Instructor Danny Debois (Harvard '18)  lecturing at VBI Philadelphia. 

Instructor Danny Debois (Harvard '18)  lecturing at VBI Philadelphia. 

We emphasize to our students that being the best is not simply mastering the same skills and strategies that every other debater works on. To truly maximize their potential, a debater needs to do things that other debaters will seek to emulate. The best debaters innovate

VBI provides a challenging, but encouraging, environment that pushes students to improve by exposing them to new ideas and challenges. We do everything we can to give debaters the tools they need to take their debating to to the next level and change the game. That starts with having the best teachers possible. From experienced teachers and coaches to the most successful and knowledgable recent graduates, every summer VBI brings together a diverse group of the best debate educators in the country. Regardless of their interests, every student will find an instructor who is not only an expert on that concept, but who is excited to help them dig in. 

 

VBI offers one of the best learning environments in the country. The coaching staff is wonderfully diverse, so that you get to learn from a wide variety of debate styles; there’s no one telling you that you have to debate a certain way or only read one type of argument. Rather, students are encouraged to be creative and innovate - to stay ahead of the competition instead of just copying arguments that other teams make.
— Rebecca Kuang (2013 TOC Champion)

But innovation is not just something we teach debaters, we take it to heart. No one thinks about debate camp more than VBI. Each year, we spend countless hours rethinking every aspect of our curriculum based on student and coach feedback and emerging debate trends, introducing new programs when necessary, and always seeking to improve on the things that work. 

VBI was an incredible camp experience. I can’t imagine a better community where challenging yourself is encouraged and supported, and where every person is invested in each other’s successes.
— Madi Norman

Indeed, many of our most successful programs quickly become the new baseline for other summer programs. Whether it is providing students with a personal mentor, offering a topic preparation session, or guaranteeing a 4:1 ratio, we lead and others follow. 

However, while our curriculum is often imitated, it is never equalled. For example, when other camps adopted our mentorship program, participation was limited to only the most advanced students, or those who paid more to attend additional sessions. On the other hand, we have consistently improved our program year after year, guaranteeing every student a personal mentor, and creating “mentor teams” to simulate the process of working on a team during the season. 

Our goal is to make every VBI the best debate camp ever, so keep an eye out for the exciting improvements coming to VBI 2016!