Summer 2017 DYT Info and FAQ's for Parents

What is the Deaf Youth Today program and how is it connected to Family Network for Deaf Children?

Deaf Youth Today (DYT) is a summer program focusing on language enhancement (ASL) and social opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing children in British Columbia. Family Network for Deaf Children (FNDC) manages this contract from the B.C. Ministry of Children & Family Development (MCFD).

Who are FNDC’s Board of Directors?

Our Board of Directors are all parents of deaf and hard of hearing children. Some Board members are parents of young children and some are parents of young adults. The wisdom and diversity between the “experienced” parents and those that are currently in the trenches of raising their children is a great combination. Older parents are very supportive of the emotional, educational and financial needs of younger parents of deaf and hard of hearing children throughout B.C.

Who are FNDC/DYT Staff?

FNDC Staff (also parents of deaf children)
Cecelia Klassen, Executive Director – cecelia@fndc.ca
Bella Poato, Administrative Assistant – accounting@fndc.ca

DYT Staff *deaf
Scott Jeffery*, DYT Coordinator scott@fndc.ca
Alayna Finley*, DYT Immersion Week Coordinator alayna@fndc.ca
Terry Maloney*, DYT Hornby Kids’ Camp Coordinator terry@fndc.ca
Andrea Maloney, DYT Registration & Hornby Assistant andrea@fndc.ca
Jason Berube*, Webmaster/Developer – webmaster@fndc.ca

DYT Summer 2017 Staff:  
This summer (2017), we have hired the following college and high school students as our DYT summer staff:

Team Manager:
Jeff Chow

Senior Leaders, Junior Leaders & Photographer
Stanley Khuu
Julia Szefer
Cameron Epp
Nicole Musey
Amar Mangat
Maria Boloseno
Isaac Flink
Kareem Mansouri
Sulemiman Noor
Zain Rasheed
Jasmine Westwood

We are fortunate to receive Canada Summer Jobs Grants to hire these students. In addition, DYT hires many contracted staff members and personal support workers.

DYT Counsellors in Training 2017

DYT’s Counsellor in Training (CIT) program is an opportunity for deaf teens to gain valuable leadership training and volunteer opportunities. CIT’s register for Hornby Island CIT program/training. Following the training at Hornby Island, CIT’s that display strong leadership skills, good boundaries and work well with a team, may be offered volunteer opportunities throughout the summer. The CIT experience gives youth a wonderful opportunity to be a role model, gain experience working with children, and often opens up doors to future work with DYT.

Where does DYT funding come from?

FNDC receives our funding from Ministry of Children & Family Development, as well as grants and private donations. We use our finances wisely by keeping all our administrative costs to a minimum. Our FNDC & DYT administrative contract workers pour in long hours, for a very nominal amount of pay. We use our own cell phones, (share one FNDC/DYT cellphone), meet in coffee shops and work from our homes in order to keep our overhead costs to a bare minimum so that we can pour our resources directly into our children’s programs and make the program fees affordable for families. In the Summer months, we hire DYT Summer staff (college & high school students) through the Canada Summer Jobs grant program. Our DYT summer staff are all paid hourly wages and work full weeks during the summer. FNDC proudly can say – we are the largest summer employer of deaf and hard of hearing students in British Columbia. We also contract additional staff and personal support workers when needed. In addition, we are happy to receive private donations and grants. This summer we received a generous grant from Coast Capital Savings for our Counsellor in Training Program.

Criminal records checks and safety?

All our staff have completed criminal record checks. In addition, DYT has policies that your child will not be alone with a staff member. Our programs are in groups or small groups.  In addition to personal support workers for deaf children with additional special needs, our staff-to-camper ratio is 1 staff for every 3 to 5 campers.

How to Register for DYT?

Go to our website: fndc.ca We encourage you to register online, although you may also download the registration forms and register by mail. The prices listed in the brochure and online are for online registrations only. If you wish to download the forms and register your child/ren manually (by mail, fax or phone), DYT will need to charge a $20.00 fee for administrative costs associated with manual registrations. Sorry, but manual registrations take up more time! L

How does DYT decide the program fees?

Our program fees are subsidized HUGELY.   For example, the fee we charge for Hornby Island Deaf Kids’ Camp is $180. But the actual cost per child for us to run that program is approximately $1,200. For all day programs, we charge $80.00, but the actual cost is between $200 and $350 per camper. Veteran parents on our Board are very understanding/supportive of the emotional, educational and financial needs of younger parents of deaf and hard of hearing children throughout British Columbia. We feel this way because we have been in your shoes! For this reason, FNDC has made a huge commitment to provide quality kids programs at very, very affordable costs to parents. We also realize that parents must commute long distances daily to our programs or travel to the lower mainland for a week at time. We want to make the cost affordable so that you will sign up your child/youth for several weeks because our goal is enhance and develop your child’s language and social opportunities! Language growth and friendships – that’s our goal!

Who can attend the program?

Our mandate through our Ministry of Children & Family Development contract is for deaf and hard of hearing children in British Columbia. We sometimes provide opportunities for hearing siblings of deaf and hard of hearing children to take part in our program. We do this because we know that good communication in a sibling relationship is vital for the well-being of deaf and hard of hearing children in their families. As well, this is an opportunity for hearing siblings to learn from other deaf children and deaf staff while being immersed in a deaf-friendly camp.   We also sometimes provide opportunities for Children Of Deaf Adults (CODA). CODA’s are hearing children who have grown up in a signing environment with a Deaf parent/s. Over the years, we have seen lovely friendships develop between deaf and hard of hearing children, their hearing siblings and CODA’s. We are all about community building for deaf and hard of hearing children and their families!

Does DYT have subsidized program fees for families in need?

If the program fees are a financial burden on your family, please let us know. Our program’s priority and funding is for deaf and hard of hearing children. Funding for hearing siblings/CODA’s (Children of Deaf Adults) isn’t our mandated priority. In regard to funding for your deaf and hard of hearing children, we are happy to work with you on lessening the financial burden, however, we ask that you pay a portion of the fee as a commitment to us that your child will attend because we hire our staff based on our registration numbers. Your commitment to attend is valued. Send us an email: dyt@fndc.ca to let us know your situation so that we can work something out. If you are in great financial need, please ask – so we can assist you. Please be reasonable with us as we are already heavily subsidizing the program fees. J

Will I receive a confirmation email after registration?

Once registered online, you will receive a computer-generated confirmation. You will also receive an email closer to each weekly program start date outlining the program schedule, drop off/pick up times, program locations and details of what to bring. If you do not receive an email, contact us immediately at: dyt@fndc.ca and fndc@fndc.ca. Please avoid requesting information through social media (i.e., Facebook)

Why aren’t there more program details in the DYT Summer Brochure?

We need to have our DYT Summer Brochure printed and ready online by the beginning of May, yet DYT administrative staff don’t start working on the Summer program until June. The DYT administration team is also busy hiring staff and setting up summer programming. As well, when our DYT Summer Staff (college students) begin work, we want them to experience the details of program planning so that is why the brochure only has a general program outline. Also, as the children we serve can sometimes be unique, we have found that often we need to make program changes to meet the children’s strengths. Remember: closer to the program’s start date, you will receive an email with program details in it.

What should my child bring to the program?

You will receive a “PROGRAM SPECIFIC” email letting you know the schedule and what to bring. The email will be sent between 3 to 7 days before the program start date. Generally, for each program week, your child should wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Some of our programs may involve dirt, sand, paint, glue, glitter and food! So, please send your child in clothing that is ok to get dirty and possibly become stained.

Please ensure your child comes with the following to the day programs:

  • Comfy clothes (that can get dirty)
  • Bag lunch, snacks, water bottle
  • A bottle of sunscreen in a backpack.
  • Please apply sunscreen before your child arrives. DYT will remind children to re-apply later in day.
  • Good walking shoes.
  • Note: hearing aids, assistive devices etc. should be labelled (and insured by you)!
  • AGAIN: if you do not receive an email, contact us immediately at dyt@fndc.ca and fndc@fndc.ca.
  • Please avoid requesting information through social media (i.e., Facebook)

Does DYT provide lunch?

No, we don’t provide lunch. Each child needs to come to the program with a lunch packed.   We encourage bagged lunches and discourage giving children money for lunch. Giving money to children causes problems (i.e., lost money, inequality of funds between kids, over-purchasing of candy or buying food for others). Please pack a healthy bagged lunch and water.

Can I register my child if we live outside British Columbia?

Campers must have a BC address (except under exceptional circumstances). BC deaf & hard of hearing children take priority in all our programs, but if our registration roster isn’t full, we may be able to open up a space to an out of province camper. Additional fees may be charged to reflect the real program costs (not the subsidized rates). Please contact us to discuss further. Again, as our funding is British Columbia based, we are unable to provide any supports for additional special needs that the camper may have. These extra costs would need to be paid by the family. We may require a Doctor and teacher’s letter stating the specific needs of the camper.

What about deaf and hard of hearing children with extreme complex needs?

Our camps are designed to enhance language development and provide social opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing children & youth with a wide range of abilities and needs. Those with chronic mental disorders/psychoses, emotional disorders, or individuals whose behaviour could endanger themselves or other participants may not be suitable for our program. Deaf Youth Today doesn’t have the expertise or ability to safely support medically fragile, complex behaviour, psychiatric issues or children who are a “flight risk”. Camper applications and camper behaviour is reviewed and assessed throughout each summer season. Hornby Island Deaf Kids’ Camp has a camp nurse, but as Hornby Island is two small ferry rides away from Vancouver Island, this can be an issue for some very complex needs. The DYT program reserves the right to refuse a camper’s application. If you have questions about your child’s eligibility, please contact us. We want to include all children in our program, but for your child’s safety and the safety of other campers/staff– we may not be able to meet the needs of those with extreme complex needs. In addition, if a deaf children has significant other special needs that might be served better in different program, we may recommend that.

What do I do if my child requires a Personal Support Worker (One-to-One Worker)?

The DYT program has a high staff to camper ratio (generally 3 campers to 1 staff).   Should a deaf or hard of hearing camper’s needs require one-to-one support, we would like to recommend that the families try their best to find finances from outside sources for DYT to hire a Personal Support Worker.

All Personal Support Workers are required to:

  • pass a criminal record check
  • have an excellent level of ASL
  • be over the age of 17.
  • not be a family member of the child.
  • have training/skills that match the needs of the deaf child with special needs.

We prefer not to have family members as one-to-one workers, except in extenuating circumstances. See question #19 for more on this.

There are outside funding sources and we encourage you to work with us in accessing some of those funds (i.e., At Home Program, Autism funding, etc., grants, donations etc.). DYT also receives donations towards Personal Support Workers. Please contact us so we can work with you on this!  Our goal is to include all the children and not turn anyone away based on the lack of funding for Personal Support Workers. DYT reserves the right to ruse a camper’s application if a qualified Personal Support Worker cannot be found or if the needs of the child are a safety concern for themselves, other campers or staff.

Can parents/family members hang around and participate in the DYT Program?

Our DYT program’s mandate is to provide social opportunities and language enhancement to deaf and hard of hearing children. Deaf and hard of hearing children/youth often have a large number of adults in their lives (Educational Assistants, Interpreters, SLP’s, Resource teachers etc.). Hearing children have many social opportunities, friendships and can hear language everywhere in their environment (TV, music, parents, friends, family members, neighbours and all the incidental learning that takes place on the playground, in the grocery line up etc). We want to provide an opportunity for your deaf or hard of hearing child that is equal to their hearing peers’ experience, where they can have fun, experience some independence from parents/caregivers, learn how to meet and navigate new friendships, be exposed to signing in a language rich environment and to see conversation all around them. So, parents: we want you to enjoy your free time, relax and know that your deaf or hard of hearing child is in good, safe hands!   If you need to drop in to make sure your child is safe, we welcome you, but the goal of our program is to encourage deaf and hard of hearing kids to have a regular “camper experience” with their friends.

Can hard of hearing kids participate?

Yes! Hard of hearing kids can participate. Many deaf and hard of hearing campers develop life-long friendships right here at DYT! DYT can be a safe and positive experience for hard of hearing campers who learn they have another community of friends at DYT and gain a large network for future opportunities (educational, career, social).

DYT encourages hard of hearing kids wanting to learn/further develop sign language and make/nurture friendships with other deaf and hard of hearing children to join our program. That being said, all children are different (personalities, language and social/emotional needs, complex needs, communication and learning styles, etc.) and have different experiences being immersed in a signing camp. You can be assured that DYT staff receive training in June around strategies to make all children feel comfortable and welcome. We also have sign language interpreters involved in our camps so that hard of hearing children are comfortable communicating with our Deaf staff. In addition, DYT staff will provide new signers with an orientation on the first morning of camp weeks and teach basic signs each day.

As parents, its important that you have conversations with your children about sign language immersion (how would you try to communicate if you weren’t sure how to sign), encourage and get your child excited about a rich, valuable language and social opportunity to connect with like peers. Contact the DYT Coordinator for more ideas to prepare children for camp!

What do we do about medication for our child?

If your child/youth is taking medication during the school year (i.e. Ritalin) we request that they continue their medication. In the case of Hornby Island Deaf Kids’ Camp, we have a Registered Nurse on site to administer medications. During our day programs, our DYT staff are not medically trained. Contact us to discuss medication.

How much information do you need to know about my child?

As many details as possible help us with appropriate staffing and ensuring that your child’s needs may be met as best as we can. Please let us know any/all of your child’s special circumstances: dietary concerns, medical, physical, emotional, behavioural etc. and if your child/youth has a personal support worker at school. The more we know about the kids in our program, the better we can meet their needs.

What happens if my child loses their phone or hearing aid etc.?

DYT is not responsible for any valuables that are lost, stolen, or damaged. We suggest insuring hearing aids and cochlear implant processors, etc. through your home insurance.

Can my child use their cellphone during the programs?

We will ask that cell phone/text messaging use be kept to minimum/emergencies so that youth can benefit from our programs. During the overnight Hornby Island Kid’s Camp, cell phones will be collected and stored (campers will have access to phones once per evening to message parents). We want our campers to enjoy their experience and engage with other campers and staff, so keeping texting to a minimum is important.

Photos and Videos, what’s the policy?

Campers want to capture memories with the friends on their cameras/cellphones. If you do not want your children/youth photographed, PLEASE LET US KNOW ASAP. Please be aware that with technology today, it is extremely difficult to monitor other children taking photographs. If we do not hear from you, we will assume that your child/youth can be photographed. Photographs/Videos may be taken at the Deaf Youth Today (DYT) Summer Program at various locations and may be shared with Provincial Services for The Deaf and Hard of Hearing (PSDHH), posted to our website, FNDC Facebook page, Youtube, DYT brochures and newsletters. The pictures will be used for the purpose of illustrating the activities at Deaf Youth Today. No names will be attached to photos unless permission is asked to you (the parent/guardian. Parents who have concerns regarding photography of their children agree to contact DYT in advance of the camp to resolve any issues regarding use of their child’s photographs or photography. If parents do not contact DYT prior to Camp, then we will assume that your child/youth can be videotaped and photographed. Again, we will not add children’s names to photos/video’s without first contacting parents.

The crush/relationship thing?

In our youth camps, there may be campers that are dating. We request that there be no physical affection during camps (i.e. kissing, hand-holding etc.).

Inappropriate conversations?

Inappropriate conversations are not tolerated (i.e. drugs, smoking, alcohol, sexual content, swearing etc.).

I signed up my child for a program, but my child didn’t go, can I get a refund?

If you withdraw from a program the Thursday prior to the start date (Monday) of the next week’s camp, we will refund your money.   If you don’t show up to the program, we cannot offer a refund because we have booked our staff (and programs) based on the number of children registered. Please be considerate as our fees are heavily subsidized so last minute dropouts affect us financially (loss of program fee, extra staff still need to be paid, program/bus has been booked). If your child is dismissed/expelled from a program, we cannot offer refunds.

How will you transport my child during the programs?

Campers may be transported together in groups on public transit (bus, skytrain, seabus,) ferry, private rental buses, owned/rented vans. In case of an emergency, a taxi or private vehicle (with at least 2 staff members present) will be used.

Can I drop off or pick up my child from a destination (other than the meeting place for DYT)?

Of course, once in a while, in an emergency or extenuating circumstance this is fine. A common drop off/pick up location for all our campers is best so we can ensure safety. Also, great language, friendship, conversation and learning experiences happen while on the bus or transit – we value these real life experiences! When we receive several requests from parents with a variety of drop/off pick up changes/requests, it gets confusing and can lead to a big concern around confusion and safety issues.   We need to ensure that all children are counted and accounted for during drop off and pick up. In addition, if a parent says (for example) they want to pick up at the Stanley Park, but the parent arrives late. This puts our DYT program in a tough position. The bus leaves with all the campers and DYT staff must leave to meet all the other parents on time, leaving one DYT staff and a camper waiting in Stanley Park wondering when the parent will arrive and DYT then needs to pay for a taxi for our staff member to get back to Burnaby. We prefer to have one drop off/pick up location!

What if the DYT program is full? Is there a waitlist?

DYT reserves the right to limit the number of campers in all our programs. Once our program is full, we cannot accept more registrations. We also reserve the right to recognize that in rare circumstances, we may not have the specialized staffing expertise to meet very complex needs of some children. Deaf and hard of hearing children take priority in our programs (our MCFD contract mandate) – we will try our best to accommodate hearing siblings or CODA’s (Children of Deaf Adult) during some program weeks.

Can campers be dismissed or expelled from the DYT Program?

In very rare circumstances, we may dismiss a child/youth. If persistent, unresolved issues arise that seriously affect other campers and staff, we will:

  1. talk with the child/youth so they are aware of the issue;
  2. call the parents/guardians to alert to the possibility of potential dismissal from camp;
  3. give child/youth opportunity to change behaviour and if these 3 steps fail, then we will call parent/guardian to pick up child/youth.

Immediate Dismissal:

Any use of drugs or alcohol, possession of firearms/weapons, physical aggression, disregarding rules/safety procedures, inappropriate sexual behaviour, medical or mental health issues that are beyond the abilities of DYT, we will immediately dismiss the child/youth to the parent/guardian. Parents/Guardians will be alerted to pick up child/youth.   In the event of bullying, we will work with the child and if bullying persists, they may be expelled.

Immediate Dismissal from Hornby Island Kids’ Camp:

In the case of Hornby Island kids’ camp, the parent/guardian will be required to take a ferry to Nanaimo to meet their child/youth and DYT staff member at the Ferry Terminal. The ferry costs will be the responsibility of parent/guardian. No program refunds will be given.

Complaints, Comments, Compliments?

Please, please, please tell us if there are any problems. Email us, phone us, text us – just let us know! PLEASE refrain from taking your concerns to Social Media (i.e., Facebook).   We are open to listening to your feedback, so that we have the opportunity to improve. Our Staff also love compliments too!

Deaf and hard of hearing children grow up to be adults!

Our DYT summer staff (deaf and hard of hearing) are all college students and they are still learning! Please be patient with them, give them feedback and encouragement. One day your deaf and hard of hearing child will grow up and they may become a DYT Counsellor in Training and maybe even a DYT staff one day!