What makes the CDC curriculum different from what other camps teach?

  1. We seek Victory with Virtue. We teach students to pursue victory with virtue, not victory at any cost. We help students to develop the character, insightfulness, and eloquence to succeed in life as well as in high school debate.

  2. We know what works in Ohio and other traditional states. We teach only the traditional style of Lincoln-Douglas debate. We believe that Public Forum debate should remain true to its original purpose: to be accessible to both the layperson and the debate coach.

  3. We engage with diversity. We see the diversity of our staff - in thought and in background - as a vital strength. We actively welcome students of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, economic classes, and religions.

  4. We are a real community. We are an inclusive, tight-knit, and on-going community where debaters and coaches form authentic, lasting relationships with each other. 

What Defines the CDC Experience?


  1. Low student-to-faculty ratio. In 2020, we had at total of 71 students and 27 instructors, a ratio better than 3 to 1. This ratio ensures that each camper receives lots of close instruction that is tailored to his/her particular needs.

  2. Supportive lab groups focused on building skills and friendships. There is an ideal mix of lectures, lab group work, and practice rounds - followed by the camp tournament. The crucial link is the lab group, which acts as a camper's home within the camp, a safe and supportive space to develop new skills. Students leave Classic Debate Camp with a set of skills that will help them to succeed at the local, state, and national level - skills that they can also pass on to their teammates during the school year. On top of that, students leave camp with new friends and mentors that they can stay in contact with throughout the coming season and beyond. 

  3. Practice rounds followed by constructive feedback. Students take their new skills and implement them in actual debate rounds. After instructors observe and critique rounds, they tailor subsequent teaching and training to the specific needs of each student. The expectation is that campers will build on their experience in each round and see dramatic improvement between their first practice round and their final round in the camp tournament. 

  4. An emphasis on good-spirited competition. During all practice rounds and during the camp tournament, students are expected to compete with intensity, but also with respect for each other. Students are discouraged from being overly aggressive or speaking in a hostile tone of voice. Instead, they are encouraged to develop a calm, professional, and positive style of delivery that conveys poise and confidence and also appeals to all kinds of judges.

  5. Electives. Every day, students have the opportunity to choose from an array of elective workshops offered by instructors. Past electives include:

  • The Art of Weighing

  • Debate as a Game of Chess: Strategic Thinking in the Context of a PF Round

  • The Art of Adaptation: How to Increase Your Appeal to Judges

  • Rebuttal Rehearsal: The Keys to Giving a Winning Speech

  • Neutralize Progressive LD Debaters

  • Perfect Your Presentation through Effective Practice

  • Win Your Crossfires

  • Turning Your Debate Training into Activism

  • So You Want to Be the Captain of the Debate Team?

Eleven Debate Skills and Topics Students Will Learn at CDC


  1. How to Analyze a Resolution*

  2. Case Construction and Persuasive Writing

  3. Research and Managing Evidence

  4. Public Speaking and Nonverbal Communication

  5. Essential Philosophy for Lincoln-Douglas Debate

  6. How to Win Cross-Examinations and Crossfires

  7. How to Develop and Deliver Strong Rebuttal Speeches

  8. Word Economy: How to Say a Lot Without Speaking Too Fast in the Summary Speech or the 1AR

  9. How to Think Strategically about a Debate Round

  10. What It Takes to Become a Champion Debater 

  11. How to Compete Successfully in Online Tournaments


*The LD labs will focus one of the possible resolutions for the 2021-2022 season, and the PF labs will focus on one of the  options for the September-Oct topic.


Note that the LD resolution for January-February 2021  was the topic we did at camp last summer.