How This FLGS Owner Champions Gaming to Support Brain Health In the Community - Nerdist

How This FLGS Owner Champions Gaming to Support Brain Health In the Community

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With International Tabletop Day around the corner, we’re counting down the days to the big celebration by highlighting friendly local gaming stores, their owners, and their awesome stories. Be sure to find an ITTD event near you so you can enjoy the festivities in your community. 

Lynn Potyen owns and operates  The GameBoard, a friendly local gaming store in Sheboygan, WI. She is a pioneer in many ways for retailers in the tabletop industry and is a paragon for the kind of good a friendly local gaming store can do for a community beyond its store walls.

Lynn’s story journey as an FLGS owner began when her son Erik started exhibiting a severe speech development delay. She found that modern tabletop games and card games were a hit with Erik and a way to support his brain and language development. She describes how she started incorporating games to support Erik’s development and therapy: “I was experimenting with different games. The school specialists were taking my suggestions, using them not only in the classroom but also in therapy situations.” In 2006, she took that knowledge she gained over those years and started The GameBoard with the express intent to create a game retail store that also supported the community’s brain health.

Lynn Game Board
For her, it’s not just a business, it’s a mission. She sits on the business advisory board for RCS Empowers, who helps people with special needs find employment and supports employers in creating positions that fulfill their business needs while also accommodating for special needs of special needs employees.  She is on the task force for Building a Dementia-Friendly Sheboygan County (which supports businesses in taking an empathy-oriented approach to addressing issues of accessibility for all special needs) and is a member of the Dementia Care Network and Caregiver Coalition.

Lynn’s prominent voice in the tabletop industry, having been elected for three terms to the GAMA (Game Manufacturers Association) Board of Retailers, has further helped support her mission.  As she explains: “By challenging our designers and publishers to think about games differently we have begun to be respected in the brain health field. Many health professionals have recognized that brain health stimulation is paramount to reducing the risk of dementia and our industry will be key in moving forward.”

And she’s done all this despite facing an industry that is still evolving to accept women within its spaces and key roles. “Being a woman in this industry has always been challenging,” she advised. “This industry for many decades has been run by men, for men. In the last 10 years, we have seen a respect for women change and grow.”

For all she’s done, her store has received many accolades, including GTM’s award for Best Community Outreach Program, she has received local accolades for Best Game Store of the Year, and Retailer of the Year for Sheboygan County. More recently, she’s also been nominated for an international award: The ATHENA Leadership Award, “honored for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.” Lynn described the nomination in the most humble terms, saying, “It’s such an unexpected honor.”

Lynn is clearly a champion and the kind of champion for games we all look up to.

Do you know about an FLGS doing great things for the community? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credits: The GameBoard (Facebook)

Teri Litorco is a geeky fangirl and author of The Civilized Guide to Tabletop Gaming. You can follow her on various social media channels.

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