Public Forum Debate Summer Camps: East

“This is the fourth and final installment of the Beyond Resolved Public Forum Summer Camp Guide. This post I will cover camps on the West Coast. The first post on 3/28/2014 explains my rubric for selecting a summer camp; this post will cover the specific camps. Check out my earlier posts that feature guides to the West, Midwest, and South.


NDF National Debate Forum, Boston, MA

The National Debate Forum (NDF) is the premier institute for Lincoln-Douglas Debate and Public Forum Debate. Founded in 1995, we have over a decade and a half of experience in providing quality instruction to students motivated to excel in debate competitions locally, regionally, and nationally. NDF has a diverse staff to assist students of all backgrounds to be competitively successful, regardless of the region a debater is from, or the style of debate they employ. What’s more, the staff is balanced with recent graduates who were nationally successful and seasoned coaches who have a proven track record of competitive and educational excellence. Central to the NDF experience is individualized instruction, which is possible because of limited enrollment and a low faculty-to-student ratio.

At both institutes students will be exposed to a meticulously crafted and dynamic curriculum that meets the needs of students at all skill levels. The curriculum is reevaluated every year, taking into account coach, faculty, and student feedback, and tweaked to guarantee that we always provide students with the best possible camp experience.”

Dates: July 14 – July 28

Deadline to Apply: Students who register online before May 1, 2014 will be automatically admitted upon receipt of a $300 non-refundable tuition deposit. The Tuition Balance is due on May 1, 2014. Payment plans are available upon request. Students who register after May 1, 2014 will need to pay in full at the time of registration to secure a spot in the 2014 session.


TWO WEEK SESSION PRICING: Boston Residential:$2500, Boston Commuter:$1500

OPTIONAL ONE WEEK SESSION PRICING :Boston One Week Residential: $1500, Boston One Week Commuter: $750

(Students interested in a one week only option, must attend the 1st week of the 2 week sessions.)

Practice Rounds: no exact number listed

Topics Covered: no specifics listed

Thoughts: There is a nice NDF student competitor track record (check out their website) and NDF has a solid reputation. One of the top choices for the East Coast.



Capitol Debate Public Forum Camp, Baltimore, MD and Princeton, NJ

“Program Overview: The Public Forum Debate Camp, one of our overnight academic camps, instructs students in the essential skills for success in competitive debate. Taught by renowned teachers with sterling track records, this debate institute teaches students the key processes of effective debate such as case construction, composing briefs, research, rebuttals, cross-fire, evidence analysis, and summary and final focus. Debate students leave our academic camp with the knowledge, skills, and practical experience needed to succeed in debate.”

Dates: July 13 – July 25, 2014 Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore, MD

Deadline to Apply: Prices increased after March 31, but I could not find a deadline to apply.

Price: Overnight Camp (2 Weeks for $2995/ 1 Week for $1695)

Commuter Camp (2 Weeks for $2295/ 1 Week for $1595)

Practice Rounds: Practice rounds with extensive feedback are mentioned in the marketing. I cannot speak to the exact number of rounds included in the program.

Topics Covered: “Critical to success in public forum debate is the ability to effectively argue a wide range of topics. Our highly experienced debate camp faculty will teach campers advanced argumentation skills in the following areas: Case Criteria Development, Delivery, Issue Selection, Summary and Final Focus Writing, Refutation, Case Construction, Brief Writing, Evidence Analysis, Research.”

 Thoughts: Capitol boasts many successful debaters that have moved through their camps in the past, and this camp combines debate with fun activities in the area. The curriculum looks comprehensive and a great addition to Southern California’s summer camps.

Contact:  Information Request


Harvard Debate Council Summer Workshops

Promo video can be found here.

Dates: Session1: July 6 to July 18, Session 2: July 20 to August 1, 2014

Deadline to Apply: April 30, 2014

Price: Either session is $1,995.00 (Commuter) $3,095.00 (Resident)

Practice Rounds: You start debating mini-debates then progress to many full rounds

Topics Covered: Understanding the Unique Nature of PF, Topic Analysis, Establishing a Framework or Theme, Argument Construction/Critical Thinking, Case Construction, Word Economy, Case Edits, Impacting and Linking Evidence/How to Use Evidence Effectively, Rebuttal Construction, Turning your Opponent’s Case, Case Extensions, Summary Speeches/Weighing Clash, Final Focus Techniques, Crossfire Techniques, Research Skills/Use of Technology, Constructing Briefs, Effective Use of Rhetoric and Persuasive Appeals, Public Speaking Skills, Judge Adaptation, Political Psychology, Benefits of Collaboration, Economic and Political Theories and Systems, Productive Time Management, Maximizing the Benefits of Practice Rounds, Maximizing Partnership, Flowing Techniques, Regional Difference Adaptation

Thoughts: A skilled staff, great topic coverage, and good reputation both in student success and student experience. A top choice for the country overall if you can afford the workshop.

Contact: (617) 495-4822 or

The Debate Institutes at Dartmouth

The one-week Public Forum workshop is an intensive week of case writing and debate practice. Students will learn about likely upcoming topics and participate in daily debates.”

Dates: July 5 – July 12, 2014

Deadline to Apply: May 1, 2014 (tentative)

Price:$1675.00, or $1500.00 with applicable discounts. An early application discount of $100.00 is available for students who apply by March 1 and pay in full by May 1. A discount of $25.00 is available for paying by check. A returning student discount of $50.00 is available for students who attended in previous years. Limitedfinancial aid is also available.

Practice Rounds: Daily

Topics Covered: “The Public Forum Workshop will focus on presentation, persuasion, and argumentation skills. Students will practice writing cases, attend classes to learn important skills, and have daily practice debates with likely Public Forum topics.

Last year, instructors correctly predicted the September/October topic and the area of the November topic. Students had the opportunity for advance practice with both topics.

Students will also take a field trip to the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Site, where they will participate in public debates.

100% of the participants in the 2012 Public Forum Workshop said it made them a better debater.”

We will maintain a 1:8 or better staff to student ratio.”

Thoughts: This camp looks like a great choice for beginning debaters or debaters transitioning to their first year on Varsity. The emphasis on practice rounds and skill will serve the younger debater but may not cover the advance topics older debaters should seek in a camp.

Contact:,  call (802) 359-7533, or visit on Facebook


The Institute for Speech and DebateQueens University of Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina

Founded and directed by experienced professional educators, The Institute for Speech and Debate is a different kind of speech and debate camp experience. Designed, managed, and staffed by championship speech and debate coaches, our program is unique because its mission is learning, compared to simply winning rounds. Our instructors are from schools that have won four of the last six NFL National Championships and three of the last five NCFL National Championships in Public Forum Debate, and a host of other honors in Extemporaneous Speaking and Congressional Debate.  We have the most celebrated faculty in the country.  With a small student-to-faculty ratio, the ISD Workshops will teach you how to go from from Novice to Nationals, or if you’re already an experienced competitor, from Prelims to Finals.”

Dates: July 13-26, 2014

Deadline to Apply: April 30, 2014


2 Weeks (July 13 – July 26): $2350
1 Week (July 13-19): $1450

Commuter Programs (lunch and dinner only)
2 Weeks : (July 13-July 26): $1300
1 Week: (July 13-19): $850

Financial Aid available.

Practice Rounds/Topics Covered:

“Our Workshop will help you improve your basic researching and case creation skills. We will also develop your crossfire and refutation skills. Our comprehensive approach will enable you to advance round-winning arguments to a broad spectrum of critics. You will also work daily on delivery exercises to improve your public speaking skills in rounds, and which will enhance your overall effectiveness as a communicator.

The ISD’s senior staff members are lifelong and highly qualified high school teachers as well as coaches. They have been honored with awards for teaching and coaching excellence. They know the importance of a carefully designed program and of well-crafted lessons that stress active learning and mastery of skills and concepts. Their distinguished practice as teachers ensures that ISD’s Public Forum Workshop is powerfully engaging and effective for students.

Students will chose between one of two divisions in Public Forum Debate:

Junior Division: This program will be geared to students with one year or less experience in Public Forum Debate.  The focus will be on developing an understanding of the event, learning and improving, case writing, argumentation, research, and communication skills.  Students will participate in lab activities every day in which they will receive progress monitoring of skill development.  Students will participate in full rounds of competitions throughout the institute.  Several practice rounds with detailed critiques will culminate the experience for one week students.  Two week students will compete in a full Institute tournament at the end of the second week.  

Senior Division: This program is geared toward students who are experienced in Public Forum Debate and are looking to refine their skills to go to the highest level of competition.  Students will focus on case development, writing and implementing blocks, advanced argumentation and framework analysis.  Students will also engage in advanced lectures on content areas.  All students will participate in a balanced mix of lectures and lab work that focuses on one-on-one skill analysis.  Several practice rounds with detailed critiques will culminate the experience for one week students.  Two week students will compete in a full Institute tournament at the end of the second week.”

Thoughts: Second year of program, but an amazing PF faculty promises a great experience. A great price for the faculty experience you will get here. Though it is young I think this is a great option for new and more experienced debaters alike, especially given the Junior and Senior Division tracks.



GMU Patriot Debate Institute, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

“Why the Patriot Debate Institute?

The Patriot Debate Institute strives to offer the most individual attention of any debate camp.  Low student-to-faculty ratios and an extremely active faculty allow us to meet the individual needs of every debater.  We are proud of our ability to tailor our instruction to the needs to individual participants once assessments are done; tailored instruction is indeed a unique institute approach.  The camp has a focus on debate as an educational & communicative  activity which offers a one of a kind learning experience. 

 What does the Patriot Debate Institute have for me?

The Patriot Debate Institute offers opportunities for beginning through experienced debaters.  We offer Policy, Lincoln-Douglas, and Public Forum styles of debate.  There is also a public speaking session for those new to debate and a coaches clinic for coaches hoping to spend the summer fine tuning their skills.  Our camp canaccommodate those brand new to debate, with our special break-out sessions for new debaters, as well as experienced debaters with our tailored instruction which allows us to design an experience that targets the needs of all debaters.  The Patriot Debate Institute is open to high school as well as middle school students.”


One Week: Sunday, June 29 – Sunday, July 6

Two Week: Sunday, June 29 – Sunday, July 13

Three Week: Sunday, June 29 – Sunday, July 20

 Deadline to Apply: n/a, discounted price before May 15, 2014


One week resident (June 29-July 6) — $900, One week commuter (June 30-July 6) — $600

Two week resident (June 29-July 13) — $1400, Two week commuter (June 30-July 13) — $1000

 Three week resident (June 29-July 20) — $1700, Three week resident (June 30-July 19) — $1200

Practice Rounds:

Topics Covered: Look at past camp lectures and outlines here. 2013 PF Camp was structured as follows:

1st Week—the students went over the basic components of Public Forum Debate (speech order, rebuttal and refutation, etc), case-writing, cross-fire, and final-focus strategies. For practice debates, we used the Stem Cell topic.

2nd Week—the students focused heavily on research skills and writing topic briefs. For practice debates, we used the domestic wiretapping and surveillance topic.

Thoughts: GMU is in its third year now, and

Contact: For more information, read the FAQ page or email the camp director. In order to apply please email Kristie Cramer at


International Summer Debate Camp, Cornell University Ithaca, NY

“The Cornell International Summer Debate Camp is two weeks of intense instruction for high school students interested in learning the fundamentals of argumentation and debate. Skills learned will be useful in a variety of competitive formats and styles with instruction encompassing several debate formats. World Schools, British Parliamentary, and Public Forum are taught in detail.

Our staff is made up of internationally recognized debate experts, Cornell faculty, and Cornell students who represent Cornell in national and international competition. Students will not only learn about debate, but will also have the opportunity to be taught by members of Cornell University’s faculty. Topics focused in the past include; nanotechnology, genetically modified crops, prisons and punishment, and hydraulic fracturing.

Students will also compete in an in house tournament aimed at helping students apply their skills.”

Dates: July 27-August 7, 2014

Deadline to Apply: n/a

Price: $4,500

Practice Rounds: In camp tournament at the end guaranteed

Topics Covered: n/a

Thoughts: This camp will build general skills in argumentation. This looks like a debate “experience” camp rather than a Public Forum camp. If you are looking for a cool and interesting camp, I would go to Cornell. If you are looking for an intensive Public Forum experience I would look into programs that are specific to PF debate. The price is also rather high even compared to other expensive camps.

Contact: Leah Salgado @




One thought on “Public Forum Debate Summer Camps: East

  1. “As a Newbie, I am continuously searching online for articles that can benefit me. Thank you”

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