In late October 2018, in the picturesque town of Howell, Michigan, the Hero Roundtable convened, a gathering of heroes, and aspiring heroes looking to improve their skills, or learn new ones to become better heroes in their communities.
According to their website, “The Hero Roundtable is a worldwide event series, that inspires and instructs people to do extraordinary things. We put together top speakers with people of all walks of life and challenge them with the question – what is a hero? And how can more people do heroic things in our world?”
During the two-day event, there are speakers, discussing a variety of topics, from confronting fear and anxiety during crises to using storytelling and role play to build and learn empathy. They explore ways of discovering what your super-power might be, and how to develop those skills in service to others.
There are also hands-on workshops on various topics, such as mid-evil swordplay, and dancing with fear, to how storytelling can be used to individuate learning in a group environment.
The Hero Roundtable is the brainchild of Matt Langdon, who started with the idea of creating positive change in youth and adults, in 2006, in 2015 they incorporated as a non-profit. It has since gone on to do conferences around the world. Among Matt’s mentors is Dr. Phil Zambardo, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University.
But the roundtable is more than just a regularly held event, it has a live and thriving community on Facebook and Twitter, where they engage with one another, share interesting articles and other kinds of information as well as events worth attending around the world.
The speakers, participants, and volunteers are all invited to be a part of the ongoing conversation about what it means to be a hero, how to be more prepared, and engaged, and in many cases, one year’s participants become the next year’s speakers.
This kind of dynamic synergy and engagement has helped the roundtable grow every year, and now it can conduct workshops in places around the world, as well as here in the United States.
The Hero Roundtable works with youth and adults to instruct and inspire people to do amazing things. But, the roundtable uses the verb form of hero, meaning there must be some action. The way they describe it is,
“Everyone comes into the Hero Round Table with a slightly (or greatly) different definition of “hero.” We operate on the understanding that the title of hero comes from heroic action. It sounds obvious, but it’s important to understand that we focus on the verb and not the noun.
Heroic action has three components:
There has to be an act… …on behalf of others… …that includes a risk or sacrifice.”