of the comments made with what seems to be commonly unknown responses.

  • It’s too long…..
    • You don’t have to attend the entire time and can pick and choose what to attend.
      • Nothing says you have to sign up for everything.
    • It costs too much…..
      • What doesn’t these days? But the reality is the sessions would cost you ZERO DOLLARS to attend.  Lodging is less expensive due to negotiated rates than anywhere you travel these days and meals, after you drive to and eat at a restaurant or banquet are actually less than other similar events.
    • I’m too busy…..
      • Amen to that comment. Today’s life is always busy.  Conference is meant to relax and enjoy.
    • I’m not welcome and it’s not for me – I’m just an average Rotary member.
      • Absolutely incorrect. Conference is designed for everybody and is more about networking and building friendships.  That means every Rotary member, spouses, significant others, friends and guests are all involved in attending.
    • The Golf Tournament is closed to only Rotary members.
      • Not this year. Listening to you the format is changed and everybody has the opportunity to golf on a premier private golf course.
    • The program is too long and boring.
      • The 2017 conference is planned with presentations of a few traditional topics and a significant number of outside items of interest. For example:
        • Presentations by a 1) a veterans support group; 2) Shared Hope: an advocacy group getting the word out on domestic minor sex trafficking – something occurring in every area; 3) a support group called Lisa’s Ladybugs offering services to women facing cancer; 4) Snacks to Grow On, where gap feeding in schools is addressed. 5) And this list goes on and on.

The reality is we have worked hard for over two years, building it so you could come.  Now it’s time to be here.  Now is the time to go online or send in a paper registration form.  Now is the time to step back from years of not being at a conference.  Now is the time.  Take a moment and look at some of the events:

Wednesday through Sunday:

  • ShelterBox 100 – In honor of the Rotary Foundation Centennial year ShelterBox will be standing 100 consecutive hours from Wednesday at 8:00 AM until noon Sunday.


  • Play a practice round of golf and enjoy a great afternoon with friends.

 Friday & Saturday:

  • Golf Tournament starts in the morning. Open to anybody this year.
  • “Centennial Legacy Forest” – Come and join this youth inspired event by helping to plant 1,500 seedlings in a blighted area where runoff is affecting the ecological and water quality. Bring your muck boots and work clothing to help our environment to a brighter future.
  • Friday afternoon and Saturday morning sessions are “mini” glimpses into topics that will benefit your Rotary experience and topics led by outside groups that will inform and inspire you in programs and services you’ve never even heard about.
    • Both days end with small group one on one experiences in break out fashion. Meant to be interactive and informational exchange.
  • Rollin’ with Rotary joins us for two days. This national group will bring you energy and ideas most Rotarian members have never experienced.
  • Friday afternoon – time permitting, will be the sorting of soap and other hygiene products to be returned to clubs for local distribution.
  • Friday evening dinner is focusing on youth activities. Watch as our young leaders show us a glimpse of their world and we learn about Child and Maternal Health issues from a great guest speaker.
  • Saturday morning features a 5K race and for walkers, a one mile fun walk to raise funds for ShelterBox. Our goal?  $5,000.00

Saturday Afternoon & Evening:

  • It’s time to experience our local foods at lunchtime with “A Taste of Punxsutawney.” No cold chicken wraps here ladies and gentlemen.  Salads, pizza, subs, hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream sundaes, cinnamon rolls and many other local favorites.
  • NO ROTARY events Saturday afternoon. You must sign up for the tour!
    • Come and “Explore Punxsutawney.” Every February thousands of people flock to Punxsutawney.  We’re sure we can handle our Rotary guests as they are part of a Flash Mob picture to End Polio Now and visit three areas of interest our tourists claim to be on their bucket lists.
    • Meet Punxsutawney Phil and take advantage of that special Kodak moment.
  • In the evening become see the Groundhog Club and their president receive a Paul Harris Fellow award. Yes, Phil will be there to accept on behalf of the club.
  • Saturday night banquet includes: “Changing of the Guard” and 2017-2018 District Governor Judy Hughes sharing “Rotary: Making a Difference.”
    • See several clubs and individuals be honored with Foundation awards.
  • Guest speakers Rotary International Vice President Jennifer Jones and Rotary International President’s Representative Mike Johns are keynote speakers and promise to deliver great words to motivate. Time to hear inspirational words of Rotary’s future and our Legacy of the past of “One Hundred Years of Doing Good in the World.”

If you have taken the time to note the differences, it becomes quite obvious the 2017 version of District Conference is something unusual and interesting.

We have built it – now it’s time to come!

My Regards,

DG Thomas R. Chelgren