Competitive Debate And Speech Takes Practice And Training

by Timothy Niemann

• Summer camp provides extensive support and experience to verbal competition.

The Debate Intensive, one of the nation’s top summer debate camps, will be held in Southern California for the eighth time this summer.
The Debate Intensive (TDI) hosts four different sessions, ranging from one to five weeks in length. The sessions will be held at CSU Dominguez Hills and CSU Los Angeles. The TDI has specifically structured sessions for debaters of all levels in order to make them the best debaters they can be.

The camp offers both a residential and commuter option for all its sessions.
Campers spend every day, except Sunday, working on debate-related activities. Most of the time, students work on labs, in which they work on exercises according to their experience level. At other times students will participate in practice debates, attend lectures and work one-on-one at mentoring sessions.
“Debate camp is an important opportunity for improvement for debaters of all skill levels” said Scott Wheeler, Camp co-director and director of the Peninsula High speech and debate program. “For experienced debaters, camp is a way to improve their skill set over the summer. Specific skills can be isolated and developed with directed practice, he said.

“Past campers have improved a lot in a short amount of time, catching up with or surpassing debaters who don’t go to summer camp. For new debaters, there’s no way to overstate the value of starting in an environment where you can be focused exclusively on debate,” Wheeler said.
The camp revolves around four intensives: investigations of government policy, ethical philosophy, theory of argumentation, and critical theory.
“Students are constantly focusing on specific skills to develop throughout their time at the camp, ”Wheeler said, added, “Students’ time is divided into lab, practice debates, intensives, electives, and mentor.
“Lab is like homeroom. Students are grouped according to ability and proceed at the appropriate pace. Most days have practice debates which start out being between students in the same lab but become interlab debates as the camp progresses,” Wheeler said.

“At TDI, each and every student receives plenty of attention from debate experts as the camp has a student-faculty ratio of 4:1. Because of the time devoted to its students, as well as its approach to teaching, The Debate Intensive has been one of the most successful debate camps at producing high-achieving debaters,“ Wheeler said.
TDI students have won state and national championships, and its students have had major success at the Tournament of Champions, debate’s most prestigious tournament.

Wheeler encouraged anyone interested in debate to sign up for The Debate Intensive.
“If you’ve ever had an interest in debate or if your son or daughter has, just do it!” He said, adding, “Starting with a summer camp where debate is all they do may seem drastic, but it’s a surefire way to make sure they have a positive experience where they are set up to succeed.”


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