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  • Type:
    Day camp, Overnight camp, After-school / weekend classes, Virtual Camp/Program
  • Focus:
  • Cost:
    $495 to $595/week
  • Ages:
    10 to 16
  • Gender:
  • Main language:
  • Capacity:
  • Programs:
  • e-Brochure:
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  • Summary Profile

    Debate Camp answered our questions

    Who are you as an organization?

    Debate Camp inspires youth to confidently speak, debate and think on their feet! We open up minds to the wider world and help youth engage in constructive dialogue, debate and traditional camp fun! Core program in parliamentary debate; workshops in public speaking and a 1 day Model UN. Appropriate for grades 5 through 10 - all levels welcome! Enrich your summer with us!

    • Special needs: Not available
    • LGBTQ+ friendly community

    What do you do differently or uniquely well?

    "We believe that "camp" creates a novel and secure learning environment in which campers feel safe to try new skills, think on their feet, see the opposing view, and to trust their teammates. Campers repeatedly inform us of how successful their academic experiences are - after Debate Camp, largely because they felt emboldened and confident in their ability to engage in discourse on subjects they felt unsure about only weeks previous. " I learned so much" is the most consistent feedback we get. "

    Who are your staff and counsellors?

    "Debate Camp Program Staff are the centrally important teachers and program providers at camp. They are experienced debaters and accomplished or inspiring speakers. They are good with young people. They know how to take the higher-order skills of debate analysis, case construction, and critical thinking and break it down into lessons suited to the many age groups and ability levels at Debate Camp. Program Staff are team players, who work hard to ensure campers experience a safe, well-supported, well-supervised and well-executed program for each day of camp."

    What do families need to know about registration?

    "Debate Camp opens registration in Canada and United States, for in-person camps on November 1st each year. Early Bird rates tier 1 are on until January 31st and Early Bird rates tier 2 are on until February 28th. Inquiry forms exist on our sites and families can submit their questions before signing up - - we aim for turn around on questions within 1 business day. Transportation options are also linked for each camp / camp location."

    Debate Camp - profile photo

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  • Programs, Rates & Dates

    Programs and Sessions Calendar

    Choose the right programs and sessions for your child; Debate Camp currently has 6 programs available; 2 TBD.

    Filter activities :

    Choose location:

    Day Camp
    Ages: 10 - 17
    Debate, Education (multi)
    $455 to $595
    Debate|CIT/LIT Program|Empowerment|Leadership Training|Social Justice|Public Speaking
    Day Camp
    Ages: 10 - 15
    Debate, Education (multi)
    $460 to $595
    Vancouver, BC
    4176 Alexandra Street
    Jul 02-05 $460 - $480
    Vancouver, BC
    4176 Alexandra Street
    Jul 08-12 $575 - $595
    Debate|CIT/LIT Program|Empowerment|Leadership Training|Social Justice|Public Speaking
    Day Camp
    Ages: 10 - 15
    Debate, Education (multi)
    $575 to $595
    Ottawa, ON
    362 Mariposa Avenue
    Jul 08-12 $575 - $595
    Chess|Debate|CIT/LIT Program|Empowerment|Leadership Training|Social Justice|Public Speaking|Writing
    Overnight Camp
    Ages: 12 - 17
    Debate, Education (multi)
    $2,043 to $2,463
    St. Catharines, ON
    2 Ridley Road
    Jul 14-20 $2,043 - $2,463
    Instructor lead (group)|Chess|Debate|CIT/LIT Program|Empowerment|Leadership Training|Social Justice|Public Speaking
    Day Camp
    Ages: 10 - 15
    Debate, Education (multi)
    $575 to $595
    St. Catharines, ON
    2 Ridley Road
    Jul 15-19 $575 - $595
    Debate|CIT/LIT Program|Empowerment|Leadership Training|Social Justice|Public Speaking
    Overnight Camp
    Ages: 12 - 17
    Debate, Education (multi)
    $2,043 to $2,463
    Windsor, NS
    33 Kings Edgehill Lane
    Aug 18-24 $2,043 - $2,463
    Instructor lead (group)|Chess|Debate|CIT/LIT Program|Empowerment|Leadership Training|Social Justice|Public Speaking
    Day Camp
    Ages: 10 - 15
    Debate, Education (multi)
    $575 to $595
    Chess|Debate|CIT/LIT Program|Empowerment|Leadership Training|Social Justice|Public Speaking
    Overnight Camp
    Ages: 12 - 17
    Debate, Education (multi)
    $2,043 to $2,463
    Instructor lead (group)|Chess|Debate|CIT/LIT Program|Empowerment|Leadership Training|Social Justice|Public Speaking

    Financial Aid & Payment Details

    Payment Options:

    Deposit required with acceptance Yes
    Credit card payment Yes


    Discount for 2nd child 10%
  • Insider Reviews & Perspectives

    The Our Kids review of Debate Camp

    our take

    Nick Szymanis founded Debate Camp Canada after having achieved a long and impressive career in private schooling. He held teaching and leadership positions at Havergal, Crofton House, and was director of academics at Sterling Hall. Director Oona Craig has a CV that is similarly impressive. In all, this is an academic camp that is placed very firmly on a foundation of academic experience and expertise. It’s not a traditional camp, of course, perhaps particularly because it’s not about providing a wide breadth of experiences, but rather an intensive focus on one: debating. That said, there is more breadth here than you might assume. Debate is a tool, like any camp activity, to get at other things, including confidence, resilience, skill development, and effective collaboration. The kids that attend find themselves in a group of peers that share their interests as well as their academic disposition, and many come away—as with any camp—with friends and memories for life.

    Three Things: Debate Camp
    Hear the three things that Our Kids’ editors see when they look at Debate Camp

    Insider's Perspective(s) of Debate Camp

    Alex, Parent

    • 00:43 - What was unique about the program at Debate Camp that made you want to enroll your child there?
    • 01:58 - What would you highlight about the Debate Camp?
    • 02:53 - What does your son like best or find most exciting about camp?
    • 03:13 - When and how did you know that the camp was the right fit for your son?
    • 04:00 - Was there any change or noticeable personal growth that you saw in your son after his time at camp?
    • 06:03 - How can you as a parent support your child to get the most out of this camp?
    • 06:37 - How would you describe this camp to another parent?
    • 07:25 - What does your child say about the camp, either to you, or that you may have heard them say to friends?

    Review(s) of Debate Camp

    Read all 19 reviews

    Toronto (Parent)Summer 2021

    My son has attended several debate camps and has enjoyed each one immensely.

    Vancouver (Parent)Summer 2022

    Overall, a tremendous experience and a positive introduction to debate . Thanks so much for a fantastic week!

    Ottawa (Parent)Summer 2022

    My daughter was not volunteering to go to debate camp yet she never complained and secretly think she had a good time!

    Calgary (Parent)Summer 2022

    This camp was my son's first learning experience in debate. He enjoyed very much and appreciated the program contents and instructors' professional skills. He said this was totally different from his other camp experiences, though it was challenging, he learned quite a lot and enjoyed the fun with everyone ... Read More

    Toronto (Parent)Summer 2022

    This is the first time my son enter the camp. He had a blast. This is just the right place for him. He said he will return next year.

    Ontario Overnight Camp (Parent)Summer 2022

    We appreciated the seriousness with which the camp took our food allergy request. It made for a 'worry free' experience as a parent. My camper had the best time, learned lots, is now interested in following British parlimentary exchange on TV, made new friends and overall cannot stop talking about her experience. We are grateful for this camp and would highly recommend it ... Read More

    Victoria (Parent)Summer 2022

    Big THANK YOU for great experience and fantastic time at the Debate Camp. The camp was educational, fun and very well organized. Thank you!

    Halifax (Parent)Summer 2022

    I had two kids in the camp and both with different experiences and learning styles. Both LOVED the camp and want to do it again. Thank you for being such a positive, encouraging and fun way to introduce and build on debating skills. Every interaction with any member of your staff was positive, helpful and caring. If you had a debating team year round my kids would join ... Read More

    Boston (Parent)Summer 2022

    My son has done this program twice (5th grade & 8th grade) and both times he had such a wonderful experience. He even said it was better than regular school! Bravo to your camp counselors for making a wonderful, engaging and motivating experience for the students ... Read More

    New York (Parent)Summer 2022

    My child had a great time. I was happy to see her notebook and the Debate handbook explaining the different styles taught.

    Halifax (Parent)Summer 2021

    We don't know you made debate camp such an enriching program for children but you have the formula down pat. Our daughter came home every day with her wheels fully pumped, her bucket filled to the brim. She regularly told us all about her day - and that doesn't always happen after camp or school. She was just so excited and needed to bring her family into the fold. She has now taught us how to debate and gave her sister the bracelet she made for her. From my heart: thank you! ... Read More

    Online (Parent)Summer 2021

    Great experience for my child. It can be hard to find others with similar interests; debate camp has shown my son that there are other kids who like the same things as he does.

    New York (Parent)Summer 2020

    Allow me to express my gratitude for the online camps you started this session. In the current situation they allowed my son to have a very productive learning experience, that created a tangible sense of accomplishment.

    Ottawa (Parent)Summer 2019

    I would like to thank you for offering such great summer camp for my daughter. She has registered with her friends together to your summer camp this summer. It was her first debate experience. I was very impressed about the high quality you offered, from facility to staff until the program designed. Although it is kind of pricey, it delivered something of high value. Most of all, I know she is learning things not just killing time. Your debate camp is really a five star summer camp. Ottawa parent - 201 ... Read More

    Montreal (Parent)Summer 2019

    I'm impressed that this camp offers something which presumes a natural inquisitiveness and intelligence in kids and empowers them. My son went in with great apprehension at the prospect of having to interact with new people and speak in front of them By the end of the week he was proud at having overcome some fear of public speaking and he said he would do this camp again. Montreal parent - 201 ... Read More

    Boston (Parent)Summer 2019

    My kids complained bitterly the first day in the morning. They complained less and less and by Wednesday they liked it but didn't want to admit it. They really loved it by Friday. My husband and I feel that it's been the best camp for them and are really happy with what they learned. Thank you!! Boston MA, parent - 201 ... Read More

    Boston (Parent)Summer 2018

    My daughter found your camp on a web search herself. She asked me to enrol her in the camp. I wasn't thrilled about the particular week in the summer, as it impacted our ability to schedule other 2 week camps. However, she absolutely loved the camp, and will be joining again next summer! Her joy and learning was evident, and was such a great time for her exact moment in her developmental stage. At 11.5 years, my daughter is breaking into new independence, and new thoughts about life, communications, politics, how society decides upon its "rules, norms, and laws". This camp gave some structure to her ideas, and most importantly, gave her a structured way to practice public speaking which I have been trying to build into all of her experiences for years. Hard to do outside of drama classes. She LOVED this camp West Roxbury, MA - parent - 201 ... Read More

    Calgary (Parent)Summer 2018

    My son had an amazing week! Staff ratio to campers was ideal. Staff made the camp educational yet fun at the same time. My son returned each and every day talking about all the debates, all the arguments for /against, and all that he learned. I love that the topics were diverse and reflective of current issues. My son looked forward to going each day and was so disappointed at week's end. Having lunch included was definitely an added bonus! Will definitely return next year and for more than one session this time! Thanks to all the staff! Calgary parent - 201 ... Read More

    Toronto (Parent)Summer 2018

    My daughter came to camp w/ an expressive communication disorder, and was encouraged to participate fully in all of the debates and activities-but was not pressured in a way that made her feel frustrated or discouraged. We are truly impressed w/ the entire program! Toronto parent - 201 ... Read More

  • Location & Site Details


    British Columbia (2), Nova Scotia (1), Ontario (5)
    View all locations



    Sleeping Accommodations

    • Dorm or Building

    Washrooms Facilities

    • Flush Toilets

    More details about accommodations: Debate Camp operates at CAIS accredited Independent Schools across Canada and follows ACA and state regulations in the United States.

    Is Debate Camp technology free? Debate Camp permits campers to use and keep their phone for the duration of Debate Camp. We do however sometimes request, that they be turned over or off when seen to be a distraction to the session underway

    Property Details

    Sports facilities

    • Gymnasium


    • Open Field

    More details about property: Debate Camps are located at independent school and / or university campus locations conducive to a well rounded, safe, indoor / outdoor program for youth.

    Rentals & Services

    Offers outdoor education program for schools or corporate groups: Yes
    We offer educational programming in-person and online for school groups looking to start a debate enrichment program.


    The American Camp Association Associations
    Canadian Camping Association/ Association des camps du Canada Associations

  • What's New

    Director's Message

    Nick Szymanis, Director
    BA, MA, B Ed

    Debate Camp creates a learning experience that is safe, welcoming, fun, and intellectually-engaging.  Our program is meant to appeal to all ability levels, from the reluctant speaker to the already-accomplished debater. This year we are proud to be celebrating our 20th summer at Debate Camp. 

    We believe that learning is best served by engaging students in an academic experience, while at the same time ensuring they feel empowered to take risks. 

    We believe that "camp" creates a novel and secure learning environment in which campers feel safe to try new skills, think on their feet, see the opposing view, and to trust their teammates. 


    We feel that debating is not an elite skill for competition purposes only. We believe that to have advocacy skills, an ability with rhetoric, an ability to effectively organize one's thoughts, an ability to listen and be heard and to honour one's opponents with effective points and counter-points, are skills that all kids should try.  We believe these are empowering skills that are highly relevant to life long learning. 

    Campers repeatedly inform us of how successful their academic experiences are - after Debate Camp, largely because they felt emboldened and confident in their ability to engage in discourse on subjects they felt unsure about only weeks previous.   " I learned so much"  is the most consistent feedback we get. 

    Moreover, we remain about training in the area of verbal advocacy; to stand, speak and be heard - an area requiring continued attention at a time when digital means provide so many alternatives to this.  In the generation of the smart phone, of potentially less human-to-human conversation over substantial matters, what we teach is even more coveted...

    Education has forever operated on a belief in the skills, ability and good intention of the future generation. Debate Camp is honoured to be invested in this work

    More info on myself, my team and our great little camp - visit: www.debatecamp.com

    In the News

    May 2, 2022

    Debate Camp is coming to Portland, Maine - brand new location at the Waynflete School! ... Read More

    November 17, 2016
    Time to keep talking

    Advice on speaking with kids in a troubled world.... Read More

    December 2, 2015
    Giving Kids the Edge: The Valuable Skill of Debating

    Giving Kids the Edge: The Valuable Skill of Debating Debating helps kids retain 90% of what they learn By Nick Szymanis... Read More


    • Debate Camp Canada

      Debate Camp Canada has trained hundreds of eager speakers since it's start-up in the summer of 2002. Our camps have served the debate and public speaking communities in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. The new location of our residential camp, at Ridley College in St. Catharines, Ontario will serve our camper families well in location and in the beautiful campus we will be housed. In 2022 we have reopened day camps in King City and Calgary, locations closed since pre-2020.  Many debate and public speaking tournaments both in Canada and abroad, boast the participation of multiple debate campers from past summers - many of which have returned in the ranks of staff once actively competing at the university level. Our best stories certainly involve those campers who came to us, hesitant and often shy about public speaking and graduated after a few summers, with renewed self-confidence in a polished set of abilities that in some cases reaped rewards in tournaments or even just their own school's academic program. Moreover, everyone certainly had fun in the learning process. Join us in continuing this fine tradition.

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