American University

Summer Debate Camps

Teaching public speaking, persuasion, presentation skills and confidence through the art of debate

American University is a private research university in Washington, D.C., United States. The university was chartered by an Act of Congress on February 24, 1893 as 'The American University' when the bill was approved by President Benjamin Harrison. The university is currently ranked 8th in the world for its graduate programs and 9th in the world for its undergraduate program in International Affairs by Foreign Policy, and the Washington College of Law. Like Capitol Debate, American University strives to create meaningful change in the world, and the students who attend our Debate and Public Speaking Camp at American University can expect a fantastic educational experience and will leave with the life skills needed to effect change in their futures.

Summer Camps at American University

  • Public Speaking and Debate Camp
    July 28 to August 9, 2019
    Cost: 3,499 $2999 if registered by April 1*
  • At our Public Speaking and Debate Camp level, middle school and high school students will learn the fundamentals of public speaking and argumentation, enabling them to develop core presentation and debating skills that boost confidence and self-esteem. Students at the Public Speaking and Debate Camp level will work on effective public speaking and argumentation, allowing them to further advance their presentation and debate skills to prepare them for the real world. The camp offers students the chance to improve their communication skills in a safe and secure environment while having fun! Complete description »

    *Cost covers tuition, room & board. Commuter program discounted by $600 and does not include breakfast.


Group rates available for community, church, international and school groups. Contact us at (800) 450-5012 for more information.
Cost excludes $75 charge assessed for safety regulations, local and federal governmental compliance. Please note that all program prices are subject to change without notice

Our Camp Parents Have Spoken!

Here's what they said about Capitol Debate's Summer Camps.
data from 2017 parent survey

Students had Fun
Students Learned a Lot
Want Students to Return
Recommend camp to their friends

See for Yourself the Impact of Our Summer Camps!

Not only will Capitol Debate students learn new skills through our programs; they will feel an increase in self-worth, learn critical thinking skills and improve public speaking and communication skills with their peers. Two weeks at camp will result in lifelong friendships and memories that will resonate with our students throughout their academic, personal and professional careers. Campers return to our program year after year because of how life-changing our Summer Debate Camps prove to be. Our parents will tell you themselves that they proudly stand by their investment in Capitol Debate because of the impact it has had on their families.

American University Camp Reviews

Activities & Schedule

Capitol Debate is the nation's leading expert in teaching communication skills to middle school and high school students. Our nationally recognized staff has hundreds of years of pedagogical experience in helping youth find their voice. Thousands of shy students have walked through our doors in our nearly 20 years of summer camps to become confident young adults and leaders in their community.

Typical daily Schedule

  • 7:30 a.m. - Rise and shine!
  • 8:00 a.m. - Breakfast
  • 8:30 a.m. - Commuter check in
  • 8:45 a.m. - Morning announcements
  • 9:00 a.m. - Leadership exercise
  • 9:30 a.m. - Morning lesson
  • 10:30 a.m. - Small group exercises
  • 11:30 a.m. - Get up and speak
  • 12:00 p.m. - Lunch
  • 1:00 p.m. - Hands-on class time
  • 2:30 p.m. - Team building exercises
  • 3:30 p.m. - Practice
  • 5:00 p.m. - Dinner
  • 6:00 p.m. - Study Hall
  • 7:00 p.m. - Commuter check out
  • 7:00 p.m. - Recreational activities
  • 9:00 p.m. - Residential unwind hour
  • 10:00 p.m. - Room check and curfew

Activities outside of the classroom include:

  • Field trip
  • Talent show
  • Spa night
  • Movie night
  • Field Day
  • Karaoke night
  • Leadership Activities
  • Team building exercises

The Capitol Advantage

Expert Staff

We have a group of accomplished educators who have taught and competed for years. Our instructors are on the leading edge of debating & public speaking. Click here to view our full staff listing.

Top of the Line Curriculum

Our programs draw students from around the world because we focus on our resources year round to ensure that we can bring the best information to our students. Our curriculum focuses on theory and application to provide results that you will be able to see as they become better, more confident speakers.

Convenient Locations

Capitol Debate’s academic summer camps are spread across the United States, from East to West as well as internationally. With such a large number of location available you're bound to find the perfect camp location for you.

  • Low faculty to student ratio – Capitol Debate firmly believes in individualized instruction, which can only happen with small class sizes.
  • Personalized Instruction – Capitol Debate instructors give students hands-on instruction with researching, writing, speaking and organizing. After practice debates, instructors give students lengthy feedback to help them improve their skills.
  • Senior faculty oversee all classes – Unlike other debate camps, Capitol Debate’s instructors have an average of 15 to 30 years of pedagogical experience in the classroom. Many have coached national champions!
  • Practice, Practice, Practice – We make sure students are not just sitting in lectures, but instead are getting up and speaking every day and applying the lessons learned in a small group setting.

Expert Staff

  • Terri Robinson

    Camp Director

  • Terri teaches at East View High School in Georgetown, Texas where she has been actively involved in the speech & debate community for almost 40 years. Many of her students have advanced to state and n…  Read More »

  • Colette Dorsey

    Camp Life and Wellness Coordinator

  • Colette Doresey lives in Aberdeen, Maryland. She is proud to be involved in secondary education for 26 years. Colette sponsors the Speech and Debate Club at Patterson Mill High School. She also spends…  Read More »

  • Hannah Selwyn

    Camp Life and Wellness Coordinator

  • Staff member biography coming soon.

  • Jan-Marie Barbera

    Camp Instructor

  • Jan-Marie has taught middle school students in Northern Virginia for over ten years in the subjects of English, literature, critical thinking and religion. She received her BA in Literature at Sonoma…  Read More »

  • Olivia Sailors

    Camp Instructor

  • Olivia Sailors competed in Policy Debate and Forensics for three years in high school in Kansas. Her greatest accomplishments are qualifying for state all 3 years in debate and forensics and qualifyin…  Read More »

  • Debby Haren

    Camp Instructor

  • Debby Haren is an experienced teacher and debate coach. She loves working at summer debate camps because it gives her a chance to do what inspires her most: work with students who have a sincere desir…  Read More »

  • PJ Samorian

    Camp Instructor

  • P.J. Samorian has served the speech and debate community for 30 years. He is currently the Speech and Debate Department Chairperson at American Heritage Schools in Plantation and Boca/Delray Florida. …  Read More »

  • Brian Alford

    Camp Instructor

  • When Brian Alford was a competitor in high school, he was a policy and extemp guy. While in college, he had a small company providing judges to tournaments and also consulting on the side. He has been…  Read More »

  • Polly Moser

    Camp Counselor

  • Polly Moser has been debating since 7th grade when she joined Capitol Debate's Public Forum travel team. In that time, Polly has accrued several debate honors including NCFL Grand National Tournam…  Read More »

  • Josh Schulster

    Camp Counselor

  • Josh Schulster spent four years debating with Boca High and quickly developed a passion for Public Forum debate. As a sophomore, Josh was the captain of the Public Forum division and has mentored you…  Read More »

  • Shae Thomas

    Camp Counselor

  • Shae Thomas will be starting her freshman year at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she will be majoring in Criminal Justice. In high school, Shae competed for Ramsay High School on the Sp…  Read More »

  • Bryce Henshaw

    Camp Counselor

  • Bryce Henshaw is a student at Willamette University. She has had six years of debate experience, four years in high school where she participated in Policy Debate, and two years in college participati…  Read More »

  • Kyle Holub

    Camp Counselor

  • Kyle Holub started debate as a sophomore in high school, and it completely changed his life. Debate opened many doors for him and gave him an opportunity to join a mentorship organization at his high …  Read More »

  • Sal Sandoval

    Camp Counselor

  • Sal Sandoval competed in Public Forum for four years at Cypress Woods High School in Houston, Texas. While at CWHS, Sal served as an officer on his team both his junior and senior year and was also th…  Read More »

  • Ryan Kerestesy

    Camp Counselor

  • Ryan Kerestesy debated public forum with Capitol Debate for four years. Ryan has advanced to elimination rounds at a large number of national tournaments. He goes to Penn State University as a Politic…  Read More »

  • Margarita Artoglou

    Camp Counselor

  • Margarita Artoglou is a college senior majoring in Communication and Media Studies with a concentration in Journalism and minoring in English. Margarita has experience in print and broadcast journali…  Read More »

Please note that all payments are nonrefundable. Should cancellation be necessary, full credit will be provided up to 1 year from the date of the event, if written notice of cancellation is provided prior to May 1st for camps and at least two weeks for other programs. Any add-ons, tournament or fees paid cannot be refunded and are non-transferrable. Summer camp cancellations received after May 1st or programs cancellations after two weeks prior to program starting must also be made in writing and will follow the cancellation credit timetables. For more details please visit our Terms, Policies, and Conditions page.