The Voices Foundation was able to assist twenty students (nineteen through direct financial aid; one through facilitating assignment of a scholarship donated by the National Debate Forum) attending Lincoln-Douglas debate camps/institutes during the Summer of 2010.  The students and their comments follow....

THEIR COMMENTS:

When I first thought about what debate camp I would like to attend this summer, I knew I would want to go to one of NDF’s sessions. I had gone there the year prior, and my experience had been amazing. I knew I wanted to be challenged, so NDF was the camp for me. Each day was crammed with lectures, labs and electives that always helped me improve my debate skills. We also had practice debates almost daily, that helped us work on skills and different strategies. Everyday our lab leaders (Tom Evnen and Ernie Rose) pushed my lab beyond our limits. Debate camp was the hardest and most grueling experience I have ever been through, but I would never change a thing about it.

When I started thinking about debate camps, I discussed my ability to go with my parents. But I knew money had been tight for us, and they told me that they knew I loved debate, but I just would not be able to go. It was not in our budget, and my parents just did not understand how important going to a debate camp is to help you become a better debater. I was heartbroken, and I asked if I could spend my own money on debate camp. My parents knew I did not have much, and they did not want me to spend it all on debate. Thanks to the Voices Scholarship and the National Debate Forum, I was able to attend debate camp, and experience one of the greatest, hardest and most rewarding things I have ever been through.

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Voices has relentlessly assisted my growth as a debater. Every year that I've attended the Mean Green Institute at UNT, Voices has been there to assist me. This year, I wouldn't have been able to attend without their generous support because my family isn't financially able. 

Voices gave me the opportunity to be heard; the opportunity to inform the debate community about the difficulties associated with being a minority without the funds that are provided to more elite programs. Fortunately, I was placed in the top lab at MGW. Although presented with the misfortune of destroying my laptop and being confined to my roommates iPad, I placed second at the camp tournament. Without Voices and their supporters, I would not have been presented with that opportunity.

Overall, this foundation has been by my side and they have handled my financial burden as I grew as a debater. This year, I hope to wear a Voices T-shirt on my back as I attend the Tournament of Champions.

For the last time: Thank-you Voices and I wish your foundation good blessings.

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Debate camp was a very amazing experience for me. I learned so much, and I feel greatly accomplished. I am hoping to get a speech and debate scholarship for college. Attending WNDI really pushed me over the edge with knowledge. I know that because I went to this camp I will be a increasingly better debater.

My mom's job in the school district was cut due to budget cuts. My dad works in the car business, and that's not doing too well either. I wanted more than anything just to be able to go to camp and Voices Foundation made my dreams come true. Thank you so much.

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I have been able to attend debate camp both this summer and last summer due to the Voices Foundation, and it has shaped my life in drastic and innumerable ways. Due to my family’s collective income of under 35,000 a year and with my brother in college, camp was not an option for me without aid. When I received the email telling me that the Voices Foundation would assist me, I was indescribably grateful. Due to their financial help, I’ve learned more about myself, the world, and the activity of debate than I imagined possible. At camp, I was introduced to many new philosophical ideas and debate practices, as well as sharpening the speaking and analytical skills I already possessed from my debate career. I was given the opportunity to work with brilliant minds in the debate community, and to meet fellow debaters that share my passion for life and respectful argumentation that have become my lifelong friends. Their donations opened doors for me not only in terms of my debate skills and new networking avenues, but I also grew as a person, student, and citizen of the world. Thank you, Voices Foundation.

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Attending the Stanford summer debate camp (SNFI) has been an excellent opportunity for me in many ways. For one, I had the chance to experience what student life is like at Stanford; I stayed in a dormitory with a roommate, ate food at the cafeteria, and walked around the campus extensively. This all made me feel like a Stanford student. Another great aspect at the camp was that I learned a lot of new skills that I hadn’t known before I went to the camp. I was new to debate this past year, and SNFI provided me with solid basics about debate and taught me special terminology and skills. I feel that I have learned more at this summer camp than I did during the entire school year on my team. Additionally, all of the instructors I met at the camp were amazing and well-qualified people with exuberant enthusiasm about debate. I had the chance to be acquainted with Justin Hinojoza, of whom I am an ardent fan.

My family and I came to America in late 2006. We stayed for about two years before going back to Korea. There, my mom went through a very difficult process to renew our visas and, as a result, we (my mom, brother and I) were able to come back to America. We had limited amount of money, and this scholarship played such a pivotal role in enabling me to attend the Stanford summer debate camp.

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I returned from NSD yesterday. The knowledge I gained, along with the camp experience in general, was phenomenal; this camp is definitely the best out of all of the camps I've been to during the past summers. The NSD staff was very helpful and always eager to answer my questions. I felt like NSD has made me a better debater in that I can understand the more technical debate ideas, such as: theory, kritiks, etc. My research skills have also become more efficient. I feel that everything I have learned here will help me do better on the national circuit this coming year. Thank you so much for helping me financially, allowing me to attend such a wonderful camp!

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Attending Victory Briefs Institute this summer was by far one of the best experiences I have ever had. The program was fantastic and I was given access to a wide variety of staff that taught me skills and drills that I had never even heard of and helped me with absolutely everything from lay debate to extremely technical and philosophical debate. They would stay up until all hours of the night helping us learn these things, as well. It was intense and challenging, and I learned more at camp than I learned all year debating. I come from a school with a tiny, under-funded debate program. VBI gave me a chance to meet debaters from all over the country and make connections on other teams, making it easier for me to travel and practice next year. Without the aid I received from the Voices Foundation, I would never have gained any of this new knowledge or made any of these connections. I am forever grateful.

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We are a family of 7, and I am the youngest of 5 children.  Each of my brothers and sisters has attended college at some point in the past 3-4 years and 2 are still full-time students today.  We have always been a family of modest means, and those things which are "out of our budget" are usually always kept out of mind, rarely ever considered a possibility, and almost never pursued.  So when something comes along that just I want to do, something that would ONLY benefit me, I began to feel guilty, and try and convince myself that it was something I really didn't need.  However, debate camp was one of these things for me.  I knew I desperately wanted the experience but could never think of a way that we would be able to afford the costs.  I immediately did all I could to exhaust every resource I had so that I could, perhaps, make this dream a real possibility.  It was at this point of desperation and deep desire that I discover the Voices Foundation.  I remember thinking how amazing it was, an organization of former passionate debaters like myself who knew that they could give back to the "next generation."  I was giddy when I found out that the Foundation was going to be able to assist me.

Camp became an irreplaceable memory for me.  I was able to finally connect theory and application and the many other small details which comprise debate and which I had no other way of learning.  I came to discover my true love for debate.  The things which I used to get frustrated at, now I am excited about, opening myself up to the possibilities which every failure or new knowledge opened up for me.  I can credit Voices Foundation directly with this amazing experience. I keep my camp notes close by at all times, am continually using the knowledge I gained there, and will forever remember the experience that I was able to gain at this special time in my life.  The Voices Foundation has a very respectable and worthy goal, and I am proof that they are accomplishing it.  I am so grateful for their financial assistance and know that as the Foundation grows many more students, such as myself, will be greatly impacted by their generous and kind efforts. I will forever be in debited to the Voices Foundation for their generous investment into my future.

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The National Symposium for Debate was an incredible experience for me on multiple levels. The staff and general community allowed me to not only develop as a debater, but gain insight into my true goals in the activity and life outside of it. The camp is like none other I have heard or read about, teaching me everything from the fundamentals of debate to the most complex of strategies.

The grant from the Voices Foundation proved to be a truly miraculous step for me in my career as a debater, and life in general. In terms of the economic situation that prompted me to pursue assistance from the foundation, I can offer a brief summary. My father’s small business has been consistently deteriorating over the past decade. In effect, his efforts at work at best hold the business above water, rather than providing a notable income or profit. My mother’s income, while more consistent, has proved to be far less than enough to (along with my father’s) comfortabley provide for our family, especially in the current economic situation. In so far as she has not received a raise in the last few years, our situation seems as if it will remain stagnant. Thank you, Voices, for recognizing our situation and aiding my parents in their support for my passion: Debate.

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I do not have the resources of a school behind me, so my family helps me attend tournaments and supports my preparation.  I had done better than we expected my novice year and looked forward to taking my ability to the next level by attending the National Symposium for Debate.  We would not have had the resources to enable me to attend NSD in summer 2010 if it had not been for the generous help of the Voices Foundation.  My debate activites are an important component of my education and I know that in the future my debate experience will continue to underlay my college and professional success.  I will always be grateful to the Voices Foundation for helping me to develop further.

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The Voices Foundation literally made the difference for me and a couple of my friends to be able to go to debate camp, which was possibly one of the greatest experiences of my life. If it wasn't enough that I spent two weeks at college, learning about nothing but debate, I also made some great friends with a lot of the campers and a bunch of the staff, but overall, I received experience and techniques that I could not have gotten if I had not gone, and it will put me along way towards my goals. Like I said, all of this and more was all thanks to the Voices Foundation. Thank you so much. 

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Debate camp was one of the best things I’ve done for my debate career! I got to put skills I heard about into practice, collaborate with debaters from all over the nation, and learn from expert lab leaders. I had so much fun, while improving my debating dramatically. I feel very prepared going into the next year and teaching my debate team with all the skills I’ve aquired. Without the support of the Voices Foundation, going to camp would have been a major hardship on my family and I. The Voices Foundation’s support significantly relieved this burden, which helped people like me – who are passionate about debate, but who find it a hardship to afford things such as camp. Thanks so much Voices! You made all the difference!

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I truly valued my experience in the VBI debate camp.  It was my first and is my last time I would ever attend VBI as a debater because this coming year is my senior year in high school.  I made new friends, got to experience life in a college campus, and undoubtedly learn a ton.  The reason why I wanted to go to debate camp to begin with was to make the most of my senior year in an activity that enjoyed participating in, going to camp really made that goal a possibility.  Whether it was the great instructors, yummy food, or life-changing lessons; the camp never failed to deliver!  I really do cherish the opportunity I was given to participate and be a part of such a great community of high school scholars.  Thank you so much Voices Foundation for making a dream into reality for me.

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This summer I attended the 2nd Session of the Victory Briefs Institute. At camp, I had the opportunity to work with one-on-one with various staff members, and I worked on developing my skils in particular areas. I feel that I am a much better theory debater now, and I am am much more comfortable responding to critical positions. As a student at Session II, I also left the camp with research on the September/October topic, which I know will help me during the year. Overall, I feel ready to compete in deep elimination rounds at the biggest of tournaments. I am so grateful for the Voices Foundation and what it has done for me. Voices has provided me with the opportunity to attend camp and get better before the debate season, and I will always be thankful.

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Attending WNDI wouldn't have been possible without the Voices Foundation. Debate has helped every single aspect of my life and I am so glad that the expenses of it hasn't held me back thanks to foundations and scholarships like this one.

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THE STUDENTS:

Fasih Ahsan
Granada Hills Charter High School, Granada Hills, California
Victory Briefs Institute

Danny Ray Alexander
Mayde Creek High School, Houston, Texas
University of North Texas "Mean Green" LD Debate Camp

Hannah M. Begley
Mountain View High School, Mesa, Arizona
University of Iowa National Summer Institute in Forensics

Justin Bott
Blackfoot High School, Blackfoot, Idaho
Whitman National Debate Institute

Gabriel Bronshteyn
Monte Vista High School, Danville, California
National Symposium for Debate

Brad Carter
Blackfoot High School, Blackfoot, Idaho
Whitman National Debate Institute

Jessica Connor
Saint Francis High School, Mountain View, California
Victory Briefs Institute

Kodi Foresee
Blackfoot High School, Blackfoot, Idaho
Whitman National Debate Institute

Gabriel Hajyousif
Carl Sandburg High School,  Orland Park, Illinois
Victory Briefs Institute

Julia Jaquin
Rocky Mountain High School, Meridian Idaho
Whitman National Debate Institute

Gookjin Jeong
Fairview High School, Boulder, Colorado
Stanford National Forensics Institute

Shanna Liu
Vestavia Hills High School, Vestavia Hills, Alabama
National Symposium for Debate

Kristina Maude
Dowling Catholic High School, West Des Moines, Iowa
National Debate Forum

Joseph M. Millman
Homeschool, Green Brook, New Jersey
National Symposium for Debate

Melanie Nadon
Los Osos High School , Rancho Cucamonga, California
Victory Briefs Institute

Alexander Ong
Federal Way High School,  South Federal Way, Washington
Victory Briefs Institute

Michael Prideaux
St. Louis Park High School, St. Louis Park, Minnesota
Institute4Debate

Shawn Tuteja
The Altamont School, Birmingham, Alabama
Victory Briefs Institute

Rachelle  Walker
Monticello High School, Monticello, New York
Victory Briefs Institute

Haylee Young
Salado High School, Salado, Texas
Texas Speech & Debate Camp, University of Mary Hardin Baylor