MDO FAQs - Frequently asked questions
Below are all of the questions we hear most often. Click on a question to jump down the page to the answer.
What is MDO?
MDO is a weeklong event in which Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH) children come together from all over the U.S. to participate in Olympic-style sporting competitions.
Why is it called ‘MDO’?
In 1983, seven volunteers and seven participants began the “Mini Deaf Olympics” which was later renamed The Deaf Youth Sports Festival, but we still call it MDO.
When is MDO?
The 36rd Deaf Youth Sports Festival will take place from July 21 through July 27, 2019.
Where is MDO?
MDO will take place on the campus of the New York State School for the Deaf, 401 Turin St, Rome, NY 13440. Click here for directions to NYSSD. MDO is not affiliated with NYSSD other than to use the campus for the Festival. Please DO NOT contact NYSSD for information about MDO.
Who is MDO for?
D/HH children ages 5 through High School come to participate, and are called ‘Participants”. Deaf/HH (after they graduate from High School), and Hearing age 13 and up come to Volunteer (age 13-17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian).
Can Hearing children participate in the sporting events?
MDO is a program that serves exclusively Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH) Youth ages 5 through High School.
Why can’t KODA children and other Hearing children participate?
Because there are many events and
camps for Hearing and KODA children, but very few for D/HH children, MDO is currently limited to only D/HH youth as participants. KODA and Hearing children, ages 13-17, are welcome to come as volunteers when accompanied by a parent or guardian who is also volunteering.
Are the age limits followed strictly? Can my 4 year-old Deaf child participate or my 10 year-old hearing child volunteer with me?
The criteria we follow is that D/HH children must be mature enough to be comfortable in a dorm setting with other children of their age, and have independent toilet habits with minimal supervision. For Hearing volunteers younger than 13, they must be mature enough to work independently of their parent/guardian, since they may work in a different area. The goal is for all to
enjoy their time at MDO without added stress of separation anxiety. We are happy to work with parents on a case-by-case basis if they feel their child has sufficient maturity.
What kinds of sports are at MDO?
Team and individual events that are eligible for medals include soccer, volleyball, basketball, swimming, track and field (long jump, high jump, discus, shot-put) and bowling. We also have Disc Golf, kickball, and Team handball, however these sports are only for enjoyment and not for medals.
Does everyone win medals?
Yes, by the end of the week, everyone will have won at least one medal in a team or individual event.
How are the teams arranged?
The children are grouped by age/skills into teams and compete in multiple
games daily, culminating in medal winners (gold, silver, bronze) for each event. We have three age groups: Elementary School – ES (ages 5 – 9); Middle School – MS (ages 10 – 13); High School – HS (ages 14 and up). These are general guidelines; our Sports Committee evaluates skills to make sure the teams are evenly balanced.
Does my child need to have prior athletic experience?
No. One of the purposes of MDO is to expose D/HH children to many different sports that they may have never tried before. At the beginning of the week we have skills development and explain the rules of each sport before they actually play.
Do the children play sports every day?
Yes! During the day, the teams are rotated through each sporting event, so that every child will experience and
compete in every sport.
What happens in the evenings?
Each evening there are different events planned. Some of the events are an Ice Cream Party, Family Roller Skating, MDO Carnival, and a Banquet with DJ and dancing! See the MDO Schedule on the MDO Live tab.
What about sleeping arrangements and roommates?
The Dorm is separated by gender, and the children are grouped in rooms with their own age group, not always their teammates, giving them the opportunity to socialize and meet many new friends. There are two per room, and the children may choose roommates at registration. Team Coaches have rooms near their age group.
Who supervises the children?
The Participant Affairs Committee is in charge of the safety and care of the children. Each team of 4 to 8 children has a trained coach and assistant coach. The coaches supervise their team 24 hours a day, from waking them up, taking them to meals, and sporting events, then to the evening events and back to dorm for bed.
How will my child get their daily medicine?
The Participant Affairs Committee has medical staff that makes sure all medicine is given correctly and on time.
How much does MDO cost?
For each participant that attends MDO, we must raise $750. We offer early bird discounts to help families afford to send their children to MDO. However, we still must raise the difference between the early bird rate and $750 to completely fund each child. For example, if a child pays the first early bird of $300, we must raise another $450 for that child. ALL funding is from grants, donations, and fees paid by participants.
What if I cannot afford the participant fee?
Our goal is to accept all D/HH children who apply to MDO regardless of economic status. We offer early bird rates to aid families in more easily affording to send their children to MDO. Payment plans are also available. There are fundraising opportunities to help raise funds for individual participants, such as the Participant Website fundraiser. We are happy to work with individual families on a case-by-case basis to make sure we don’t have to turn away any child who wants to attend MDO.
How can I raise the funds for my child to participate?
We encourage families to hold fundraising activities on their own, and to be involved in MDO fundraising events.
The Participant Website is another good way to ask for donations.
Who can be a Volunteer?
Deaf/HH (after they graduate from High School), and Hearing age 13 and up may apply as Volunteers (age 13-17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian).
What are the requirements for first-time volunteers?
First time volunteers are asked to submit three references from clergy, work, friends, and others who can speak to their character and work habits.
Where do adult volunteers sleep?
Participant Affairs volunteers working directly with the children as coaches sleep on the floor with their team to be available to them 24 hours a day. All other volunteers will be located on separate floors from the children. ONLY Participant Affairs and authorized personnel are allowed on floors with children.
What is the difference between full-time and part-time volunteers?
Full-time volunteers are those on duty every day and sleep in the dorm. Part-time volunteers are those on duty less than a full day/full week and commute locally to campus.
What hours will I work if I’m part-time?
We will schedule you to work around your availability. We need volunteers 24 hours a day for the entire 10 days.
Can I sleep in the dorm if I want to volunteer part-time?
Depending on your available time to volunteer for us, and the distance you travel to MDO, we can make accommodations for you to sleep in the dorm, or off campus at local housing. We will work with you to make sure you are comfortable.
Where does MDO get funding?
All funding is from grants, donations, fundraising events and participant fees.
How can I help MDO?
You can help with:
Hooking us up with an individual or business who can make a donation
Donating items we need (see Needs list)
Being a volunteer
Referring Deaf/Hard of Hearing children to become participants
What kind of work do volunteers do?
Committees with specialized duties operate MDO.
Committees and their duties: