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Lewis & Clark debate team hosts camp for high school debaters

August 01, 2013

Lewis & Clark’s nationally ranked debate team is currently hosting the inaugural Pioneer Debate Institute, a two week intensive experience designed to educate and train students in the competitive activity of debate. The camp began on July 27 and will continue until August 9, with 40 students participating.

The PDI is a revival of tradition at Lewis & Clark. The forensics program hosted summer camps in the 1980s and 1990s and the camps were often among the most well attended in the region. However, a summer debate camp has not been held on campus for over a decade. This year’s event is an attempt to reestablish the camping tradition as plans are already being made for next year’s PDI.

The PDI, despite being in its first year, drew students in from across the region and nation. The roster includes participants from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, Utah and Texas. Four formats of debate (policy, Lincoln-Douglas, public forum and parliamentary) are offered, and the intensive curriculum includes debate topic lectures, debate skills lectures, drills, research lab time, and practice debates. Two mock debate tournaments are held in order for students to utilize the knowledge they have learned.

Participants at the PDI are taught by one of the finest camp staffs in the nation. This year’s staff included current coaches and debaters from Lewis & Clark as well as coaches and debaters from across the nation. All told, the 14 member staff has over 220 combined years of debate experience, and has either won or coached eleven collegiate debate national championships.

Director of Forensics Joe Gantt said of the camp, “It is incredibly exciting to be part of the restart of summer debate camps at Lewis & Clark. This camp is one step in increasing the role our team plays in supporting debate at local high schools, and we expect that it will become a yearly tradition. This camp helps students, helps local debate programs, and it provides a recruiting benefit to the team and college by attracting high quality, motivated students to spend two weeks on our campus learning from some of the best in the activity.”


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