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Signups for Summer 2020 will be available in December 2019, so check back! Until then, take a look at our 2019 offerings

What can Speech & Debate do for your summer?

Public speaking is the number one fear among U.S. adults. Our society is at record high levels of distrust between groups, with people feeling more and more like civil discourse is declining. We're here to fix that.

Speech and debate teaches vital skills to young people, including public speaking and communication, speech writing, research, and logical argumentation both for and against a diverse array of topics. Some of the skills we teach, like civic engagement, self-advocacy, and mentoring, may be less obvious but are still incredibly important.

But it isn't all work! Speech and debate also forges lifelong bonds between students, and it's tons of fun!


Who can attend?

We take students who will be entering grade 3 all the way up to rising freshmen!

Students will be split into up by age (Grade 3-5, Grade 6-7, Grade 8-9) and experience level (Beginner and Advanced). The Advanced group is open to students with previous speech and debate camp enrollments and/or competitive experience. We encourage students who have tournament experience to sign up for the Advanced group.

 How do I know which level to sign up for?

Don't worry! Just tell us your grade and what kind of speech and debate experience you have, and we'll assign you to a group. If, after the first day, it seems like a different group might be a better fit for you, we'll move you.

Who will be teaching the camp?

Our outstanding high school competitors will run the Learning Labs, which are smaller subsections of each age and skill group, with an expected student-to-teacher ratio of 8:1 or less. MVLASD's own adult coaches will be on site to keep things running smoothly.

How much does it cost?

Our Grade 3-9 single week camp costs $250 per student, with a late fee of $50 for entries after June 1. Walk-on registration (if space is available) is $350. Check when registration first opens for early bird discounts!

Where does my money go?

MVLASD is a registered nonprofit with the state of California. All funds that do not go directly toward covering the cost of the camp go toward defraying coaching and competition costs. MVLA Speech and Debate supports approximately 160 high school students and 50 middle school students in the Mountain View-Los Altos District and its feeder schools. On average, it costs around $500 in personnel costs and tournament registration fees to support a speech and debate student annually. This “average student” dedicates an amount of work roughly equivalent to a high school course. For a highly competitive student, who might compete three out of the four weekends of each month, costs quickly compound into thousands of dollars each year.

My family cannot afford the cost of entry. How do we qualify for scholarships, and how much is available?

Our standard method of assessing need is to consider whether families qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. If you believe you have a different piece of documentation that demonstrates need, please contact the Head Coach. We can offer cost reductions of up to 90% depending on circumstances.

What does a typical day at camp look like?

Campers receive instruction in their age and skill groups on topics such as writing original speeches, interpreting the work of others as a performance, delivery skills, logic of argumentation, and more. We focus on skills associated with persuasive, original and interpretive speeches in the morning, and skills associated with argumentation and debate in the afternoon. Advanced campers work within the boundaries of competitive speech and debate events available to students attending secondary school in California. Activities with younger students are focused more on skill-building games, while students in advanced groups learn drills used by active competitors.

Camps for younger students run from 9 am to 4 pm. We have a 30-minute snack and group game break in the morning and the afternoon, as well as a one-hour lunch. These breaks help our campers bond with their lab-mates, as well as give them time to burn off energy.

Our last camp day is a little different--we set aside the whole day to let students experience what tournament is like by running multiple rounds of competition for both speech and debate events. For this day, it is important that students not have to leave campus for a period, and that they arrive on time!

Will you provide food for the campers?

We provide morning and afternoon snacks. If a student qualifies for a scholarship or has another specific reason they need lunch provided, please let us know in advance so we can make arrangements.

I have been placed on the waitlist. What does that mean?

This may mean we have not yet received your payment. If you believe you have payed, check for a receipt. It may also mean we have reached our current capacity for enrollment, based on space availability and instructors. We will notify you if we are able to secure additional space and/or instructors, or if other enrolled students drop out, we will notify you that you have been moved in to the camp if you have already paid the cost of entry. If you have paid the cost of entry, we will refund the full amount to you if your child is not accepted into the camp. Contact the Head Coach for more information.

We signed up but can no longer attend. How do refunds work?

We offer full refunds via check through April 1. Between April 1 and June 1, we offer a 50% refund. After June 1, fees are forfeited.

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