2019 Alumni Workshops

These workshops will proceed the 24-hour marriage getaway on September 27th, from 10am to 4pm and will be held at the Community Choice Convention Center. Lunch will be provided.

Kary and Jeremy Sprague

Kary and Jeremy Sprague

Peer Support
Jeremy & Kary Sprague

Description:
Kary and Jeremy were only married one month when Jeremy was involved in a shooting at work.  He was not physically injured but Jeremy suffered emotional and psychological reactions following the shooting.  Their uncharted path of dealing with the post-traumatic stress could have destroyed their marriage. However, Jeremy and Kary turned towards each other and leaned on each other for support.  

Now, 15 years later, Jeremy and Kary will share their experiences as a first responder family.  They are not perfect, however, their experiences have grown with their marriage. They will discuss the raw, personal, and heartfelt story about surviving as a first responder family.

Speaker Bio:
Kary and Jeremy Sprague have been married for fifteen years and have four children.  Jeremy is a police sergeant for the Des Moines Police Department. In 2008, he created a peer support model and began the first peer support team in the state of Iowa for the Des Moines Police Department.  Jeremy is the department coordinator for the department's peer support team. He led the department's peer support and family support during the deaths of three Des Moines Police officers in 2016. 

Jeremy is the founder and Executive Director of the Peer Support Foundation.  The foundation is a non-profit organization designed to provide pre-incident education to first responders and to and provide resources for those suffering in silence. The organization has three main goals. 1. Reduce first responder suicide. 2. Keep marriages and families together. 3. Help first responders thrive in retirement. He has trained hundreds of first responders from the Midwest.

Kary Sprague is a Wyoming native and has spent her career in the service of others.  Her compassion for others led her to spend 20 years in the medical field and as a nurse for the last 15 years.  She has worked at Unity Point hospital specializing in orthopedics. She also worked as a public school and now works as a pediatric nurse for ChildServe helping children with severe disabilities.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Ryan and Lisa Handley

Ryan and Lisa Handley

Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University
Ryan and Lisa Handley

Description:
Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University (FPU) is a program based on foundational principles for budgeting, investing & retirement, mortgages & real estate, and college planning. Conference attendees will learn how to create a monthly budget, which is the foundation of the 7 "baby steps" of FPU. Those interested in learning more will have the opportunity to register for the 9-week, ONLINE class that starts in October.

Speaker Bio:
Ryan and Lisa Handley have been married for 16 years. They are dedicated to improving the lives of individuals, couples and families by empowering them to improve themselves and their communities by taking control of their finances. They have been following Dave Ramsey's principles for over 7 years and coordinating Financial Peace University classes for 2 years. During that time, participants have paid off $337,690 in debt during the 9-week sessions of classes.

Michelle Coons

Michelle Coons

Laura Nydam

Laura Nydam

Counseling & EMDR
Michelle Coons (LISW) & Laura Nydam (LISW, CADC)

Description:
During this session, Laura Nydam (LISW, CADC) and Michelle Coon (LISW) will be looking at how cumulative stress and vicarious trauma may impact your spouse and your marriage.  They will coach you on how to be aware of symptoms, discuss proactive and reactive coping strategies, and look at some of the most effective counseling tools and techniques you can put to use to keep yourself and your marriage healthy. 

Michelle’s Bio:
Michelle counsels those experiencing challenges related to Trauma, Anxiety, Depression, Grief and Loss, ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post-Partum Depression, Life Transitions, Marital Distress, Divorce and Sexual Concerns. A passion of Michelle’s is to assist clients in accessing their own personal strengths and beliefs in order to recognize their potential, improve relationships, and practice improved self-care. Michelle uses a holistic multi-theoretical approach to address a wide range of client concerns. She is trained in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT Therapy) and the use of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which is a therapeutic process for resolving trauma by using an approach that integrates body and mind. She also offers the opportunity to use Art Therapy in her practice. In 2007 she was the recipient of the Greg Gahl Shining Star Award for her work with families. During her down time Michelle can be found hanging out with her two daughters 16 and 14 and riding her bike around the local trails with her husband of 30 years.

Laura’s Bio:
Laura is a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) as well as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) in the state of Iowa. She earned her undergraduate degree in social work from Dordt College, Sioux Center, IA, and her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Iowa. She provides counseling and psychotherapy to individuals as well as couples and families. She has a special interest in providing holistic care to resolve issues of grief, trauma, life transitions, relationship issues, divorce, anxiety, OCD, depression, and substance abuse.  Laura is trained in EMDR. She enjoys working with family members or others in relationships with people having difficulty with substance abuse. As a wife of a Police Officer and Military Veteran, Laura is passionate about providing quality counseling for first responders.  She welcomes spirituality and religion as a resource in therapy.  She also strives to provide a safe non-judgmental environment for healing of all people regardless of belief and value systems. 

On a personal note Laura enjoys traveling, art, music, nature, and spending time with family and friends.  The Nydam family enjoys outdoor activities together such as boating, camping, hiking and riding dirt bikes.