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Longest Table Recap – Dayton, OH


On October 15, close to 500 people met on the 3rd street bridge in Dayton, OH to enjoy food and conversation. Check out this short Facebook video, to learn more about the concept of the Longest Table.

On to the dinner…
Upon arrival everyone was given a name tag with a random table number. This was to force people out of their comfort zones and to help create the environment of meeting new people. From there each table had a table leader that was responsible for guiding the conversation. All of the food was donated from various local entities such as, The House of Bread, attendees donated the desserts and the Dayton Police Department brought out the Ice Cream Truck.

I was at a really nice table. Conversation really flowed and I believe that a few connections might have been made that will continue to develop beyond the dinner. Our table leader was actually the quietest person at our table. Were there breaks in conversation, yes but in those moments we would engage with a new person and try to encourage a new topic. With about 12 people at the table, we were actually asked to stop our conversations so that we could actually talk about the questions that were predetermined for the tables.

The questions…
This is probably where I was the least impressed. The questions were quite generic and created room to discuss the city of Dayton but didn’t open up room for people to get to know one another. Even within the realm of discussing Dayton, things fell short for me. Mainly because there was nothing in place to record answers or anything of that nature for these ideas to be taken seriously. So basically it’s just rhetoric. When you get 500 people in a space to discuss and provide positive commentary for an environment that in many ways is in disarray there are probably a great deal of ideas that are produced. If you are serious about change and not just talking about it, decipher those ideas and begin to see what can be done next. Especially when you have city officials present, make them put their money and their action where their mouths and photo opportunities are.

Overall Feeling…
I believe that the goal of the event was accomplished BUT there was more that could have been birthed from this event to benefit the Dayton community. Also diversity was not a priority when it came to advertising.

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