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What distinguishes Classic Debate Camp from other summer debate programs?

  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 traditional states and districts. 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, on-going community where debaters and coaches form authentic, lasting relationships with each other.

Eleven Skills Students Develop 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

  9. How to Think Strategically about a Debate Round

  10. What It Takes to Become a Champion Debater 

  11. How to Compete in Online and In-Person Tournaments


*The LD labs will focus one of the possible resolutions for the 2023-2024 season, and the PF labs will focus on one of the options for the September-October topic. Note that 7 out of 7 times the LD camp topic turned out to be a topic that was debated during the following season. The January-February 2023 topic was the topic we did last summer! 

What to Expect When You Come to CDC


  1. Low student-to-instructor ratio. In 2022, we had a ratio better than 4 campers to 1 instructor. Our average lab consisted of 10 students and 3 instructors. This ratio ensures that each camper receives lots of close instruction that is tailored to their 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 try them out in actual debate rounds. After instructors critique rounds, they tailor subsequent teaching and training to the specific needs of each student. Campers build on their experience in each round and see dramatic improvement from their first practice round to 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. Students have the opportunity to choose from an array of elective workshops offered by instructors. Past electives included:

  • 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 Your Debate Team?

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