News Brief: Big Dream Gathering offers support, inspiration


The Big Dream Gathering will be visiting the University of Northern Iowa Feb. 16. Mitch Matthews, creator of Big Dream Gathering, saw the need for a supportive community five years ago.

After hosting a gathering at their house, Matthews and his wife, Melissa, found support through the ideas of friends and their publishing company began to grow, drawing in people who came to participate in the event. In light of the new inspiration readily available through a network of people, the Matthewses patented a paper version of their game “Q,” as well as an iPhone application for

“This was a happy accident … it started at home,” said Matthews. “It seemed really important, all sorts of dreams happened. We thought we should keep this going.”

The Big Dream Gathering is simple: participants fill out a Dream Sheet, including a description of a prospective dream, the ongoing process of achieving that dream and what he or she may still need in order to achieve the dream. The papers are placed upon the walls by categorization and can be any genre of dreams, such as travel, career, relationships, business and education. This way, those with similar hopes and aspirations can find each other.

Participants have the option to have their Dream Sheet remain anonymous. The Dream Sheet will then be mailed to the participant after the event. Throughout the Big Dream Gathering, people have the opportunities to write advice, encouragement, ideas or a connection for the benefit of the dreamer.

“BDG is safe place to dream, encourage others; a catalyst and environment where people can be supportive. Encouragement is a universal thing,” said Matthews. “If you’re not clear on a specific dream, come and read others’ dreams. You might get inspired.”

Big Dream Gathering has hosted events in North Carolina and Texas. At one event in Des Moines, a group of writers found each other and were able to create a network of support in the publishing of their books. The event has been attended by as many as 200 to 600 people.

For those dreams that cannot be restrained by a categorical boundary, the category of “dreams that defy categorization” is available for consideration. At one gathering, said Matthews, an accountant wearing a spiffy blue suit asked him which category his Dream Sheet belonged to. When Matthews took a look, the accountant’s dream read, “I want to drive monster trucks.”

Matthews encourages all to attend the Big Dream Gathering.

“Plan on attending and giving encouraging words or tips to at least one of the participants,” Matthews said.

The event will be free and available to the public in UNI’s Maucker Union Ballroom from 6 to 9 p.m.

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