"I loved how we all worked together to improve our debate skills. There was a feeling that we were a team even if we’d be competing against each other during the year."
— Sarah, Ashland High School
“POI gives you a rare and unique chance to develop an extremely strong bond with debaters from other schools and circuits which truly makes you more excited for tournaments and makes you feel like a real part of the larger debate community.”
—Paulina, Bishop O’Dowd High School
Before going to camp I was very sure I wouldn’t have a good time. I was nervous, and honestly a bit scared that I would underperform and be the laughing stock of camp. However, when I got there I realized that POI was a community of people who not only cared but wanted to make sure everyone was comfortable and enjoying themselves.”
—Max, Campolindo High School
A Sense of Community
“POI did not only teach me how to write a theory shell or link story, but it taught me that the debate community can be accepting, diverse, and inclusive. . . what I learned at POI was that debate is a space and community for everyone. Everyone who wants to learn, make friends, and have fun all at the same time. POI not only put a huge spike in my debate learning curve, but it also gave me a family.”
—Sylvie, Bishop O’Dowd High School
“I really enjoyed the environment at POI, because everyone is very supportive and always helping each other, instead of just competing to win.”
— Sarah, Claremont High School
A Healthy Work/Play Balance
“When I signed up for this camp, my main fear was that there would be way too much work. Luckily, I was wrong. All of the lectures my coaches gave were interesting. This was either because of the topic or because of the way the coaches presented them (or both). There was also a good balance between work and social activities which allowed me to make new friends and new memories.”
—Evan, Los Altos High School
“If you want to get committed to parli debate, this camp will give you the knowledge, resources, and motivation to do so regardless of past experience or age. It is extremely intense, but that makes it worth the investment.”
—Brandon, Gunn High School
“POI is an incredible opportunity to learn from really qualified and dedicated coaches everyday and practice against your peers. This is the ideal summer camp for parli debaters who want to work hard during the day and have fun with coaches and students in the evening.”
—Hannah, Ashland High School
“I really love the time after classes ended when we could hang out with friends or lab members. It was a lot of fun to nerd out with people who (a) are just awesome people but (b) are as into debate as I am. If this camp were only lectures and drills, I would learn a lot, but it definitely wouldn't be as fun. I really love how this camp has a good balance and combination of learning and hard work, but also fun and social activities.
—Katie, Menlo-Atherton High School
“POI takes a lot lot lot lot lot lot lot lot of energy to get through and it takes a lot of dedication and commitment to make sure that every day is successful in being able to learn and grow. However, it is super super super super super super worth making it through.”
—Bill, Los Altos High School
“I think that this camp really helped me to fill up my time. Before, I've always had trouble using up all 5/7 minutes during debate rounds, but now I even find myself going over time.”
—Jessica, Pioneer High School
“Camp was invaluable to my growth as a debater. Not only do I not have a solid understanding of Ks and theory but I also learned about fundamental argument structure and have an understanding of what different arguments are in relation to debate as an activity.”
—Matthew, Crystal Springs Uplands School
"I feel like I'm a completely different debater than the person who came at the start of the camp. I love that all of the people in our class and the coaches were welcoming, but pushed me to be my best and get the most out of the program."
— SaraJane, Lake Oswego High School
"When my mom told me about this camp, I thought honestly it was going to be boring and I was going to hate being here. But surprisingly I've had a lot of fun here. In only 10 days I know so much about debate that I didn't know before, and I've done so many practice rounds that I actually somewhat know what I'm doing. This camp showed me how fun debate can be, and it has improved me in so many ways."
— Brandon, Design Tech High School
“I first went to POI as a shy middle schooler and I absolutely did not want to come. However, through practicing, interacting with others, and learning from instructors, I grew to love the activity and POI has only fostered this.”
—Amanda, Aragon High School
“Starting out as someone with no debate experience, I was pretty intimidated. There were people all around me at super high skill levels, levels like mine, and everywhere in between. POI let me learn how to debate in a space that I felt was suited toward me and I am very glad I've had this experience. Because of POI, I've fallen in love with the art of parliamentary debating.”
—Meher, Bayside STEM Academy
"As a first time debater, I was terrified to get in front of a judge to try to display my debating skills which were practically none. Even though I had no experience, the counselors were very nice and broke down the basics for me. They explained what flow charts, POI, and all the other debating tactics were. They didn't discourage me when I got something completely wrong, but gave me helpful criticism. I know the week is short, but I learned so much and know I feel like I can apply that knowledge to debate.This camp gave me a lot more confidence and now I think I'll try out for my debate team at Hotchkiss."
— Ashley, Hotchkiss School
“POI helped me remember the parts of debate I’m passionate about and helped me gain confidence as a debater.”
—Gratia, Bishop O’Dowd High School
"I really liked how dedicated the staff were and how the schedule worked in our favor (we'd get a lecture on a subject and then do drills on that and practice that in rounds)."
— Ada, South Eugene High School
"Having the opportunity to learn from two really amazing college debaters was incredibly helpful, and the way they tailored lectures and drills based on how we were doing worked well. I learned a lot I didn't even know I needed, and the practice with feedback helped drill everything in."
— Lilly, Notre Dame San Jose High School
“I was able to learn so much just from my 10 days and POI and it is a place where I will definitely come back to!”
—Celine, Cleveland High School
An INtensive Education
“In a week and a half of camp, I learn more than I would in probably most of the season. I'm surrounded by the best parli coaches there are, and they are all so supportive and willing to help. Getting to sit through lectures and do drills with them has been inconceivably helpful, and I’ve learned a lot about debate skills and tactics that I don’t really get to practice much during the school year.”
—Katie, Menlo-Atherton High School
"This was definitely one of the most intense camps that I have ever been to. I never thought it was scientifically possible to feed this much information into my brain every day, but at least now I know. I felt like I learned more about parli in one week than I did in the last 1.5 years of parli debate.”
—Eugenia, The Nueva School
“The POI debate camp is literally the best debate camp I’ve ever been to. I’ve attended twice and every time I’m so much better at debate and I learn so much more.”
—Angelina, Los Altos High School
A Supportive Environment
“I really liked the atmosphere that was created at this camp. All the counselors were inclusive and engaging and made you want to learn. The people were all really nice as well. This was just a group of people that you would want to be around all the time if you could.”
—Cole, Piedmont High School
"Every instructor was thoroughly dedicated to helping us understand everything they were teaching and cared a lot about debate. You could tell all the students and staff were really excited to be here, wanted to learn and help others and really wanted to work on debate."
— Hannah, Ashland High School
"The atmosphere was always so constructive and empowering. [Our instructors] always built debaters up and made them more confident in their abilities, while also giving us the criticism needed to grow."
— Isha, Irvington High School
"[The instructors’] continuous energy/enthusiasm every day and personalized instruction for each debater made every lecture more worthwhile and effective."
— Pearlin, Notre Dame San Jose High School
“POI gives you access to so many different resources that can all become instrumental in your future. Each instructor has a particular specialty that they can talk to you about at any time. Any questions that you have will be inevitably answered by some random genius.”
—Alina, Crystal Springs Uplands School
“Although the focus of the camp was bettering the skills we use in round, I would attest that the out of round knowledge we gained was equally, if not more, valuable. Building small groups and communities, as well as discussing larger issues in the inclusivity forum gave me perspective on what really matters in debate, not winning rounds, but the experience.
—Nicholas, Club Parli
“Camp helped me grow not only as a debater, but as a person. It pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and in doing so I learned so much about debate and myself as a debater.”
—Paulina, Bishop O’Dowd High School
Building a Better World
“If you stick through it you will not only become a better debater, but a better person.”
—Lucas, Piedmont High School
“My favorite part of the camp was the culture we built here. I feel like we've definitely helped to build a community of debaters who care about the event and will continue to help bring more inclusivity and accessibility. The inclusivity forum was definitely a great way to talk about the problems inherent to the event in a productive and constructive way.”
—Jon, Archbishop Mitty High School