On top of the skills that I learned and knowledge that I gained from camp, the best thing I took from my time at debate camps are the friends I made along the way. At camp, you’re surrounded by other kids who have similar interests, passions, and hobbies. These fellow debaters will be along your side for those two weeks and throughout the seasons to come. That’s why for me, whether it was in person or online, the relationships I’ve made during those two weeks have stuck with me even after high school.
Even better, the friends made at camp will strive you to improve. When surrounded by other students who are also striving to become the best debaters they can be, it creates an inclusive culture of group collaboration and openness. Out of lab time and instruction, I found myself lots of times discussing squirrely arguments or possible in-round strategies with my fellow lab mates and friends that I met during lectures or mentor groups. Huddling over our computers late into the night as we tried to find the best evidence for a new “meta-changing” argument, not only improved my research skills, but also created great memories while we joked and laughed our way into the night.
These memories like many others have made me realize that debate camp is the best of both worlds. It combines the academic benefits of summer programs, with the fun, active environment of a traditional summer camp. One minute I would be knee deep into a hectic rebuttal, and only a little later I’d find myself playing basketball with fellow staffers and students alike. Debate camp embodies the idea of work hard, play hard. We all come there to improve and gear up for our upcoming seasons of debate, but weaved in between the lectures and drills are lifelong memories and experiences that you’ll make every step of the way.