About LOFT & The Application Process
LOFT is for high school students who are deaf and hard of hearing and use listening and spoken language as their primary mode of communication. This four-day sleep-away program is designed for participants to develop or strengthen skills in individual leadership, teamwork, group dynamics, public speaking, and self-advocacy. The program provides a supportive and structured environment in which participants increase self-confidence and understanding of their own strengths and abilities through activities designed to challenge them. LOFT builds connections, respect and camaraderie among teens who share a common bond. This is a great opportunity for high school and college-bound teens interested in an enlightening and confidence-building experience away from home with their peers.
Activities and sessions build on each other over the course of LOFT, integrating the overall outcomes, including:
- A heightened sense of self-acceptance, self-worth and self-confidence
- A deeper understanding of the capacity for leadership skills that each teen has within him/herself
- An experiential understanding of team dynamics, individual skill sets and collaboration for common purpose
- Increased confidence and ability for self-advocacy in social, travel and educational settings
Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided during classroom sessions. LOFT counselors are AG Bell members who are adults living with hearing loss.
LOFT is for high school students who are deaf and hard of hearing and use listening and spoken language as their primary communication. Interpreters and transliterators are not provided for students who use other communication methods. CART and a dynamic sound field are provided for full-group classroom-style sessions and a limited number of FM loops are available. Many LOFT activities involve teamwork, individual interaction and small group discussions, or take place outdoors or offsite. During these activities and free time, neither CART nor FM systems are available, nor will participants need to communicate using listening and spoken language. While students whose use of auditory information is minimal may find benefit from LOFT, those applicants should recognize that some elements of the program may present communication challenges.
In order to be eligible for this program, applicants must meet all of the following criteria:
- The teen must have a pre-lingual bilateral hearing loss in the mild to profound range or a pre-lingual unilateral hearing loss in the moderate to profound range. (Degrees of Hearing Loss: Moderate: 41 to 55 dB; Moderately severe: 56 to 70 dB; Severe: 71 to 90 dB; Profound: 91+ dB)
- Listening and Spoken Language must be the teen’s primary mode of communication.
- The teen must currently be in high school.
Location & Dates
Two sessions of LOFT are being planned in Washington, DC. Each session can accommodate 20 teens. Holding both sessions is dependent upon the number of applications and funding.
Session 1: Sunday, July 23, 2017 - Thursday, July 27, 2017
Session 2: Saturday, July 29, 2017 - Wednesday, August 2, 2017
The Program Fee is $875 per registrant. This covers lodging, all meals, snacks, activity fees, and ground transportation from arrival to departure. A credit card is required to cover any incidental expenses the teen may incur at the hotel.
For families who may need financial assistance, a scholarship application is available.
Applications must be submitted online by 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time on the day they are due. No applications will be accepted after the deadline.
Submitting the Application
Applications must be submitted online. The application will be posted when the period opens, usually in January.
Due to the popularity of this program, more applications are often received than can be accommodated in a given year; submission of an application is not a guarantee for program participation. Applicants will be notified via email on Friday, March 31, 2017 whether or not they have been selected for LOFT 2017. Applicants who are not selected for this year’s program are strongly encouraged to apply in future years.
TERMS & CONDITIONS
Applicants will be notified via email on Friday, March 31, 2017 whether or not they have been selected for LOFT 2017. Once accepted into the LOFT program, the following terms and conditions apply.
Two sessions of LOFT are being planned. Holding both sessions is dependent on funding and receiving enough applications. Participants will be accepted for a specific session in accordance with the information provided on the application. Once accepted into one session, participants may not transfer to the other session.
Information and Forms
Following acceptance into the LOFT program, parents and teens will receive an e-packet of information with links to forms to complete online. These forms must be completed by end of day 11:59 pm Eastern time on May 1, 2017.
LOFT Registration Fee – What it Covers and When it’s Due
The LOFT Registration Fee ($875) covers meals, snacks, activity fees and ground transportation during the program as well as lodging in a double room for the four nights of the LOFT program. Each teen will share a room with another participant of the same gender; roommates are assigned by AG Bell.
*Please note: LOFT is a sleep-away program; all participants are required to stay at the hotel for the program.
Payment of $875 is due to AG Bell by Monday, May 1, 2017. Payment by credit card or check is acceptable. If paying by check, credit card information is also required to cover any incidental expenses the teen may charge to the room. Payment Instructions will be given in the Acceptance Packages of Information.
Refunds for the LOFT program, less a $50 administrative fee, will be made only if cancellation is received in writing by May 15, 2017. No refunds will be issued for cancellations received after this date; this includes refunds due to illness, late arrival, weather conditions and/or other travel difficulties.
Air or Ground Transportation
Parents must arrange for and cover the cost of airfare to Washington, DC (Reagan National Airport DCA) for their teen in coordination with the LOFT program arrival/departure schedule*. Please note: Reagan National Airport (DCA) is the closest and preferred airport to and from the host Hotel for LOFT 2017
For those within driving distance, parents may choose to drop off/pick up their teen at the hotel in coordination with the drop off/pick up schedule*.
*The LOFT arrival/departure and drop off/pick up schedule will be provided to LOFT participants on April 3, 2017. Washington, DC is located in the Eastern time zone.
Parents must equip their teen with a communication device with texting capabilities for communication with LOFT staff during pickup and drop off at the airport and in the event of an emergency.
The use of mobile phones and/or texting devices is not allowed during program activities (generally 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. local time). Teens are asked to limit the use of their mobile phones during lunch, dinner and free time. This is not to restrict communication with parents, rather to encourage the teens to interact personally with the other teens at the program. It is not acceptable for teens to play games on their phone or text friends back home during meals or free time.
We will do our best to send four emails (one each day) to parents with updates about the group. These will be general in nature and not specific to any teen.
Participants are met at baggage claim at the airport or at the hotel. They are supervised during waking hours until they leave the program. Upon departure at the airport, they are with a LOFT staff member until they go through the security gate. A LOFT staff member remains at the airport until the last teen’s plane has departed.
Curfews are in place during sleeping hours (generally 10:30 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.). Participants are not permitted to leave their room during curfew, except in the case of emergency such as a fire alarm* or medical emergency. For a while after curfew, there will be periodic room checks by LOFT counselors.
*One smoke detector/alarm clock with bed shaker is provided per room.
Participants may not be in a room other than their own during curfew. Boys and girls are not allowed in the same sleeping room at any time without the supervision of a LOFT counselor.
Participants will not be allowed to leave the hotel or activity areas at any time without permission of a LOFT counselor. In the event that a participant needs to leave the activity premises, he or she will be accompanied by a LOFT counselor.
Parents are encouraged to communicate via phone or text with their teen outside of session/activity hours.
Parents may choose to accompany their teen to Denver, Colorado and vacation in the area.
Observation of the LOFT program or direct parental involvement on site (personal interaction with your teen, other LOFT teens or the hotel staff on behalf of your teen) is not permitted. In the event of a medical emergency, parents will be contacted immediately.
Possession and/or consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs by LOFT participants is strictly forbidden and will result in immediate dismissal from the program.
Possession and/or use of dangerous or unauthorized materials such as explosives, firearms, weapons or similar items by LOFT participants is strictly forbidden and will result in immediate dismissal from the program.
Blatant and persistent disrespect for counselors and/or other teens in the program will result in dismissal from the program.
Any expenses, travel or otherwise, associated with an early dismissal from the program will be the responsibility of the parent.