Information for First Time Parents

Information for First Time Parents of the GDS Debate Camp

I know there are a variety of summer camps, but is there really such a thing as a “debate camp”?

Yes! Debate programs, both live and online, run throughout the summer all over the country. There are online camps, day camps, and residential camps. Programs can last for a few days or for up to seven weeks. The large variety of options give families plenty of choices.


Is it really a camp?

The programs are called institutes, workshops, symposiums, seminars, and yes, camps.  Residential programs often provide students with recreational opportunities and sightseeing options. 


My student just told me that they NEED to go to debate camp this summer — will it really make a difference in their ability to succeed?

There is no doubt that an intensive summer program can make an enormous difference in a student’s skill development and knowledge base. The typical student in a good, two-week debate institute will get at least 112 hours of instruction and directed practice - that is almost two-thirds of a school year’s worth of instruction and practice in two weeks.

The REAL advantage of a summer debate camp is not just the instruction or practice time, it’s the diversity of instruction and peer interaction that promotes interest, challenge, and greater skill development than can happen in a school setting. Furthermore, the small lab settings at our debate camp allow for much more individual attention than a classroom teacher or school coach can provide. Finally, students in summer debate camp aren’t distracted by their other classes and responsibilities so they can focus on improving their debate skills as quickly as possible.


This will be my student’s first time away at a summer camp — what if they get homesick?

Every student is different and there is no guarantee that a student will not miss home. However, what we can guarantee is that students are encouraged to contact home reguarly throughout the course of the program, and that a strong adult support system is in place to give students attention as needed. Our small group settings mean we are aware of student needs, and that the new friends encountered can make even the most nervous student more comfortable.  Pictures are posted frequently on our social media pages so that you can have the opportunity to see your student in their surroundings. 


What is the supervision like?

Students start their mornings with roll call in labs. Should a student be late, dorm personnel would immediately be contacted to find the student. Roll call is also taken at each lab gathering and at each elective. Room checks are done each night by trained dorm personnel. 


What is there to eat?

A variety of healthy, locally produced food is available at every meal in the college cafeteria and is included as part of the institute registration fee.  Food is served in stations so students have many options. The professional food service personnel is well-versed in special dietary needs as well.  Other options exist in local eateries just a short walk away although these costs are not included in the registration fee.


Does my student need extra spending money?

Registration fees include three meals a day in the cafeteria (brunch and dinner only on weekends), all instruction, room and board, and transportation to and from the Colorado Springs airport (there is a $75 fee for pickup from the Denver airport). Students may want additional spending money to go the local shops, buy snacks or extra supplies in the campus store, eat out occasionally, etc. These decisions are up to individual families.


Can my student contact me during debate camp?

Yes!  We do ask that instruction time be respected and that communication with home be done during meal times and in the evenings. Of course, emergencies can be communicated immediately. Anything affecting your student’s emotional state should be shared with debate institute leaders so that we can best support your student.


We live in the area — is there a commuter option?

There is a commuter option and we understand that this may be the only way that debate institute is affordable for some families. However, we urge you to talk about any concerns you have that are making you consider that option so that we can have a chance to address them. Commuting students will miss important bonding with peers and individual meeting time with coaches.


We’d love for our student to have the opportunity but we just don’t have the resources to make this possible.

We would be happy to have a conversation with you to see what options exist.


What supplies should they bring to debate camp?

Students should bring laptops or netbooks if possible, paper, and writing utensils. A packing list for residential students will be provided after the first deposit is received.


Can they do laundry at the camp?

Yes! A laundry room exists in each dorm. Washers and dryers are coin-operated. Students are encouraged to bring a roll of quarters and some detergent packets with them.


Are there any field trips?

We are currently looking at field trip options to take advantage of the beautiful scenery around Colorado Springs.


What if my child gets sick?

Our dorm personnel are equipped to deal with basic first aid and any small problems. Should a student need medical care for an injury or illness, they will be taken to a medical facility for proper care and treatment.


My student has asthma/food allergies — what medical care and/or precautions exist?

Dorm personnel and lab leaders are instructed in basic asthma/food allergy action plans. Medical care is provided by the emergency room of the local hospital in case of an emergency. Food service staff are trained to address special dietary needs. Please contact us with any specific concerns.


Are professional educators teaching or just college students?

Our staff contains numerous professional educators in addition to highly skilled college students. Each student attending will have access to a professional educator every day.


What about transportation from the airport?

Transportation to and from the Colorado Springs airport is provided by a Colorado College chartered bus with a professional driver. The round trip shuttle cost is included in tuition for the debate Camp. 

Transportation to and from the Denver airport is also provided by a Colorado College chartered bus with a professional driver. The round trip shuttle cost is $75.00.


Is it a problem if my spouse and I travel domestically or abroad while our student is at camp?

The medical and emergency information you provide in the registration process includes authorization to treat your student in case of a medical emergency.  We request a domestic emergency contact as well should you be out of the country and would appreciate knowing that in advance.


Do you share information with my student’s school coach?

It is our goal to work in partnership with the school coach. We will share any updates they request unless indicated otherwise during the registration process. We would encourage our students to share what they have learned with their home schools.