VBI is far more than debate camp, at least for me. VBI is where I found my voice and my place in debate, revealing the power of advocacy within myself and my generation. It’s such an awe-inspiring moment of strength and humility to be surrounded by a family that believes in you - a nexus of growth, compassion, and learning.
— Devraat Awasthi (Agarwala/Smith)
I’ve improved more at VBI in two weeks than I have in a year at school. Attending VBI is one of the best decisions I’ve made. All the friends I’ve made here are like family and even after only knowing them for two weeks I’m really going to miss them.
— Gauri Pargaonkar (Feng/Lystad)
I would encourage everyone to attend VBI. This has quickly become a second home to me. The amount of passionate instructors willing to dedicate their time to making me a better debater is phenomenal. While it’s a workload, it is definitely worth it.
— Chloe Shames (DeBois/Nubel/Quiroz)
VBI is an enlightening experience no matter your experience or competitive goals. It combines a rigorous curriculum and intensive workload that is specialized to your skillset with a setting that encourages fun and creativity. For me VBI has been a chance for me to understand new perspectives on debate as a whole as well as meet people from all over the country who share interest in the activity I love. I would recommend VBI to anyone with any interest in debate.
— Farzaan Kaiyom (Eckert/Hunt/Smith)
Coming in to camp I had high expectations, and I left with those expectations smashed. Not only did they push me to new levels of debate, they pushed me to meet new people. The debate skills I learned here were great, but the people I met here and the family I made were the best.
— Jerry Wu (Berryhill/Gelfer/Quiroz)
VBI has altered my debate career for the better. I would recommend VBI to any individual looking for a unique, educational experience that will allow them to garner the tools necessary to be a successful debater. VBI equips debaters to not only be proficient at common strategies, but also innovate and break new barriers during the year.
— Morgan Grosch (Kuang/Quiroz/Thompson)
If you want to learn debate for the first time, this is the camp for it. If you want to improve your debate game, this is the camp for it. If you want to become the best debater that you can be, this is the camp for it. If you want to meet some of the coolest people in the world, this is the camp for it.
— Samuel Rhee (Jacobson/Warburton)
I’ve been to about every major debate camp there is . . . . VBI has definitely been the most helpful while also being one of the least stressful camps—other camps are ultra competitive to the point where camp is honestly no longer enjoyable, but VBI fosters a family environment, where I’m able to have fun with my lab (who became my best friends during camp) and also do lots of drills! And criticism after drills, no matter who I was doing them with, was always constructive, and never condescending, as I’ve experienced at other camps. VBI? More like VBY not?
— Kathy Bond (Tambe/Tartakovsky Lab)
VBI was an incredible experience and I have grown exponentially as a debater in my time here. The staff is incredible and I couldn’t have asked for a better two weeks.
— Emma Blum (Agarwala/Smith)
VBI is a family. Every lab leader has something unique to teach you, every person in your lab is like a sibling who brings something special to your lab. VBI has given me the skills to succeed, but they are rooted within my VBI family.
— Allison Gorokhovsky (Astacio/Gosain/Massac Lab)
VBI changed my life.
— Krithika Shamanna (Shimkoski/Singh/Hopkins Lab)
VBI will be the best experience of your life.
— Keaton Silver (Shimkoski/Singh/Hopkins Lab)
No other camp gives you the personal specific feedback or amazing staff ratio. The staff is diverse enough to cover any skills you want to improve on. Compared to other camps, VBI is more about what you want YOUR camp experience to be.
— Aimun Khan (Tambe/Tartakovsky Lab)
It was the best two weeks! I came to camp unsure of my debate skills. I left camp knowing that debate is some thing I love and want to work hard at. VBI was the best thing I could have possibly done for my debate career!
— Emma Hagyard (Dada/Jacobson/Krotz Lab)
One should definitely come to VBI because it gives each individual privatized attention while allowing them to work in groups. VBI creates an atmosphere that motivates everyone to work to their fullest potential.
— Nirmal Balachundhar (Hertzig/Bhave/Gelfer Lab)
VBI is a great place to come no matter your skill level. I came in with a year’s experience. I learned so much, made friends from all around the country, and had the time of my life.
— Mia Speier (Dosch/Hoffa/Li Lab)
It was a great experience that gave me everything and more than what I expected, increasing my confidence going into the upcoming season by a huge amount and giving me the tools and friendships necessary to succeed.
— Adam Brown (Hom/Nails/Shapiro Lab)
I found VBI to be one of the most amazing experiences I have had in my entire debate career. The staff is committed to each individual’s success. I learned more in one week than an entire year, and I would recommend this camp to anyone who wants to be successful in debate.
— Morgan Grosch (Astacio/Gosain/Massac Lab)
VBI was a great experience! No other camp has such amazing staff members and such a communal feel.
— Kathryn Kenny (DeBois/Kuang/Nebel/Theis Lab)
VBI offers one of the best environments of debaters of all skill levels to improve their debate skills, meet amazing life long friends and mentors, and most of all instill the love and passion towards the debate community.
— Anurag Golla (Ati/Scorpiniti/Sigalow Lab)
VBI is the most diversified camp. They hire instructors strategically so they have the ability to teach a very wide variety of concepts to the kids who attend. No matter what you want to improve on, VBI will have the resources you need.
— VBI LA Student (Tambe/Tartakovsky Lab)
VBI does a great job selecting staff with a variety of backgrounds and experiences—I felt like there were people to talk to about any topic and form of debate I was interested in. There are tons of opportunities to work one-on-one with staff and focus on your specific interests.
— Cameron McConway (Tarsney/Jalan Lab)
VBI is honesty one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Camp has improved my debate skills so much. The friends that I’ve made at camp have been life-long friends. I have so many wonderful memories from camp and I’m incredibly sad that this is my last year.
— Arin Mitchell (Hom/Nails/Shapiro Lab)
VBI is hands-down the best debate camp in the entire nation. It has amazing instructors, immaculate diversity in regards to debate positions, and an exceptional program. You cannot go wrong with VBI, and you will make life-long friends.
— Anokhi Patel (Davis-Marks/Quiroz/Zhou Lab)
I really liked VBI because of the mentorship program; it was really awesome to meet with my mentor and mentor team everyday to check it. It was really nice to have someone rooting for you other than your lab leaders who are always willing to help. It is something really special about VBI.
— Margaret Purcell (Hertzig/Bhave/Gelfer Lab)
If you want to go to a camp where you can find an instructor who will be skilled in whatever form of debate you can think of, VBI is for you. This camp goes leaps and bounds before any other LD debate camp in terms of staff and has so much to offer. I learned more in these 2 weeks than in most of my career.
— Sean Fahey (DeBois/Kuang/Nebel/Theis)
I didn’t really know what to expect when I came to VBI. But I don’t think that I ever expected it to be so sad to leave. I found friends and mentors and debate skills and family. I became much more confident in myself as a debater and a person. It reminded me how much I love debate and the people in it, and I know that I’ll always carry what I’ve learned with me, debate-related and otherwise.
— VBI LA Student (Dosch/Hoffa/Li Lab)
The staff is exceptional, the students are great, and the experience is by far the best I’ve had at any other camp. Everyone is so friendly and wonderful, it really fosters a sense of community and family. We’re a family of debaters around the country, and VBI is at the center of it.
— Ethan Qi (Hwang/Kadie/You Lab)
The atmosphere is like a family—you get to learn in a comfortable and supportive atmosphere. All the instructors try their best to see that you fulfill your debate goals.
— VBI Philadelphia Student (Kuang/Nails/Tarsney Lab)
What’s great is that nobody is ever bad. VBI makes it really clear that it isn’t about how good you were, but how good you’re getting. The community here never lets you forget that you’re always making progress, and makes a camp that lets you have fun while improving at debate.
— Kathy Wang (Kuang/Nails/Tarsney Lab)
This was a great experience. The small student to staff ratio made it so you could become close with the staff members and get personalized training. I learned more from 2 weeks at debate camp than I did throughout the school year.
— Amanda Jiang (Tanner/Rao Lab)
VBI has allowed me to venture out in the debate world. I have met incredible friends, role models, and debaters I hope to keep in touch with for the rest of my life. I will miss the camp life so much, but I hope that I can experience this again. I did PF and I absolutely loved it. I was a bit skeptical when I signed up because it was the first year of PF, but the mentors and students are just phenomenal. I couldn’t have asked for a better learning environment and experience. VBI is awesome for both PF and LD!!
— Krishna Vaidyanathan (Shimkoski/Singh/Hopkins Lab)
I heard a lot of different things people when I was trying to decide whether to come to VBI or not, with most of these comments coming from people who were not VBI alumni. Being a traditional debater, there was a lot of confusion over whether this camp would really be beneficial or not, but I can honestly say that this camp has made me a better debater and critical thinker overall, and that, no matter what your goal is in the debate world, the camp will give you the resources you need to come closer to achieving it.
— Anand Shah (Jalan/Hendrickson/Hom Lab)
VBI is a place you can get really close to both the other students and instructors. Out of all the debate camps I’ve been to, I’ve felt the most at home here, and that family feeling created a comfortable learning space.
— Caroline Hao (Lubarsky/Fraifeld/Feng Lab)
VBI has consistently been the best 2 weeks of my year and I have made lasting relationships every year with the closest friends I’ve ever had.
— Anna Lu (Theis/Nebel/Cowger/Quiroz Lab)
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 (Theis/Nebel/Cowger/Quiroz Lab)
VBI gave me the opportunity to meet some of the smartest, nicest, and funniest people in the world. The staff in less than 2 weeks have taught me so much about debate through a very flexible curriculum. Most of all, VBI led me to many new friends and a fantastic community.
— Saavan Nanavati (Theis/Nebel/Cowger/Quiroz Lab)
VBI has been a life-changing experience that will leave a continued impact on not only how I debate, but also how I live.
— Devraat Awasthi (Merchant/Jacobson/Hoffa Lab)
VBI caters to what YOU want to learn.
— Felix Cui (Zhou/Smith/Nails Lab)
Better than any other debate camp.
— Max Lee (Beane/Cavanaugh/Dada Lab)
VBI provides students with an amazing range of opportunities, and if you are willing to get involved and take advantage of what they have to offer you will have an amazing experience.
— Ethan Czerniecki (Zhou/Smith/Nails Lab)
It’s a great environment to get really unique and one on one attention from staff who clearly know what they’re doing
— Leah Yoes (Tanner/Rao Lab)
VBI taught me how to debate. Simple as that.
— Alec Wild (Shimkoski/Singh/Hopkins Lab)
VBI is family—that’s all.
— Olivia Gallager (Wheeler/Tourville/Simon Lab)
It’s a wonderful camp. I learned a lot, and I have made many lifelong friends.
— Annie Zhao (Lubarsky/Fraifeld/Feng Lab)
It’s an amazing experience. From fellow debaters to lab leaders to mentors, everyone is there to help and it brings you incredible progress as a debater.
— Shivam Kollur (Beane/Cavanaugh/Dada Lab)
VBI has a very intensive program that covers everything from drills to literature and is also very flexible when it comes to what you yourself want to learn.
— Rishabh Shah (Grishaber/Schnide/White Lab)
VBI is an amazing experience because you can teach, learn, and practice under the leadership of highly qualified leaders. This helps us learn the best way to do anything in debate.
— Dhruva Mambapoor (Nubel/Korsakov/Zhang Lab)
This was honestly the best debate experience I have ever had!
— Vincent Liu (Bower/You Lab)
VBI was the best thing that has ever happened to me.
— Matt Zinman (Theis/Nebel/Cowger/Quiroz Lab)
It is amazing. Great staff, great people, and amazing experience. Probably one of the best novice programs for LD in the nation. And one of the best places to make family.
— Jerry Wu (DeBois/Chernick Lab)
I thought that VBI would be super stressful and that I would be struggling to keep up with other people in my lab, but having access to the whole staff especially during Socrates Hour and in the Mentor Program helped me confront my weaknesses and seek to better them.
— Srija Reddy (Grishaber/Schnide/White Lab)
VBI is a great community that has taught me not only how to debate well, but also has allowed to meet some of smartest and funniest people I know.
— Henry Wu (Theis/Nebel/Cowger/Quiroz Lab)
VBI allows you to be yourself.
— Peter Yang (Lubarsky/Fraifeld/Feng Lab)
The modules, practice rounds, and lectures have helped me so much!
— Melissa Pregasen (Beane/Cavanaugh/Dada Lab)
VBI is very educational and fun. It combines the best of both worlds in the greatest possible way.
— Sarat Kotthakota (Merchant/Jacobson/Hoffa Lab)
VBI has been a great experience because I have truly learned more than I could have ever imagined. Aside from the intense curriculum, I also got to know many new people, whom I have gotten really close with.
— Kelly Shen (Shin/Walton Lab)
This was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experience I have ever had.
— Kenzo Okazaki (Chessman/Romero/Horowitz Lab)
Don’t ever be afraid to come to camp because you think you might not know enough or are afraid of other debaters. VBI accommodates well for every skill level and the environment is completely non-judgmental.
— Andrew Ruan (Nubel/Korsakov/Zhang Lab)
You learn more here in two weeks than you would in months. It’s reasonably priced and you come back with new confidence and friends. It’s an amazing experience.
— Anya Poplavksa (Grishaber/Schnide/White Lab)
I gained invaluable knowledge while at VBI. The mentors were all so helpful, and I could turn to anyone for help.
— Eun Seo Choi (Grishaber/Schnide/White Lab)
VBI is a great environment, and it’s honestly one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. The people are really friendly, and they try to make you feel right at home. You easily make new friends even if it’s hard back home. It’s an experience of a lifetime.
— Yatha Limbachiya (Tanner/Rao Lab)
VBI was an awesome experience. I learned so much and became such a better debater. The instructors were all so nice and helpful.
— Kyanna Ouyang (Tanner/Rao Lab)