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Our recommendations for beginners are:
8 year olds: Confidence in Communication camp
Age 9 to 11: Junior Speech camp
Age 12 to 18: Intro to Speech and Intro to Team Policy camp

Since speech and debate work hand in hand to help students to sharpen both their public-speaking and critical-thinking skills, we recommend that students ages 12 to 18 attend all 5 days of training: 2 days of speech (Intro to Speech camp) and 3 days of debate (Intro to Team Policy debate).

Ages 8 to 11 are encouraged to attend the 2-day Junior speech or CiC camp, to increase their confidence and poise when speaking in front of a group. When students begin public speaking in their formative years, they can avoid developing stage fright in their teen years.

The Intro to Team Policy debate camp is the ideal starting place for new debaters because it teaches students the fundamentals of public-speaking within a concrete framework of problem-solution-benefits. Students learn research, reasoning, refutation, organization and persuasive speaking skills within the context of evaluating problems in current public policies, and brainstorming and proposing solutions that are more advantageous than the current system. The camp training takes students from no experience in debate to competing in a mini-competition in 3 days. With such remarkable progress in just 3 days, many students leave excited and inspired about continuing to sharpen their critical-thinking and communication skills in competition.

Since Lincoln Douglas debate is a more abstract, philosophical form of debate, it is better suited for high school debaters or mature 8th graders who enjoy political theory, philosophy and history. If your student is 13 but already has fairly solid logic skills and enjoys discussing ethical values (e.g. human rights, Justice) and the political philosophies that have shaped history (e.g. social contract theory, utilitarianism, democracy), then he/she is ready for the Intro to Lincoln Douglas camp!

Our Introductory debate camps are recommended for debaters with no experience in debate, or experienced debaters with a year or more of competition experience that have not advanced to the elimination rounds. Coaches often send their students that don’t have a winning record in competition to our Intro training to help them solidify foundational concepts, which in many cases is what students need most in order to take their skills to the next level. Due to the comprehensive nature of our camp instruction, many of our Intro debate campers go on to the highest level of competition the following season because they received the level of training they needed.

Intermediate/Advanced debate campers should have solid research skills and an understanding of foundational debate theory. There are 3 weeks of camp prep leading up to our Intermediate/Advanced debate camps where students start researching the resolution, and develop affirmative and negative cases/briefs (before camp) in order to maximize their camp experience through in-depth resolutional discussions, drills and coached rounds. This level of prep is expected of our intermediate/advanced debaters, but can be overwhelming for students who are not ready.

Parents are welcome/encouraged to sit in on the intermediate/advanced training and learn alongside their registered students. There is no charge for parents of registered students, however, we ask that attending parents assist with judging camp debate rounds. Note: siblings are not permitted to sit in on the camp training – only registered students and their parent(s).

Parents are discouraged from attending beginner camps with their students, as beginners tend to clam up with several adults in attendance.

Students have until June 30th to switch from TP to LD camp (or vice versa) without penalty. After June 30th, there is a $25 penalty to switch.

Home-schooled students ages 13 & up can continue sharpening their public-speaking skills through competition in the NCFCA. Junior competition is also offered for siblings ages 6-12 at many of these tournaments. Most high school students attending a private and public school have the opportunity to continue sharpening their public-speaking and debate skills by joining their school team.

What about students who don’t have the opportunity to compete through their private or public school? All 9-18yos that complete any of our 2-day speech camps are eligible to register for our Competitive Speech Club, and all 12-18yos that complete any of our 3-day debate camps are eligible to register for our Competitive Debate Club. Club members meet weekly to work with our national championship coaches to build on the camp training, to continue to hone their critical thinking and public-speaking skills through speech and debate competition. Club members are required to compete in at least one tournament each semester. See Registration details.