FAQs

Our goal is to enrich the lives of students through public speaking and debate. To do that, we gather expert staff, with a diverse group of students, and select excellent facilities and locations to create fun, safe, and supportive environments.

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.

We believe there is no better investment in your child’s future than giving them the skills of leadership, teamwork and oral advocacy – and no other camp in the nation that provides the experience and successful track record of Capitol Debate. We offer programs year-round and throughout the country for students of all levels of experience.

Read through our Debate Camp FAQs below for more information about our academic summer programs. If you still have more questions, click the following link to Request Information or call today at 800.450.5012.

Camp Curriculum

What can I expect summer debate camp to be like?

Our summer camp 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 experienced 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.

What will my child learn at your debate camp?

Capitol Debate summer camp 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 camp teaches soft skills as well, including leadership, collaboration, and independence.

My child has no debate experience. Will this program be suitable?

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 camps 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 ability, 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.

My child is very shy, is this a good program for that?

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.

My child has previous debate experience. How will this program help?

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.

Why and how do we assign debate partners?

Similar to other forms of competitive debate, Club Debate requires two debaters to a team. With this debate partner, students will write cases, build their strategy, and work together to build a working and cooperative relationship. While assigning a debate partner we follow three criteria. These criteria include, age, experience, and understanding the student's own personal working style. If there is a conflict with their partner, we work with the student to try and resolve the conflict first and foremost. If this doesn't work, we work with their lab leader or instructor to assist in conflict management.

What topics will my camper be covering during their time at camp?

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 campers 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.

What are the qualifications of your instructors?

Capitol Debate's instructors have an average of 15 to 30 years of pedagogical experience in the classroom. Many have coached national champions!

Camp Demographics & Logistics

What are the differences between the commuter and residential options?

The basic differences are that commuters will not:

  • Sleep in the dorms
  • Receive breakfast
  • Attend night time recreational activities after 7:00 p.m.
The impact is they miss out an "Enhanced Camp Experience." Students love sleeping in the dorms; they enjoy the sense of independence, they miss out on the conversations between students that continue during the evening. Residential students often form stronger bonds and find debate partners.

Is there a difference in cost between the commuter and residential options?

Yes. While the cost for our residential option is slightly higher than the commuter program, it's money well spent. That's because your child will spend time getting to know other students in his/her age group and gain the independence that only comes from residential camp.

What should my child pack for their stay at camp?

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, this includes, 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 at camp.

What is the gender breakdown of the kids attending camp?

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.

What is the age requirement to attend camp?

For residential and commuter summer camp attendee we accept rising 6th graders to Seniors. If attending any of the day camps our minimum age is a rising 4th grader.

What safety and supervision measures are in place?

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.

Our Safety Standards Include

What are your safety standards?

  • State and federal background checks performed on all staff
  • Adult dorm directors present 24/7
  • Full-time nurse at each camp
  • 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 taken at every class to ensure students' safe arrival

What if my child has food allergies and takes daily medication, will this be a problem?

Any medical needs including allergies (food or otherwise) will be provided to our staff before the student arrives at camp. The nurse at camp will collect any / all medications during registration and will administer the student medications at camp during the prescribed times.

Can my child come home for the weekend?

We strongly encourage all students to attend each activity of camp 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.

Accepting All Experience Levels

Capitol Debate is the nation’s leading expert in teaching communication skills to middle school and high school students. Our nationally recognized staff has hundreds of years of pedagogical experience in helping youth find their voice. Thousands of shy students have walked through our doors in our nearly 20 years of summer camps to become confident young adults and leaders in their community. Whether you are a middle school student or a high school student, brand new or have many years experience, we have a class for you. Students are placed in the right class based on their age and experience level.

The Capitol Advantage

Expert Staff

We have a group of accomplished educators who have taught and competed for years. Our instructors are on the leading edge of the debating & public speaking. Click here to view our full staff listing.

Top of the Line Curriculum

Our programs draw students from around the world because we focus on our resources year round to ensure that we can bring the best information to our students. Our curriculum focuses on theory and application to provide results that you will be able to see as they become better, more confident speakers.

Convenient Locations

Capitol Debate’s academic summer camps are spread across the United States, from East to West as well as internationally. With such a large number of location available you're bound to find the perfect camp location for you.

  • Low faculty to student ratio – Capitol Debate firmly believes in individualized instruction, which can only happen with small class sizes.
  • Personalized Instruction – Capitol Debate instructors give students hands-on instruction with researching, writing, speaking and organizing. After practice debates, instructors give students lengthy feedback to help them improve their skills.
  • Senior faculty oversee all classes – Unlike other debate camps, Capitol Debate’s instructors have an average of 15 to 30 years of pedagogical experience in the classroom. Many have coached national champions!
  • Practice, Practice, Practice – We make sure students are not just sitting in lectures, but instead are getting up and speaking every day and applying the lessons learned in a small group setting.

Ready to Give your Student the Experience of a Lifetime?

With over 40 camps in 2019, Capitol Debate will transform thousands of lives this year. Capitol Debate has a proven track record of producing champions & Ivy League scholars.

Find Your Camp Request Information