Join us at PAX East in Boston!

Get ready for board games, demos, and panels in Boston for the first in-person PAX East since 2020! This April 21-24th, we’re excited to connect with you in Boston through panels on all sorts of geek-centric subjects, neat merch, and previews of Critical Core! We’re grateful for the safety protocols being implemented this year to keep our community safe, and encourage you to check out the convention’s health and safety guidelines.


Join us for the five excellent panels hosted by Game to Grow and featuring amazing humans from across the internet! These panels will make you laugh (probably), cry (possibly), and further connect you to the amazing tapestry that is the gaming community (definitely). 

De-escalation and Direct Communication in Games

Breakdowns in communication can ruin campaigns, lose matches, and destroy friendships (no, we aren’t being dramatic). You know this as much as the next person, but what do you *do* about it? You’ve come to the right place! This panel is full of take-home advice, stories, and acronyms. Our panel of communication experts will take you through what causes those breakdowns, how to avoid them when you can, and how to navigate them when they come up. 

Date: Thursday, April 21st

Time: 2:00 PM EST

Location: Bobcat Theatre

Panelists: Carmen Horne (She/Her) [Director of Communications, Games Unbound], Virginia Spielmann, PhD, OTR/L (She/Her) [Executive Director, STAR Institute for Sensory Processing], Sarah Hays, PsyD (She/Her) [Individual and Family Counselor, Game to Grow], Jared Kilmer, PhD (He/Him) [Director of Counseling Services, Game to Grow], Elizabeth Kilmer, PhD (She/Her) [Director of Education and Training, Game to Grow]

Go Play Inside and Make Some Real Friends

Can those we meet online become “real” friends? Of course! OK, but what happens if we never meet IRL? People can still form genuine relationships! Well that’s bananas. Our society has entered an age of increasing digital interaction leading to questions regarding the efficacy and efficiency of online relationships. What are the costs and benefits of forming community and identity in online spaces? Does it impact us all equally? I’m talking to you, my neurodivergent and socially anxious peers. Join our panel of mental health professionals and innovators as they review research and personal experience to discuss the ways in which online spaces and communities can support gamers and neurodivergent individuals through connection and community.

Date: Thursday, April 21st

Time: 3:30 PM EST

Location: Bobcat Theatre

Panelists: Hayden Jones (He/Him) [Groups Facilitator, Game to Grow], Jared Kilmer, PhD (He/Him) [Director of Counseling Services, Game to Grow], Amelia Herbst, PsyD (She/Her) [Individual and Family Counselor, Game to Grow], Rachel Kowert, PhD (She/Her) [Research Director, Take This], @rainbwlitebrite (She/Her) [Content Creator, Artist, RainbwLiteBright]


Individuals with ADHD have been found to struggle across multiple settings, including, work, school, social, and leisure settings. Many of those with ADHD may experience shame and low-self esteem related to their neurodivergent traits. Join this panel of ADHDers and mental health professionals to discuss how tabletop role-playing games helped them make friends, celebrate themselves, and fine-tune their strengths.

Date: Friday, April 22nd

Time: 3:00 PM EST

Location: Arachnid Theatre

@RekItRaven (they/she) [Twitch Partner & Activist , RekItRaven], Elizabeth Kilmer, PhD (She/Her) [Director of Education and Training, Game to Grow], @Stachemando (He/Him) [Operations and Community Manager, 1985 Games], Amelia Herbst, PsyD (She/Her) [Individual and Family Counselor, Game to Grow], Jared Kilmer, PhD (He/Him) [Director of Counseling Services, Game to Grow]

Managing Anxiety and Imposter Syndrome For Streamers

Many streamers have an on-screen presentation, that while *part* of who they are, doesn’t tell the whole story of them as a human. This can contribute to imposter syndrome, where you feel less competent than you are being perceived by others. Our panel of streamers and mental health experts will discuss the current research on imposter syndrome, share their own experiences, and offer practical advice to support your own well-being. 

Date: Saturday, April 23rd

Time: 1:30 PM EST

Location: ArachnidTheatre

Panelists: @blizzb3ar (He/Him) [Content Creator, twitch], @RekItRaven (they/she) [Twitch Partner & Activist , RekItRaven], @Mxiety (She/Her) [Mental Health Advocate, Mxiety], @dashmaker_ (they/them) [Audio Engineer, Esports Engine], Elizabeth Kilmer, PhD (She/Her) [Director of Education and Training, Game to Grow]

The Player is Evolving! Using Games to Foster Growth Mindset

Have you ever been called a “n00b” or told to “git gud”? Don’t despair! Although it can be discouraging to receive such feedback, the data can become an invaluable springboard for improvement. A person’s attitude about failure is a powerful predictor of future motivation and achievement. A growth mindset, the attitude that one’s skill can grow in response to increased effort and positive learning strategies, improves our ability to learn new skills and problem solve effectively. Some of your favorite games may already promote and reinforce a growth mindset (e.g., Celeste, Dark Souls, Destiny, Dungeons & Dragons, Pokémon), while others can be a tool for personal growth and development. Join our panelists as they discuss the ways games intrinsically promote a growth mindset, as well as how to apply a growth mindset to increase engagement and achievement. If you are looking to improve your performance in a new game, your favorite game, or IRL, this panel is for you.

Date: Saturday, April 23rd

Time: 6:30 PM EST

Location: Bobcat Theatre

Panelists: Elizabeth Kilmer, PhD (She/Her) [Director of Education and Training, Game to Grow], Jared Kilmer, PhD (He/Him) [Director of Counseling, Game to Grow],

Panels Featuring Game to Grow Panelists

Can’t get enough panels? Us either! Game to Grow staff has the privilege of being invited to collaborate on panels across the con. Check out the panels below that feature Game to Grow staff. 

Make It Queer, You Cowards! – Thursday at 8:30 pm in Dragonfly

It Builds Character(s): TTRPGS and Social-Emotional Learning – Saturday, April 23rd at 11:00am EST in our Bobcat Theatre

Gaming Guilty Pleasures – You Know You Shouldn’t… – Saturday at 11:30 am in Bumblebee

Teaching Kids to Play with Knives: Difficult subjects & RPGs – Saturday, April 23rd at 4:30pm EST in Arachnid 

Psychology in Final Fantasy VII: Trauma and Recovery – Saturday, April 23rd at 6:00pm EST in Dragonfly 



Want to hear more about our mission, learn more about our training program for therapists, educators, and community members, or check out Critical Core? Swing by our table in the PAX Together Intersection and come say hi! 


Looking to get your hands on some Game to Grow swag? We’ll have our freshly restocked life cogs, nourishment Pinny Pins, and water bottles available in-person. If your bag is too full, no worries – you’ll also have the option to purchase a Game to Grow t-shirt or hoodie to be conveniently shipped to your house. 


Do you know of something amazing at PAX East we’ve missed? Can we count on seeing you there? Let us know on social or in the comments! 

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