"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
"Before I came to POI, I had no idea what it meant to run a critique or what topicality meant because I'm a Canadian debater who had never tried parliamentary debate. Trying out parli really helped me broaden my scope of knowledge and experiment with arguments that challenge the purpose of debate...."
— Vivian, West Point Grey Academy
"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
"Having come from SNFI and a loosely established parli program, POI significantly improved my ability to both k and case debate. My partner and I do most of our learning at camp, and POI was a fantastic platform to do so."
— Neeraj, The Nueva School
"The camp provided a ton of new information within the week program, and provided a lot of hands-on experience with debate rounds twice a day. The speaking/writing drills after a new concept was taught helped to ingrain the lesson in my mind, and helped me to understand the concept better. By switching around the instructors every few hours, I believe that all of us were provided with unique information, more than if only one instructor was assigned to each skill group. Also, the food was good and dorm life was pretty interesting after spending all summer in my own home."
— Samantha, Monta Vista High 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
"As a debater, I was already inclined to enjoy whatever POI had to offer. My existing knowledge about parliamentary debate provided me a considerable amount of confidence in what I felt like I already knew. This camp reinforced the importance of constant practice of my existing skills that, with good work ethic, has pushed my understanding of higher level debate."
— Shannon, Campolindo 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). I also appreciated the number of practice rounds and all of the different ways we got help and got all of our questions answered."
— Ada, South Eugene High School
"I've never been in a program so chalked full of information, practice, and feedback. POI somehow perfectly hit the spot between overwhelming and not effective, leaving me (and it seems like most of my peers) in a situation where we both learned a lot and didn't burn out from being overworked. There is no doubt in my mind that I was pushed and stretched during camp, as the 2 rounds a day made sure that I practiced what I'd learned in lecture/drills and also got exposure to many different topics. The instructors were experienced, wise, and genuinely fun to be around and be taught by. Overall, I learned, practiced, was pushed, and improved. I came here wanting to get good, I came out never wanting to stop improving and knowing that I definitely already had."
— Alden, Bishop O'Dowd High School
"This camp definitely improved my debate skills overall. Since every day was jampacked with lectures and debate rounds, I received a lot of new information and learned how to better build and impact out my contentions. The practice rounds every day were also super helpful because we got to use the skills that we learned and put them to use. 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. I've also learned a lot about theories and kritiks, which are things that I didn't know about before. The policy round's structure is also new to me, because I only knew about claim/warrant/impact structure before and I was never taught to use uniqueness/link/internal link/impact. I also was able to actually use counterplans, since before I never really got the chance to learn what they actually were. I think that watching other debate rounds was also very interesting because I got the chance to see more experienced debaters as well...From watching their rounds, I learned more about what you're actually supposed to do/talk about during speeches, like impacting out contentions, or refuting your opponent's case/rebuttals, etc. Overall, POI Debate Camp really helped to improve my debate skills and I hope to come back again next year."
— Jessica, Pioneer High School
"POI is a major reason why I was able to have success like I had last year, and I can't wait to see what I can accomplish next year with what I learned this year at camp."
— Karl, Ashland High School
"I was extremely impressed with how professional each instructor was. They managed to create a good balance of strict rules but also a safe and carefree environment. At first, I was disappointed with the enforcement of the rules, however throughout the week I noticed them less. The instructors were also extremely helpful -- their 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
"I feel like I've learned more about parli over camp than I have this entire season. I ran my first K ever, learned how to actually spread, and started writing killer cases that I can actually be proud of."
— Jessica, Pioneer High School
"Group B is probably the closest group of debate friends I've ever had and it was almost the most lit."
— Eric, Dougherty Valley High School
"The camp proved to be the best intensive debate camp I've been to. A combination of highly-skilled instructors, impressive management, and time efficiency made POI a life-changing experience. This intensive will completely change your child's perspective of high school debate and your child will [sic] guaranteed to be highly informed about our world's notable events."
— Alex, Los Altos 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
"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
"Everyday, I'd wake up to see all my friends, old and new, and learn and debate for literally the entire day. I loved POI so much- it made summer worth it!"
— Henry, Los Altos High School
"I think that my favorite part[s] of camp were all the experiences that I had with my group. I still remember at the beginning when we were all kind of quiet, yet by the end we were all laughing and happy together and the camp brought us really close together."
— Nicholas, Clovis North Educational Center
"The atmosphere was always so constructive and empowering. Zach and Bear 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
"It was both intimidating and beneficial to learn from great debaters, have them judge your round, and even debate them yourself in gauntlet rounds."
— Aislinn, Bishop O'Dowd High School
"Office hours helped with clarifying my confusion, and the lab leaders were very kind and provided good advice in how to be successful in my future debates. The overall structure of the camp was effective in learning, so that I wasn't too exhausted but still got a lot out of the various activities."
— Jingwen, Clovis North 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
"I was able to meet a lot of really talented debaters who not only used their free time to help me, but became people who i can call friends and see at tournaments."
— Gratia, Bishop O'Dowd High 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, CP Peninsula
"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
“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.”
— Jon, Archbishop Mitty High School
“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
“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, Bishop O’Dowd High School