Accepting All Experience Levels

At Capitol Debate, our mission is to help youth find their voice. Through the practice of debate, we help middle school and high school students gain valuable skills, including leadership, independence, critical thinking, and communication — preparing them for their academic and professional careers.

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Absolutely. Our program is designed for all types of students. In fact, it's often the shy and more timid students who get the most out of their first summer with Capitol Debate. We teach them the skills they need to get past social anxieties and become confident, independent leaders. Our Senior Instructors have combined hundreds of years of experience motivating, inspiring, and educating students in the art of debate.
Capitol Debate's instructors have an average of 15 to 30 years of pedagogical experience in the classroom. Many have coached national champions!
Our summer programs provide a life-changing experience with the perfect balance of learning and fun. When surveying our parents we hear time and time again how much growth their students experience as well as how much fun they had while learning. Don't take our word for it, click on the video to watch these testimonies first hand.
Capitol Debate summer programs offer a challenging curriculum that teaches students of all ages and experience levels the skills of debate. They will learn how to research a topic, analyze findings, develop presentation outlines, argue a topic through public speaking, work with peers and so much more! In addition to these hard skills, debate program teaches soft skills as well, including leadership, collaboration, and independence.
Absolutely! Capitol Debate offers specific labs within each of our programs that cater to students who have no exposure to debate, as well as those with many years of experience. Our debate programs are for all middle school and high school students, regardless of experience. We group students of similar age and ability so they can enjoy the experience together and learn from one another. As students progress in their debate skills, they'll work with teams and face opponents of similar abilities, so they're continually learning and growing. Additionally, our curriculum is designed to be progressive, so returning students will not be exposed to the same material, they will be placed in a more advanced lab.
Our curriculum is progressive so each year a student returns, we will build upon their current skill level to help them continue to grow and develop their skills.
Our campers will cover a vast amount of topics with your student, from international relations, economics to even ethics. They will engage in practice debate, practice speeches, and even video debate. During the final week, our students will introduce a more extensively researched topic. Your student will be focusing on researching, writing cases, and preparing for the final two-day tournament where they cover this topic alone in their debates.
We recommend your student brings comfortable weather-appropriate clothing that is comfortable to move around in. We also recommend them bringing a jacket, even if the location is hot, the classrooms do have air conditioning, and it can get cold. Your student will need academic tools, such as a notebook, pens, pencils, and a laptop. Your student can also bring something for their talent show experience. For example, a flute or a violin. Please see our packing list for recommendations of all the things your student will need this summer.
The gender breakdown depends on each camp, but typically we achieve an approximate 50:50 ratio of girls to boys. You can rest assured that your child will be living (in the case of residential students) and learn among his or her peers in a safe, secure environment.
For residential and commuter summer program attendees we accept rising 6th graders to Seniors. If attending any of the day camps we accept rising 6th grade through rising 9th grade except at Loyola Graduate Center has a Public Speaking Program for Rising 4th and 5th graders.
Capitol Debate meets or exceeds the maximum requirements set forth by the American Camp Association, the leading organization for residential and youth camps. We enforce strict policies regarding housing, health and medical care, field trips and transportation, and more. for Rising 4th and 5th graders.
State and federal background checks performed on all staff Adult dorm directors present. Extensive safety training required for all staff Key-coded access required to enter buildings, Residential advisors, on every floor Students required to remain in groups Students not permitted to wander alone or leave campus Attendance is taken at every class to ensure students' safe arrival.
Any medical needs including allergies (food or otherwise) will be provided to our staff before the student arrives at Capitol Debate. The nurse at camp will collect any / all medications during registration and will administer the student medications at camp during the prescribed times.
We strongly encourage all students to attend each activity of our summer program as it helps to develop friendships, trust, and community. If there is a specific family need for the child to miss any part of the camp, this should be arranged on a case by case basis with our operations staff.