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This has been my first year debating, and I think that over the course of this year I've improved quite a bit. I'm looking for a summer camp to go to, and I've already been accepted to ENDI, SDI, and University of Michigan, and am applying to Northwestern as well. Can people who've been to any of these camps give some advice on the pros and/or cons of each, like what do they focus on, etc.? Thanks! 

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you should look at their websites. However there are some camps that you have left off of your list. Gonzaga and Dartmouth have some amazing camps that I would highly recommend. Missouri State also has a very fairly priced camp for what youre getting. 

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SDI has the largest 2nd year debate camp in the country, and with fairly good reason.  In contrast to many other camps their main coaches instruct in the 2nd year lab (for full disclosure I have instructed their before).  Gonzaga has also tried to commit substantially good talent to this lab level in a similar vein.  You have named some good camps, but always remember a camp is only as good as the lab leaders that you have.  Obviously, the experience you receive from an experienced and proven coach versus a college debater who hasn't necessarily committed their life (or have much experience yet) with coaching others is vastly different.  The bottom line advice is you can't compare camp vs. camp you have to compare the type of lab you expect to be in, or the lab leaders who are instructing at that level.  

 

A final example, the top 3 or 4 Michigan 7 week labs (mixed between juniors and seniors) have won a huge number of tournaments (as evidenced by their banner), but some of their 3 or 4 week labs should be compared on a lab by lab basis to other camps.

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I'm going to echo what Ross G (aka South-X) said above.

 

But largely again--Ross G. is speaking from knowledge/experience etc....he's going to have probably better knowledge across camps than almost anyone on Cross-x.

 

Re: Mo State.  

 

In my opinion--not an option at all--3 reasons:

 

1. I think Mo. State is largely considered a low ranking 3rd or 4th tier camp.

 

2. Also, where are you going to want to go to college?  Any of the camps you mentioned before--not Mo. State.  

 

3. It has between 3 and 4 faculty according to the website.  Most other camps have 8 to 16.  You're not going to get enough exposure to different styles of debate from that size of camp or staff.

 

Plus Cam Carlson above has an incentive to get more people at Mo State--given that he goes there.

 

I don't know what the state of things are now.....but if you are pretty motivated....I would stay away from Emory.  I think they have a great program & respect their staff a great deal.  Thats just my bias.

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Woah, yes I have incentive to get people to go to MSDI. However I named two other camps that are very competitive. Im not at all trying to "plug" Missouri State or sway their opinions to not go to another camp inorder to come to MSDI I simply said that it was fairly priced for what you are getting. Which I think is accurate given the names that have been there in the past. 

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Woah, yes I have incentive to get people to go to MSDI. However I named two other camps that are very competitive. Im not at all trying to "plug" Missouri State or sway their opinions to not go to another camp inorder to come to MSDI I simply said that it was fairly priced for what you are getting. Which I think is accurate given the names that have been there in the past. 

I went to MSDI 2 Week (don't ask me who I am, I won't tell), and it was not worth the money. Although it is cheaper, the quality is not sufficient for a debate camp.

 

1) Although website says the camp focuses on practice debates, the debates are generally not well administered the post-round critiques aren't great.

2) The amount of learning at MSDI is minimal, and the education you do get is pretty elementary- not for the advanced debaters or 2nd year+. 

3) The college debaters that semi-help with the camp blow it off and don't treat it seriously. That nulls the experience of having good debaters teach you.

4) MSU isn't the prettiest campus.

5) Compared to other camps in the midwest, like Jayhawk, Northwestern, SDI, and Kentucky, MSDI is pretty low-ranking and insufficient.

 

However, MSDI is great for lay debating, if that is what you're looking for. That is what the camp is kind of based on, to improve MO debating. But overall, not that worth it.

 

Go SDI or UMich

 

MSDI SUCKS!

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<blockquote class='ipsBlockquote'data-author="nathan_debate" data-cid="868212" data-time="1362029010"><p>

I would stay away from Emory. I think they have a great program & respect their staff a great deal. Thats just my bias.</p></blockquote>

 

Why not Emory?

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Also, I've narrowed it down to sdi and northwestern, although I'm still open to other options. I really want to focus on the k, are those two camps very kritikal at all, and does anyone have any more advice / opinions on these camps? 

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I would stay away from Emory. I think they have a great program & respect their staff a great deal. Thats just my bias.</p></blockquote>

 

Why not Emory? 

 

Debating with a significant portion of UDL debates/debaters is going to skew debate in certain ways.   For many of those attendees Emory may have been their only camp or they have been to Emory multiple years.  I entails some  assumptions on my part in 2 or 3 respects.

 

Based on my assumptions you will likely get more competitive rounds & learning insights (debate-wise) from your peers at other institutes.

 

1. They tend to only get their staff from Emory--or the great majority.  I think this decreases diversity.

 

2. I think other camps do a better job of balancing the high school coach versus debater in their pool.

 

I have a great respect for their coaches, debaters, and the school itself.

 

It probably also has to do with the nature of the camp.  Camps that work with sophomores aren't probably going to get as much love--because they aren't necessarily ready to be juniors & seniors.  

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Debating with a significant portion of UDL debates/debaters is going to skew debate in certain ways.   For many of those attendees Emory may have been their only camp or they have been to Emory multiple years.  I entails some  assumptions on my part in 2 or 3 respects.

Seriously? You shouldn't attend a camp because they give scholarships for UDL? Maybe we should also stop letting UDL kids compete at regular tournaments. We wouldn't want them diluting the gene pool competition. 

Emory doesn't have a very significant portion of UDL debaters anyway. I went the 4wk camp 2 years ago, and the overwhelming majority of the debaters there were from Chattahoochee, John's Creek and Westminster. All of these should be sufficiently rich, white and elitist for your standards. 

 

Based on my assumptions you will likely get more competitive rounds & learning insights (debate-wise) from your peers at other institutes.

 

1. They tend to only get their staff from Emory--or the great majority.  I think this decreases diversity.

I'm pretty sure most camps do this. They did have a couple non-Emory coaches (Maggie Berthiume and Will Mosley-Jensen) last year, but I'm not sure why this is super important anyways. James Herndon and Nick Miller both coach for Emory, but they hardly have the same philosophy about debate (Nick Miller is much more kritical). 

2. I think other camps do a better job of balancing the high school coach versus debater in their pool.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. The 2 wk camp had a 50-50 split, one coach and one debater in each lab. The 4 wk camp was 2/3 coaches, and 6 wk was 3/4 coaches. Are you saying they should have more debaters?

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Does anyone have any more advice / opinions on Northwestern or SDI? 

 

I've also been looking at Xylum, and I really like it. Can anybody that's been weigh in on it? I'm also looking to go to Georgetown in conjunction to Xylum, so can anyone give me some feedback on GDS as well? 

 

So my two choices are either: 

 

SDI or Northwestern

or

Xylum + Georgetown 

 

Which one, and why? 

Thanks guys! 

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I'm going to echo what Ross G (aka South-X) said above.

 

But largely again--Ross G. is speaking from knowledge/experience etc....he's going to have probably better knowledge across camps than almost anyone on Cross-x.

 

Re: Mo State.  

 

In my opinion--not an option at all--3 reasons:

 

1. I think Mo. State is largely considered a low ranking 3rd or 4th tier camp.

 

2. Also, where are you going to want to go to college?  Any of the camps you mentioned before--not Mo. State.  

 

3. It has between 3 and 4 faculty according to the website.  Most other camps have 8 to 16.  You're not going to get enough exposure to different styles of debate from that size of camp or staff.

 

Plus Cam Carlson above has an incentive to get more people at Mo State--given that he goes there.

 

I don't know what the state of things are now.....but if you are pretty motivated....I would stay away from Emory.  I think they have a great program & respect their staff a great deal.  Thats just my bias.

 

 

A final example, the top 3 or 4 Michigan 7 week labs (mixed between juniors and seniors) have won a huge number of tournaments (as evidenced by their banner), but some of their 3 or 4 week labs should be compared on a lab by lab basis to other camps.

 

As with any camp you will get out of MSDI what you put into it. It has a very heavy emphasis on practice rounds and research. My guess is that the individual that came to MSDI and thinks it "sucks" was not very motivated and wasted a fair amount of the time that he or she spent on our campus.  

 

Also, this campus is beautiful and this town is my home.

 

As for Nathan my guess would be that he has not attended MSDI or even met a Missouri State debater. I attended MSDI for three years as a highschooler along with numerous other highly successful debaters such as NFL semifinalist Nick Ramsey, NFL top speaker Samantha Nichols, and a wreck of people who later found themselves in the out-rounds of CEDA and the NDT .  What makes us a third or fourth tier camp in the mind of Dr. Nathan_debate is that we are not so pretentious as to exclude debaters with little experience but a strong desire to learn from our camp (unlike some of the others mentioned here).

 

I’m not sure what Nathan’s second point means but I’m going to take it as either a dig on the program that I debated for and now coach or on the institution from which I earned my degree. I want to set the record straight on both of these points.  Missouri State is one of the most successful college debate programs in the country our pedigree is available on the Missouri State website but I will share some of the finer points here:

 

We have qualified teams to the National Debate tournament every year for 18 consecutive years. I don’t know what your knowledge of college debate is but in D3 that is an impressive accomplishment.  In total we have qualified 49 teams to the NDT.

 

Missouri State has qualified teams to the out-rounds of the National Debating Tournament for 8 consecutive years.

 

Missouri State has received 3 first-round at large bids to the NDT in recent history: 2006, 2008, and 2010.

 

In 2008 Missouri State debater Martin Osborn was one of the few, if not only, debaters to be named top speaker at both CEDA and the NDT.  

 

We have also had 49 teams in the out-rounds of CEDA nationals. Barring death or dismemberment I expect that we will increase that number this year.

 

These are just a few of the highlights. I haven’t mentioned things like CEDA championships and finals appearances but that information is available elsewhere. I want to talk a little bit about the quality of education at Missouri State but it has just occurred to me how much time I’ve wasted when I should be preparing for the NDT. If you are interested in attending MSDI or Missouri State I’m happy to provide you with information about what are recent alumni are doing now. I think you will be impressed. By all means go to whatever camp you want but while you are there ask your lab leaders and camp directors about all of the times they lost to Eric Morris, Jeff Jarman, Heather Walters, Tom Black, Tom Strong, LeeAnn Van Winkel, Martin Osborn, Jordan “Jumbles†Foley, Mike “At-large†Kearney, Clay Webb (gig em), Katie Frederick, Jeff Bess, and Wes Rumbaugh.

 

The truth of the matter is that it does not matter where you go to camp. Work harder. Act like a winner. Debate like a bear.

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One final inaccuracy to clear up based on a gross misreading of the MSDI website. Our faculty last year included:

 

Dr. Eric Morris (Director of Debate)

Dr. Heather Walters (Assistant Director of Debate)

Martin Osborn (NDT and CEDA top speaker)

Mike Kearney (NDT First-Round)

Jordan Foley (NDT First Round)

Wes Rumbaugh (CEDA Quarterfinalist)

Jace Gilmore (CEDA Quarterfinalist, 4 time NDT Qualifier)

Katie Frederick (CEDA Quarterfinalist)

Kristen Stout (CEDA Outrounds, Greenwood Lab School Assistant Coach)

Samantha Nichols (NFL Top Speaker)

Jeff Bess (Missouri State High School Champion)

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Does anyone have any more advice / opinions on Northwestern or SDI? 

 

I've also been looking at Xylum, and I really like it. Can anybody that's been weigh in on it? I'm also looking to go to Georgetown in conjunction to Xylum, so can anyone give me some feedback on GDS as well? 

 

So my two choices are either: 

 

SDI or Northwestern

or

Xylum + Georgetown 

 

Which one, and why? 

Thanks guys! 

I went to georgetown my soph year, id say the sophomore lab was exceptional compared to some other sophomore labs, but idk how useful it would be to go to georgetown and xylum, there would be large differences in how the topic was taught im guessing

 

northwestern also has a really good second year lab but i'd say go to SDI -- they always tend to churn out the most top-notch debaters out of their sophomore lab and its good for competition, etc.

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Does anyone have any more advice / opinions on Northwestern or SDI? 

 

I've also been looking at Xylum, and I really like it. Can anybody that's been weigh in on it? I'm also looking to go to Georgetown in conjunction to Xylum, so can anyone give me some feedback on GDS as well? 

 

So my two choices are either: 

 

SDI or Northwestern

or

Xylum + Georgetown 

 

Which one, and why? 

Thanks guys! 

If you choose the 2nd option, I guess I'll be seeing you, I'm doing that exact same thing.

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If you want to be policy Northwestern is the way to go. If you want to study the k go to xylum.  On MSDI debate i had martin osborn as my lab leader last summer and he was great.

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I went to GDS last year going into my Junior year. I loved every minute of it. The staff were incredible and helped me become a vastly better debater. My lab had a mix of Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors so you get a wide array of skills that help you grow. Also last year they ended up having one lab that was more straight up and one that was more kritical so you can request whichever lab leaders you want. If you end up going there I would suggest taking advantage of everything they have to offer by doing things like going to after lab every night and making sure you do redos. The only con that I can remember at GDS was that the labs were pretty large (we didn't have enough chairs) and we sometimes had RAs judging debates who didn't really want to be there. At the same time I have friends who did GDS with SDI and loved to combination, and NW has a great sophomore lab and an overall great program. Wherever you go you're going to get much better.

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If you're looking to diversify or specialize in argumentation, you should consider the DDI. At Dartmouth, the instructors not only cover the range of specialities, but students are exposed to all parts of debate as a result of preparing strategies against every affirmative a lab writes and preparing to debate students. it's a real life experience modeling what you have to do at a tournament.

 

Specialization occurs in a few ways that are now modeled by other camps

1. We are a largely elective based system. If you want to sign up for 14 electives about kritiks, you can. Our instructors include Michael Antonucci (the first coach to have a team wint he NDT on a K) and kritikal experts like Dylan Quigley and Sean Kennedy (their lab has been hotly requested by students in late elims of Harvard, TOC, etc who are largely "kritikal" debaters).

 

2. Each lab chooses and researches their own affirmatives. You get to decide what aff you want to work on (what neg, what K, everything) and research that. your lab leaders will help you work on it, but so will the entirety of the staff.  We also have a leading expert on Latino Studies and identity who will be there for weeks to give guest lectures and help students research their files.

 

3. Many, many, many practice speeches & rounds.  You're guaranteed over 20 debates with feedback, plus dozens of speeches with feedback and redos.  If you want to improve at any style of debate, practice is key - and you'll get high level feedback on your practice speeches and a chance to redo it until it's perfect.

 

DDI is almost full, but let me know if you have any questions.

Nicole - nicole.serrano@gmail.com

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