Voices & Choices

After 19 years, the Down Syndrome Association has decided that we need to change up the Youth & Adult conference a bit. The first big change will be that we are moving the conference date to September 2015. Spring time is just packed with too many fun sports, proms, graduations and weddings!

The second big change, that we are very excited about, is that the conference will now launch a monthly teen and adult workshop series. Each workshop will be one to two hours, depending on the topic. The fall series will be all about relationships – coworkers, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, marriage and an age specific workshop on understanding sexuality. The winter quarter will cover health topics such as exercise and nutrition. In the spring we will cover Independent Living topics like first aid and transportation.

We are also pairing the workshops for teens and adults with related topics for parents and caregivers

As always, we would love to hear any feedback or ideas you might have to share with us about this exciting new venture or would like to serve on the planning committee! Please email Catherine at catherine@dsamn.org or call (651) 603-0720

2014 Youth & Adult Conference

Saturday, May 31st, 2014
9:00 am – 6:30 pm
Marriott West
9960 Wayzata Blvd.
St. Louis Park, Minnesota

Presented by Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota

Sponsored by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

We hope you will be joining us for this informative, fun-filled day. We have packed the day full of workshops that we hope everyone will enjoy. We will also be having our open mic time during the lunch hour and a dance at the end of the day.  We are delighted to announce that the conference will be sponsored by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities.

May 31st at the Marriott West in St. Louis Park. The conference will be open to fifty youth and adults with Down syndrome.  Please note: you must be 14 by May 31st to attend. Some of our more popular workshops fill up very fast so we encourage you to register early. Workshops are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis, so act quickly!

This year self advocates will be electing a board representative at the conference.  Board members Peter Groff and Jake Walinski have filled their terms of office and we will be looking for two self advocates to serve on the DSAM Board of Directors.  If you are interested in running for the self advocate position on the board, please contact Kathleen at the DSAM office.

We will be having our open mic time during the lunch hour and a dance at the end of the day.  If you will need to apply for a scholarship to cover the conference registration fee, please call Kathleen at the number below or email kathleen@dsamn.org.

Remember: get your registration in early! Just a reminder – we will NOT be having a breakfast prior to the start of the conference. There will be a snack around 10:30; lunch will be served at noon and there will be a pizza and veggies and dip available at 5:30. (Gluten-free options will be available)


Group Workshop            

Healthy Relationships
In this presentation, participants will develop skills to recognize and interact in different relationships. A variety of relationships will be discussed as well as a discussion of what is and isn’t appropriate in each in regards to information sharing and touch. We will also discuss the aspects of healthy relationships and participants will be able to ask questions throughout.
Presenter: Lindsey Hoskins, Community Educator, Family Tree Clinic

Breakout Sessions

Creative Expression
Have fun trying out all the different ways that we express ourselves with our words and our bodies (talking, walking, maybe even singing and dancing!). Play around and build the confidence to express yourself!
Presenter: Damian Johnson

Basic First Aid
Knowing some basic first aid is an important life skill. Learn how to treat minor cuts, burns, scrapes and bumps and what you should do in a medical emergency during this workshop.
Presenter: Karen Lilla, RN, Health Counseling Services

Understanding Sexuality
In this workshop, participants will explore several aspects of sexuality.  We will learn about the names and functions of sexual body parts, emphasizing privacy and hygiene. We will also discuss ways that people can keep themselves safe from unwanted touching and abuse, as well as explore what it means to be in a relationship.   Participants will be given an opportunity to practice skills they have learned and ask questions.

Note to parents or guardian: Our speaker has asked if you would share with us what you would specifically like for your Self Advocate to learn in this workshop so that the workshop can be tailored to the self advocates who have signed up. Please call or email Catherine (Catherine@dsamn.org).
Presenter: Lindsey Hoskins, Community Educator, Family Tree Clinic

Scrap Booking
Do you have a baseball card collection you’d like to organize? How about some of those favorite pictures of yours which are living in a shoe box? A “collection” can be organized in a scrapbook. If you’d like to get your collection organized, please join us for this workshop which is for beginning scrapbook makers. Just bring six to eight photos (or newspaper clippings, card collections, etc.).
Presenter: Jessica Marsolek

Intro to Chi Kung
Chi Kung is a effective and simple way of exercising to gather energy, promote relaxation, and quiet the mind. Chi Kung comes from China. There are many variations of the form, but all chi kung exercises are considered moving meditations designed to exercise and massage every part of the body, including the internal organs. In our session, participants will learn 10 standing exercises with names such as “Dragon Claws”, “Roaring Lion” and “Fish Leaps Up.” Participants should wear loose, comfortable clothing and come with an open mind. The instructor, Nadja Reubenova, has been practicing a form of chi kung called Eternal Spring since 2011. She leads a weekly informal practice group in Minneapolis for practitioners of every level.
Presenter: Nadja Ruebnova

Staying Safe in Your Community
This workshop, presented by a police officer, is set up to help you learn ways to safely navigate through your community.
Presenter: Tom Tanghe, St. Paul Police Department

Girl Talk/Guy Talk
Girl Talk: A chance for women and young women to talk about healthy relationships in a safe, open environment. This training is an opportunity to learn about healthy boundaries in relationships, how to be safe, and how to stand up for themselves.

Guy Talk: This training gives men and young men an opportunity to explore healthy relationships, boundaries, keeping safe and advocating for themselves.
Presenter: Paris Gatlan, Arc Greater Twin Cities & Brad Hanson, Arc Greater Twin Cities

Independent Living
There are lots of different ways that people live independently. In this workshop participants will learn about different kinds of living arrangements and basic skills needed to live independently. There will be lots of time for questions and answers!
Presenters: TBA

Being Healthy: Nutrition and Exercise
In this workshop participants will learn about the importance of healthy eating and exercise. Participants will leave with some good tips on eating health and will also practice some basic exercises during the workshop!
Presenter: Dietitian and Trainer, Institute for Exercise Medicine and Prevention (I.EM.PHIT)

Click here to download the conference brochure (.pdf)


9:00                    Registration

9:15 – 9:30          Welcome

9:30-10:30           Group Workshop

Healthy Relationships

10:30 – 10:45      Break/Snack

10:45 – 12:00      Session I

Creative Expression

Understanding Sexuality

Basic First Aid

12:00 – 1:30        Lunch

Board Presentations

Open Microphone

1:30 – 2:45           Session II

Intro Chi Kung

Scrap booking

Staying Safe in your Community

2:45 – 3:00           Break

3:00 – 4:15           Session III

Girl Talk/Guy Talk

Independent Living

Being Healthy: Nutrition and Exercise

4:15 – 4:30           Break

4:30 – 6:30           Board Election, Dinner & Dance