DYT Guidelines/Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
For DYT Summer 2022
Introduction: Guidelines are very difficult to write as they may sound daunting, but they are guidelines/FAQ’s for our DYT program that have been developed over 25 years working with deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) children and their families based on the situations that we have encountered throughout those years. In addition, many of our guidelines are consistent with those of various municipal children’s programs in BC, as well as other BC camps that support children with special needs. We have also taken into consideration the guidelines used by the BC Ministry of Education regarding students with special needs (class size/composition in BC classrooms). We recognize that each DHH child and family is unique and DYT uses these guidelines to ensure the safety, wellbeing and inclusion of each DHH child in our program.
Covid Safe Summer 2022
According to the BC Centre for Disease Control (last updated May 2, 2022), DYT will be able to continue to offer weekly day camps. We are also excited to announce that Family Camp and Hornby Overnight for DHH youth and children are returning after a two-year absence. However, we will continue to follow the guidelines as directed by the BC Health Officer. We will need to be flexible and revise any of our Summer 2022 programs at any time for safety and health reasons. Your child is our top priority, and we are passionately committed to meeting your recreational needs and offering a safe environment for your child this summer.
We will be adhering to the following documents (BC Centre for Disease Control in consultation with the BC Camps Association) that can be found on our website under DYT Programs – Health and Safety for DYT programs:
Covid 19 Health and Safety Guidelines for Overnight School Camps (dated October 3, 2021)
Covid 19 Health and Safety Guidelines for Day Camps and Family Camps (June 22, 2021)
1. HOW IS DYT CONNECTED TO FNDC?
Family Network for Deaf Children (FNDC) is a small not for profit charity with limited financial resources. The focus is primarily on providing an ASL enriched summer experience through our Deaf Youth Today (DYT) program for DHH children and youth that know ASL or are learning. Deaf Youth Today (DYT) is a program focusing on language enhancement (ASL) and social opportunities for DHH children in British Columbia. Family Network for Deaf Children (FNDC) manages this contract from B.C. Ministry of Children & Family Development (MCFD) and through grants and donations.
2. WHO ARE FNDC’S BOARD MEMBERS AND STAFF?
Our Board of Directors are all parents of DHH children. Some Board members are parents of young DHH children and some are parents of young DHH adults. The wisdom and diversity between the “experienced” parents and those that are currently on their journey raising their children makes for a great combination of ideas and experience. Older parents are very supportive of the emotional, educational and financial needs of younger parents of DHH children throughout B.C. We currently have 3 Deaf board members. Please be assured that all confidential information you share about your child/family is NEVER shared with board members. Our community is small; therefore, we protect everyone’s privacy.
FNDC Contracted Staff:
Cecelia Klassen, Executive Director - email@example.com
Bella Poato, Administrative Assistant – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason Berube*, FNDC newsletter layout – email@example.com
Scott Jeffery*, Website/Technical support – firstname.lastname@example.org
DYT Contracted Staff:
Scott Jeffery*, DYT Supervisor/Mentor - email@example.com
Terry Maloney*, DYT Hornby Camp Coordinator - firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Maloney, DYT Registration & Hornby Assistant - email@example.com
*indicates deaf staff
DYT Summer Staff: Each summer we hire approximately 10 DYT full-time summer staff. We are fortunate to receive Canada Summer Jobs Grants to hire these individuals. In addition, DYT hires many contracted staff members and personal support workers. We invest in our DYT staff by providing an extensive training program to shape their leadership, teamwork, general skills and commitment to working with DHH children and their families as well as community professionals. Our staff-to-camper ratio is 1 staff for every 3 to 5 campers. Our DYT summer staff (DHH) are all college students/young DHH adults and they are still learning. Please be patient with them, and give them feedback and encouragement. Your DHH child will grow up and they may become a DYT Counsellor in Training and a DYT staff one day.
3. COVID 19 SAFETY STAFF TALK
In light of Covid 19, all staff need to review and become familiar with the Covid Health and Safety Guidelines for Summer 2022 to ensure the health and safety of all staff and campers. And all staff need to be kept up-to-date when any new information is announced by the BC Health Officer.
4. MISSING CAMPER AND INJURY ON OR OFF-SITE
All staff are trained and will follow policy and procedures regarding any missing camper and campers injured on or off site.
5. DYT CAMPER GOING HOME ON THEIR OWN
Participants may walk/bus home alone only if directed by their parent and agreed upon by DYT staff. The recommended age is 13 and over. Parents must complete and sign the “DYT Camper Going Home Alone” form prior to the start of the outing/week.
6. EXTREME WEATHER
Camps are scheduled to run rain or shine, however extreme cases such as air quality advisories will be evaluated on a daily basis. DYT staff will make the call if camps will be running in this case.
7. CHILD PROTECTION
When there is a suspicion of abuse or neglect, there is a requirement as per the Child, Family and Community Services Act, that a call by DYT staff is made to the Ministry of Children and Family Services and that the incident is reported and documented.
8. CRIMINAL RECORD CHECKS & 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. For staff safety, our communication policy is that all staff and Personal Support Workers must be fluent in ASL.
For Summer 2022: COVID-19 Health and Safety Information is posted on the FNDC website under DTY Programs or access the link here: Health and Safety for DYT Programs | FNDC
9. REGISTRATION INFORMATION:
To register, go to our website: www.fndc.ca and register online. If you wish to register your child manually by mail, fax or phone, DYT will need to charge a $25.00 fee for administrative costs associated with manual registrations. Sorry, but manual registrations take up more time. 🙁
How much information do you need to know about my child? As many details as possible will 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. This information will be kept confidential.
Confidentiality: Confidentiality is very important to us. We assure you that DYT our staff have training around confidentiality. Any information you share with DYT in regard to your child or family is kept confidential. As our board members are all parents of deaf children, no information is ever shared with our Board.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Please avoid requesting information through social media (i.e., Facebook)
10. WHO CAN ATTEND DYT PROGRAMS?
Our mandate is to provide language enhancement in ASL and social opportunities for DHH children in British Columbia (ages 5 to 18). Our program is built around language access and language development for those that use ASL as a first or second language. Our weekly camp programs are grouped according to ages. For DHH children who are 4 in the summer, but will begin kindergarten in the Fall, we welcome them into our program. We welcome DHH children of all abilities, including those learning ASL. We request that all children be toilet-trained. We may request a copy of your child’s audiogram to verify that they are DHH. Our DYT program is a LANGUAGE program (ASL) and we welcome and include DHH children. In some cases, if a DHH child doesn’t communicate in sign language and has complex needs that take priority over language, our DYT Summer Programs may not be a suitable match.
Can hearing children attend? We sometimes provide opportunities for hearing siblings of DHH 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 DHH children in their families. As well, this is an opportunity for hearing siblings to learn from other DHH 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 friendships develop between DHH children, their hearing siblings and CODA’s. We are all about community building for DHH children and their families. DHH children take priority in our programs (our MCFD contract mandate) but we try our best to accommodate hearing siblings or CODA’s during some program weeks.
Is DYT accessible for Hard of Hearing Children? We welcome Hard of hearing (HH) kids who are open to being in a signing environment and wanting to learn! Many HH campers develop life-long friendships at DYT. DYT can be a safe and positive experience for HH campers who learn they have another community of friends at DYT and gain a large network for future opportunities (educational, career, social). As a side note: Many of our current Deaf staff identified as hard of hearing campers when they were younger. DYT encourages HH campers wanting to learn/further develop sign language and make/nurture friendships with other DHH 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. DYT staff receive training around strategies to make all children feel comfortable and welcome. We also have sign language interpreters involved in our camps so that HH campers are comfortable communicating with our Deaf staff. In addition, DYT staff will provide mentorship to those campers who are new. It is important that you have conversations with your children about being in a sign language immersion environment (how would you try to communicate if you weren’t sure how to sign). Contact the DYT Coordinator for more ideas to prepare children for camp.
11. CAN I REGISTER MY CHILD IF WE DON’T LIVE IN BC?
Campers must have a BC address (except under exceptional circumstances). BC DHH 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. 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.
12. WHY AREN’T THERE MORE PROGRAM DETAILS ONLINE?
DYT Summer Staff begin work in June and we want them to experience the process associated with program planning which is why the online description is very vague. Also, as the children we serve are diverse, we have found that often we need to make program changes to meet the children’s strengths and we only know that when we see the registration list. Remember: closer to the program’s start date, you will receive an email with program details in it.
13. WHAT IF A DYT PROGRAM IS FULL – WILL THERE BE A WAIT LIST?
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 the very complex needs of some children.
14. WHAT ABOUT MEDICATION FOR A CAMPER?
If your child/youth is taking medication during the school year, we request that they continue their medication during the summer months (ie ADHD medication). Our DYT staff are not medically trained to administer medication. Contact us to discuss.
15. DYT FUNDING, FINANCIAL SUPPORT AND REFUNDS?
Where does DYT funding come from? FNDC receives some of our funding from the B.C. Ministry of Children & Family Development, and Service Canada (Canada Summer Jobs). The cost to run this program far exceeds our funding, therefore we rely on donations and grants. We use our finances wisely by keeping all our administrative costs to a minimum. Our FNDC & DYT administrative contract workers (pour – delete) put 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 maximize resources that directly benefit the children and families we serve. 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-time weekly during the summer. FNDC proudly can say – we are the largest summer employer of DHH 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.
How does DYT decide on the program fees? Our program fees are subsidized HUGELY. For example, we charge approximately $80.00, but the actual cost is between $200 and $350 per camper. Parents on our Board are very understanding/supportive of the emotional, educational and financial needs of younger parents of DHH 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 providing 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 a time. We want to make the cost affordable so that you will sign up your child/youth for several weeks because our goal is to enhance and develop your child’s language and social opportunities. Language growth and friendships – that’s our goal.
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 funding is for DHH children. Funding for hearing siblings/CODA’s (Children of Deaf Adults) isn’t available. In regard to funding for your DHH 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. Each summer, we may offer a one-week program that is NOT subsidized, and therefore we can’t offer any reduced funding for that week. Send us an email: email@example.com 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. Starting in 2022, families will be asked to complete a Request for Financial Subsidy Form which will be emailed to you.
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 asked to leave a program due to inappropriate behaviour, we cannot offer refunds. In cases of extenuating circumstances, we will offer refunds.
16. PROGRAM INFORMATION
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. If you do not receive an email, contact us immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please avoid requesting information through social media (i.e., Facebook). 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 (avoid nuts and nut products), water bottle pre-filled with water
A bottle of sunscreen in a backpack.
Please apply sunscreen before arrival. DYT will remind children to re-apply.
Good walking shoes.
Hat and if child wish or needs, sunglasses
Prepare your child to participate rain or shine. Long pants and jackets are recommended in the event of rain or cooler weather.
Note: hearing aids, assistive devices etc. should be labelled (and insured by you).
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 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 DHH children. DHH 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 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). DYT provides an opportunity for your DHH child that is equal to their hearing peers’ experience, where they may experience access and inclusion by having fun, experiencing some independence from parents/caregivers and professionals. This allows D/HH children to learn how to meet and navigate new friendships, be exposed to signing in a language rich environment and to see conversation all around them in the same way that hearing children have access. Parents: we want you to enjoy your free time, relax and know that your DHH 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 DHH kids to have a regular “camper experience” with their friends.
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/pick up my child from a destination (other than the DYT meeting place?) 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. Great language opportunities and conversation (ie friendships, conflict resolution) 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 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.
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.).
17. HEARING AIDS, CI PROCESSORS, PHOTOS & CELLPHONES
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 ask that cell phone/text messaging use be kept to minimum/emergencies so that youth can benefit from our programs. 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 Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services (PDHHS), or posted to our website, FNDC Facebook page, YouTube, DYT brochures, newsletters or thanking our donors. 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 of 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 may be videotaped and photographed. Also when you register your child on line for programs, there is a consent waiver that we ask parents to approve.
18. IF YOUR CHILD IS ASKED TO LEAVE (DISMISSAL) 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:
talk with the child/youth so they are aware of the issue;
call parents/guardians to alert to the possibility of potential dismissal from camp;
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 asked to leave the program.
19. DYT’S LEADERSHIP IN TRAINING PROGRAM
DYT’s Leader in Training (LIT) program is an opportunity for DHH teens to gain valuable leadership training and volunteer opportunities. Application and registration will be in person. Following the training sessions, LIT’s that display strong leadership skills, good boundaries, are independent and work well with a team, may be offered volunteer or paid work opportunities throughout the summer. The LIT experience gives youth an opportunity to be a role model, gain experience working with children, and often opens up doors to future work with DYT. We invest in our LIT’s by providing a quality training program to shape their leadership, teamwork, general skills in working with DHH children and their families as well as community professionals.
20. PERSONAL SUPPORT WORKERS FOR DHH CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
Many DHH campers have disabilities and require a Personal Support Worker (PSW) for safety, medical, behaviour, physical and inclusion needs. The cost for one week of a PSW is approximately $500. We request that when families have outside funding available (ie Autism funding, workplace grants, respite funding that allows for hiring PSW’s, etc) that families assist with funding a portion of the cost of the PSW when outside funding is accessible to them. DYT also receives some donations towards PSW’s but this funding is limited. DYT is committed to a minimum of one week of camp for DHH children/youth who do not have funding for a PSW, but cannot guarantee additional weeks, but we will do our best to work with you. If a qualified PSW cannot be found, DYT may not be able to accommodate your DHH child in our program that week.
All Personal Support Workers (PSW’s) are required to:
have training/skills that match the needs of the DHH child with complex needs
are fluent in ASL
pass a criminal record check
be over the age of 17
not be a family member of the DHH child.
DYT will make final decisions on PSW hiring (due to ASL Language levels for PSW’s working under the direction and safety of our DYT Staff). NOTE: **If DYT is covering the cost of a PSW and the camper is a “no show”- then families will not receive registration priority in the future.
21. DHH CAMPERS WITH DISABILITIES THAT ARE COMPLEX
Our camps are designed for all DHH children/youth with the goal of enhancing ASL language development. For DHH campers with disabilities that are very complex, if the complex needs take priority over language, our DYT Summer Programs may not be a suitable match. DYT doesn’t have the expertise or the ability to safely support medically fragile, complex behaviour, psychiatric issues, toileting needs or “flight risk”. We wish to include all DHH children in our program and do our best to accommodate, but in some instances, we may not have the expertise to ensure your child’s safety and the safety of other campers/staff. In these cases, DYT may refer you to a program that has the expertise to support complex needs.
Process for Registration/Acceptance for DHH children with disabilities that are complex: Camper’s needs are reviewed at registration and assessed throughout each summer season. Prior to registering your DHH child with disabilities that are complex, we ask that you:
email email@example.com to inform our Registration Assistant of the needs of your DHH child.
DYT team will review the registration information to see if the program is suitable for your child and to see if DYT has qualified Personal Support Workers (PSW’s) to work with your child. We are limited in the number of available PSW’s each week.
If your child is accepted, we may need to limit the number of program weeks based upon the availability of qualified PSW’s to match your child’s needs, and the number of other children registered that week needing support.
Circumstances may arise during the summer where the DHH participant’s safety is in danger to him or herself and/or to other participants. If that is the case, your child will need to withdraw from the summer program.
If your DHH child is not accepted, this means the summer program is not suitable for your child and we will work with you to find other community resources and programs that will be a good match.
26. CONTACT US: Complaints, Concerns, 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! If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us below:
CONTACT US IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS