Are there any organized events in the evenings?
Yes! We organize activities after the academic day is done, including board games, trivia nights, karaoke nights, fun demonstration debate rounds, and ice cream socials. We're known to provide snacks to spice things up as well.
How much free time do debaters have at camp?
Our campers have free time during lunch, dinner, and afternoon break, as well as in the evenings. More experienced debaters will have some homework, but generally have enough time to complete homework and still socialize!
My child has a birthday during their program. Can you do anything to make it fun?
Of course! We usually organize a camp-wide birthday celebration for everyone with a birthday during camp. You're also welcome to drop by with treats for your debater's lab group, or just to say hello, or to take them out for a meal (with advance notice).
What camp-wide activities are there? Will there be all-camp socializing?
Lots! Our evening activities are a great time to mingle, but we also do lunch and souvenir trips to Telegraph Avenue, quick stops at the frozen yogurt shop, a camp-wide movie night, demo rounds, inter-lab practice rounds, and more.
My child is brand-new to debate. Can they still come to the High School Program?
Absolutely: we usually have an entire lab group devoted to debaters with zero or limited experience. They come out of camp confident, dedicated, and thrilled with their new friends from around the world!
How are debaters split into lab groups?
We divide the camp based on experience, goals, and needs: some debaters need to learn how to structure arguments most effectively, while some need to learn how to implement argumentative strategies like kritiks and theory. Our method takes debaters' self-assessment, level of experience, and specific skills into account.
I've heard this is a camp for technical debate. Is it just for flow debaters?
Absolutely not! Every year, debaters come to us from all sorts of backgrounds— from the technical NorCal circuit, to more lay SoCal and Oregon backgrounds, to international backgrounds in World Schools debate. We teach skills that underpin the art of parliamentary debate itself— and will benefit any debater.
What happens on weekends?
In order to maximize the impact of our program, weekends are the same as any other day at POI. (Please note that this does not apply to the first/last days of camp.)
Do you do airport pick-ups and drop-offs?
We can arrange airport transfers for students traveling alone for a small convenience fee. For our Berkeley program, we do transfers between the San Francisco and Oakland airports, and the Berkeley campus. For our Ashland program, we can arrange transfers between the Medford Airport and the SOU campus.
Do you do BART pick-ups and drop-offs for the Berkeley program?
We don't have the capacity for this currently! We recommend Uber, Lyft, or public buses.
My child will be travelling as an unaccompanied minor. Can you do a gate pick-up/drop-off?
We can! This is the same deal as our regular airport transfers: for a small fee, we'll pick your student up from the gate, and stay with them at the gate until their plane takes off upon departure. This must be arranged long in advance.
How do debaters get to the classrooms from the dorms?
Instructors will walk down with the debaters every time we travel between classrooms and dorms! Our classroom site is approximately a 5 minute walk away.
How accessible are the dorms/classrooms at Berkeley?
All dorms (and the dining hall) are accessible via elevators if necessary. To reach the classrooms, we arrange to drive any students for whom the walk would impose difficulty. Our classrooms themselves are accessible at ground level, with a wheelchair lift available if necessary for the few stairs in the complex.
Can my student take non-prescription drugs at camp, like ibuprofen?
Unless we have written permission from a parent/guardian, debaters are not allowed to use any form of medicine. If you think this will be necessary, please include it on the list of approved medications in our packet of forms! Otherwise, we can address this on an as-needed basis.
Can middle school students attend the High School Program?
Absolutely. We usually have a handful of middle schoolers who decide to attend our High School Program, based on scheduling conflicts with the Middle School Program or previous debate experience. Grade level plays no role in our lab group decisions, just skills and goals!
What clothing should debaters bring to camp? Formal attire?
Casual clothing is fine! We recommend bringing summer clothes for warm weather, with a few light jackets/sweaters for evenings. We also recommend comfortable walking shoes for exploring Berkeley on our camp trips, and the walk to the classrooms.
What exercising options are available for campers?
Unfortunately, safety risks prevent all campers under age 18 from using the gym in the dorms. We do spend a fair amount of time walking during the day, but if that isn't enough, debaters are permitted to go on brief runs in the area near the dorms, with express, advance, written permission from a parent/guardian.
My child wants to visit family/go out for dinner. Is that allowed?
It is—just make sure that we have written parental permission before the time arrives.