i went to cal as a novice and honestly was one of the best experiences ive ever had. we had 4 labs of around 12-20 depending on what lab youre in (advanced, intermediate, kritikal, and novice). theres not too many top top teams even in the top lab so they dont really go super in depth into high theory and k stuff but the more traditional policy oriented approach is a good foundation to esp for 1st years. i know my lab (adv) spent a lot of time on f/w, theory, ptx in particular. the staff is very diverse and collectively have so much knowledge about pretty much every aspect of debate. I have friends that were in the intermediate lab who worked one-on-one with a v successful college debater to cut a really good mid passage neg and on the capk. the camp tournament wasn't particularly hard so it makes good pre-season practice and a good learning experience (i had friends who went to ddi as 1st years and went 0 in camp tourney). another added bonus for oging to cal is that a lot of the staff will judge in tournaments during the season in california (winter classic, fullerton, meadows, notre dame/harvard westlake, and cal invite) so thats a huge advantage if you develop good relations with them and pref them later on.
aside from the debate aspect, the camp is superr super fun. i didnt know anyone at the beginning of the 3 weeks but i made so many good friends that im still in close contact with and that i still see at tournaments. the campus is lovely, foods great. people are great and its not super intensive like some other camps so you can still have a summer!!!
overall id def recommend cal as #1 option for 1st year debaters. i know someone who did sdi 2 week but didnt learn that much... my friends who went to snfi 3 week said it was good but i think for optimal education and fun cal is the one to go with.
hope this helps!!