Vanderbilt University

Summer Debate Camps

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

Vanderbilt provides a gateway to greatness, drawing the brightest students from across the nation and around the world. Vanderbilt alumni can be found in Congress, on the judicial bench, in the pulpit, leading corporations, conducting innovative medical research, serving in their communities, and playing in the NFL, major league baseball, the PGA and LPGA. Today, Vanderbilt University is a private research university of about 6,500 undergraduates and 5,300 graduate and professional students. The university comprises 10 schools, a public policy center, and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. The university is consistently ranked as one of the nation's top 20 universities by publications such as U.S. News & World Report, with several programs and disciplines ranking in the top 10.

Summer Camps at Vanderbilt University

  • Public Speaking and Debate Camp
    June 1 to 13, 2019
    Cost: 3,099 $2349 if registered by January 31*
  • At Middle School Debate Camp level, 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 High School 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 $47.50 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

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

Summer Camp: A Life Changing Experience

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.

Vanderbilt University, TN 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 the 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

Dan Wadley

Camp Director

Dan Wadley has been teaching Biblical Ethics at The McCallie School for the last ten years. He has taught 36 total years. During his time at McCallie he has served as varsity basketball coach (2006-14…  Read More »

Gail Nicholas

Camp Director

Gail Nicholas has coached speech and debate for over 30 years at Bob Jones Academy where she teaches American Government. For over a decade she has served as the district chair for the National Speech…  Read More »

Bobby Strickland

Camp Wellness / Nurse

Bobby Strickland, a Registered Nurse, will be joining Capitol Debate for the first time this summer. He has four years of experience as an RN with a specialty in Intensive care. Bobby received his Ass…  Read More »

Jack Berk

Camp Life and Wellness Coordinator

Though part of the residential life team at Capitol Debate, Jack's background is in teaching. He teaches 9th grade English at a public school in Nashville, Tennessee. When Jack was in high school, he …  Read More »

Paul Narey

Camp Instructor

I am starting as a debate coach and professor of communications at the University of Wyoming this school year. Before that, I taught debate in Korea and have 8 years of competitive experience in high …  Read More »

Oliver Parker

Camp Instructor

Oliver is a teacher and a debate coach at Spain Park High School in Birmingham, Alabama. His teams have reached late rounds at major tournaments and qualified multiple times for the Tournament of Cham…  Read More »

Jessica Beckett

Camp Instructor

Jessica, a full-time secondary English teacher, has motivated and prepared students to compete in Model United Nations and Public Forum as a Head Debate Coach for the past year. Before that, she serve…  Read More »

Benjamin Hanson

Camp Counselor

Ben is currently a senior at DuPont Manual High School in Louisville, Kentucky where he is the captain of his school's Public Forum debate team. Over the last four years, Ben has been in out rounds at…  Read More »

Philipp Reutter

Camp Counselor

Philipp Reutter, a senior at Boca Raton Community High School, serves as Vice President of his debate team. Over four years of Public Forum debate, he has collected 4 Gold and 4 Silver Bids to the Tou…  Read More »

Tatiana Butkevits

Camp Counselor

Tatiana Butkevits is a senior at Boca Raton Community High School where she has served as a debate team officer since her sophomore year. Tatiana competes in Public Forum debate and has received 4 Gol…  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.