NSD's two-week online summer debate camp for middle and high school students focused on Lincoln-Douglas (LD) debate.
July 24 - Aug 4
Mon-Fri: 10am-6pm (EST)
Click here to learn more about our response to Covid-19.
Our online LD camp is taught by the same championship coaches and former debaters who teach at our in-person sessions.
Receive live, small group instruction optimized for online learning. We prioritize keeping students active, engaged, and working collaboratively.
NSD's online camp gives campers flexibility to rigorously train debate-specific skills while still prioritizing other summer activities.
We pride ourselves on providing personalized attention and interactive education for each NSD camper and ensure a 4:1 student to teacher ratio.
I attended NSD's online camps. I made tons of friends all over the country that I still talk to every day. I've been to a couple of debate camps but NSD is my favorite because of how much 1 on 1 debate tutoring and advice I was able to get from my instructors, which is so unique to NSD.
Sophia Schier | NSD
Online Camp Alumni
Each NSD camp is built on a core set of values. Our Online LD curriculum is designed with remote learning in mind. With smaller groups and an emphasis on interactive, student-owned learning, students leave camp with a strong foundation in the debate skills that will enable them to excel in debate at the local, regional, and national level. Each student learns and rigorously prepares a camp topic, selected from the slate of upcoming topics for debate during the season, while refining debate skills and exploring academic fields relevant to our topic. Students learn our core curriculum, engage in structured practice activities, receive mentorship, and participate in practice rounds, all in small group, active learning environments.
NSD Executive Director
Swarthmore | U. Chicago
NSD Online Director
Executive Director of FlexDebate
Students are grouped into labs based on experience level, which we assess by gathering information prior to camp, and these groups form the heart of the NSD experience. All NSD labs maintain a 1:4 instructors to student ratio, to enable an active, small group collaborative environment. NSD treats all students as equally important by assuring individualized attention to each and appointing veteran national circuit instructors to work in every lab. Each lab is led by both senior and junior faculty members. Labs focus on developing and leading students through a robust lifecycle of skill development that emphasizes repetition, implementation and skill mastery.
Rather than teach our core curriculum through large group lectures, we supplement daily lab meetings with additional instruction from specialist faculty who rotate in to teach in lab. Rotations consist of three 2-hour blocks of time (one a day for three days) during which labs receive instruction on specialized topics by two instructors who are experts in those topic areas. Rotations capture the benefits of large group lectures (introducing students to new staff, and allowing the staff to speak on their strongest topics), but retain the unique benefits of lab (hands on instruction, small size, and the ability to effectively and immediately reinforce topics with drills and homework).
Each student is assigned a mentor group, with one faculty mentor and a total of four students. Mentor groups meet almost daily for the duration of camp, so that mentors can track students’ progress and needs over the course of camp. This creates a terrific environment for students to receive a specific curriculum tailored to each individual student’s needs and interests. In mentor group, students receive customized drills, ask questions they have from other parts of their curricular day, and work on research projects and case construction.
All students attending NSD have practice debates on most days, judged by our expert instructors, who provide extensive round feedback on what students should do to improve. Some of these rounds will occur in the annual NSD Camp Tournament, which provides a competitive opportunity for students to showcase the skills they have learned over camp.
We end most days with office hours, modeled on the office hour system used by many colleges and universities. During office hours, all of our faculty are available to meet with students individually (or in small groups, if they prefer), and students are empowered to select the topics for each of their office hours meetings. This makes office hours an excellent opportunity for students to learn more about topics that interest them, develop new skills, receive assistance on homework, and do structured practice by redoing speeches from rounds they have debated or by having instructors create custom drills calibrated to their needs.
In elective seminars, students learn about niche topics–from debate strategy to philosophy to political theory–from specialist instructors. Students choose from a wide range of elective seminar options, so they can attend the seminars that most interest them.
Students have the opportunity to practice and showcase their new skills in a supportive, educational environment with our end of camp tournament. All students participate in preliminary rounds, and students who perform well also participate in elimination rounds, which also serve as showcase demonstration debates for all students to watch.
Students watch demonstration debates on the camp resolution from our younger faculty, many of whom were recently nationally top ranked debate competitors. Demonstration rounds are moderated by senior faculty, who break down the round with students in-between speeches, answer student questions, and provide a post-round analysis.
With any camp registration, students receive free access to NSD’s Skill Builder pre-camp curriculum. Skill Builder features stand-alone curriculum modules intended for independent study, built by top faculty. At camp, we want our students focused on the most valuable aspects of our sessions: intensive, interactive instruction that amplifies and deepens students’ existing skill sets and builds new ones, learning deep skills in specialty areas from top faculty, and participating in a supportive learning community with peers. Skill Builder helps students solidify background skills ahead of camp, so students can focus on what matters most while they are at camp.
These debate veterans bring in-depth experience from past tournaments to the classroom, providing invaluable insights that maximize your potential. NSD's instructors are dedicated to providing personalized feedback to help you build confidence with key concepts and skills.
• 10am - 6pm: Core Curriculum
• 7:30pm - 10pm: Optional Supplemental Sessions
**All times are in EST
10:00am - 12:00pm
12:00pm - 1:00pm
1:00pm - 3:00pm
3:00pm - 4:30pm
4:30pm - 6:00pm
6:00pm - 7:00pm
7:00pm - 8:00pm
8:00pm - 9:00pm
9:00pm - 10:30pm
Lab Office Hours
If you are unable to attend camp for the full duration due to conflict in schedule, please contact us about attending camp for a subset of time. We are committed to providing low-income students with access to our camp programs through need-based scholarships. If you are interested in applying for financial aid, please view our scholarships page.