The Voices Foundation was able to assist 22 students attending Lincoln-Douglas debate camps/institutes during the Summer of 2011.  The students and their comments follow....


Attending debate camp this summer not only increased my debate ability tremendously, but it allowed me a two week experience where I was treated like an adult by having extensive work assignments and meeting life- long friends. Going in to camp, I was not expecting the rigorousness of the curriculum, such as working from 8:00 AM to 3:00 AM, leaving me five hours of sleep. But oddly, that made little difference, because the camp was so fun, that I didn't want to sleep, I just wanted to debate! It's amazing how much better I felt about my skill leaving camp. It prepares you to be the most successful debater the next season. Also, having the ability to be the first in my family to see the East coast with such great friends was amazing. At camp, you aren't competing rival schools fighting to be the best, rather, you are a family helping each other. That's something I'll never forget. 

With that said, NONE of this would have been possible without the help of VOICES. For me personally, I was told in the winter I would not be allowed to attend debate camp because we simply did not have the money. I knew I could not put my family in a situation where they had to pay for me, with both my parents fighting to put food on the table for me and my three siblings.  So, I went out and got a job, but as the deadline for camp approached, the few paychecks I was able to save up was barely enough for the flight. If it was not for my coach recommending this program to me, I would have been denied the opportunity of a life time. This scholarship was the ONLY way I was making it to camp. I'm forever thankful to VOICES, not just because they allowed me to get the experience needed to compete on a national level doing something I'm so passionate about, or because they made it possible for me to travel outside of the Midwest for once in my life, but because they helped me realize there are people out there willing to help those less fortunate live their dreams. 

Debate camp has definitely been an excellent experience for me.  I got to go to NSD this year, which is an excellent camp and a great learning environment.  I had only been to VBI before and, although it is also an excellent camp, it was very beneficial for me to get different perspectives at a new camp.  We spent a lot of time discussing things that are going to be really important next season, and I feel much more prepared for the year now.  I got to spend a lot of time working specifically with instructors who could help me improve on my weaknesses and become a much better debater.

In previous summers, I had received financial aid from camp.  Although I got a some this year, camp was still very expensive.  With my two people in my family in college and while going through a difficult financial time, the money from the Voices Foundation was essential to my attending camp.  I am very thankful for the help I received.  The foundation's commitment to allowing more debaters to attend camp is extremely generous and greatly appreciated. 

This summer I attending the WNDI. Coming off a great novice year with some WNDI experience from last year it made things a lot of fun. My lab leaders (Katie Bergus and Joe Allen) really pushed me along for improvement and learning.  Each day we had a variety of lectures and labs that I consistently learned something new. I feel camp this year really set me up for my goals and future achievements of my coming years. I also made alot of new friends that I wouldn't have otherwise.

My love for debate could have been hindered by our financial situation. It was hard seeing the reality of not going to camp after such a great novice season. I luckily heard of the Voices Foundation which really help me get to camp. Voices Foundation is a great thing for people having trouble fulfilling there potential as a debater and need a good kick-start from camp. Thank  you Voices Foundation for giving me my opportunity.

Over the past year I have happily made policy debate a large part of my life and academic experience, and being able to got to camp was crucially important to my debate career. When I told my parents how much the prestigious Whitman National Debate Institute would cost they were apprehensive to send me, but fortunately the Voices Foundation was able to give me a scholarship that greatly lessened the financial burden.

Not only was camp a complete blast where I met a plethora of smart, amazing people, but also a place where I was challenged to be a better thinker and student. In addition, my coaches will be leaving my school soon, leaving me and my team as the new teachers for the next generation. Because of the in-depth instruction I received I feel more confident in my skills, which will end up helping not only me, but also my school. I think debate is one of the most educationally enriching activities anyone can participate in, and anyone who can help any kid further this activity is doing something wonderful for that individual.

With that I give the Voices Foundation a hearty thank you for the invaluable service they do for the debate community.

Debate camp is one of the best ways to grow as a debater. This summer, I think I have grown the most as a debater because this is my last year of high school and I worked harder than I have before to make sure that I could reach my full potential. NSD was the most educational, fun, and dynamic camp I have attended. Not only did I learn what strategies to use, I also learned how to implement them. I became more diligent and more excited about debate than I have ever been before. NSD was definitely the high light of my summer. 

Debate is an inherently exclusive activity with many top level debaters attending several weeks of debate camp, hiring several coaches and traveling around the country almost every weekend. The Voices Foundation works to bring more equality to one of the most educational high school activities by allowing debaters to go to debate camp and learn from the best debaters and coaches in the country. If I had not attended debate camp, my skills would have suffered because I would be behind other competitors because of a lack of resources, something I have no control over. In many ways, camp is one of the best ways to up my game as a debater, broaden my horizons and get national circuit experience without having to attend every national circuit tournament.

Attending debate camp has definitely been one of the most beneficial  experiences of my life. Thanks to the Voices Foundation, I was able  to grow as a debater(I understand theory now!) and interact with many students and instructors with ideas and perspectives radically different from my own.

Due to my family's difficult financial situation, attending camp this year would not have been feasible without help from the Voices Foundation. It's hard to debate without a coach or administrative support, but the skills I learned at camp will definitely change the outcome of this debate season for me, and my teammates will also benefit from the information I have learned.

I grew so much as a debater in the short two weeks that I spent at NSD. I was inspired to try new things at camp in the areas that I struggled the most at. I grew a lot as a framework debater, as I know understand the basic aspects  of stock frameworks. NSD also helped me to become a better technical debate, my lab leaders gave plenty of weighing lectures and drills. The instruction given to me by the best debaters helped me not only to become more confident in myself and my own skills but also to branch out and not limit myself to what I know best. I learned more in that session than I did in a year of debating. I cannot wait to start debating on the circuit this year. NSD is one of the best camps that I have attended.

The Voices Foundation played a huge role in me going to camp. My mom is a single parent and she pays for mine, my sister's, and my brother's education. There wasn't really a lot of money for me to go to camp. Without the  scholarship from the Voices Foundation I would not have been able to go to debate camp. Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity!

My experience at Victory Briefs Institute was tremendously beneficial. Not only was my camp experience educational, it was also very fun. Attending debate camp this past summer changed how I view the entire activity for the better. Now I have a friends across the nation whom I can ask for debate advice. Attending VBI would not have been possible without the generous scholarship given to me by the Voices Foundation. Thank you.

In the time I spent at NSD, I was able to grow as a debater and as a thinker. I was was constantly challenged by my lab leaders and lab mates as well by everyone else a camp during the nightly meetings in the lounge where there were was always the sound of someone doing drills. I came into the camp as a relatively strong debater and left prepared for the challenging years ahead with an insight into the argumentation what will be prevalent this year as well as the cutting edge strategies to combat them.

The Voices Foundation made it possible for me to attend NSD and grow as a debater. I simply would not have been able to attend camp without the foundation's financial support. Debate camp is essential to being competitive and knowledgeable on the circuit, and without it I wouldn't be able to stay competitively successful.  I can not say how thankful I am that I was awarded support from The Voices Foundation

The Voices Foundation assisted me in attending National Symposium for Debate this summer, and I am forever grateful for the aid they generously provided. When thinking about attending camp, I knew my parents would do everything possible to help me go, but considering our financial situation I didn’t feel right asking for such a sacrifice. After a long year of unexpected medical costs, a sudden death in the family, and my sister going to college, affording camp on our own wasn’t really an option. I learned so much at debate camp, and made friends that I hope will last a lifetime. I have always thought the Voices Foundation is an amazing project- some of the smartest, most dedicated debaters I know also happen to be the ones that have financial difficulty. The ability to go to camp can help debaters be more competitive in the activity, and also learn necessary skills. Thank you to the Voices Foundation for making camp possible not only for me, but for all the incredible debaters and dedicated workers who were able to realize their full potential because of the assistance of the foundation. 

I'd like to very much thank the Voices foundation for giving me money in order to be able to attend the Whitman Debate Institute. The WNDI allowed me to become more aware of the greater debate community, and to recognize the very different people, giving me more of an insight than just my local circuit. Also the coaching was incredible, as coming from a school who never really had a committed coach to debate, to have the hands-on coaching from experienced debaters  was a complete dream. Finally the best thing that I can get everything from the debate camp, was the knowledge that I can now bring back to my friends and teammates back home, in order to help a small debate team grow from more than just me, but to have a real team on the circuit.

I hope that in the future that people will be willing to donate to the Voices Foundations in order for more people to be able to afford debate camp. Personally without the extra money I got from the Voices Foundation there is no way that I would have been able to go to debate camp. Coming from a single mother who has to take care of me and my siblings working on a small wage, even trying to think of having $2000 to throw out on a debate camp seems to be impossible. Sadly, I know that there are other people who are out there who also are in that kind of circumstance, and hope that they can also be just as blessed as I.

Going to things such as debate camp or any kind of summer camp/program has never been an option or a possibility for me and my family, and when I found out last school year that the Voices Foundation would provide me with Financial Help, I was finally given that opportunity to do so. However, this chance was not for something insignificant but for something that has allowed me to grow as a debater, person, and even friend and I do not believe you can get this kind of growth completely from just anywhere. I truly feel that debate camp is one of the few places you can get access this kind of knowledge and experiences, so I feel very lucky to have had that chance given to me thanks to the Voices Foundation.

In the 2 weeks that I spent at UNT, I never thought I would learn as much as I did at camp, but I did! A lot of parts of Texas and in my Houston circuit, it is very competitive and I never really knew or understood the complexities and ranges of the types of debating styles there were until I got to camp. I think this opportunity that I was given has definitely aided and benefited me because I have now gone to a few tournaments since the school year began and I have noticed a significant improvement overall that I have made because of debate camp. I also learned so much from my lab leaders about case writing, making and running critical arguments, and even how to project more confidence which is what a large portion of what debate consists of. The camp itself was also very comforting, I made new friends and I enjoyed the lectures given very much.

Thanks to the generosity from the Voices Foundation I was able to attend the National Symposium for Debate Camp for two weeks this past summer. The work at NSD helped me to improve as a debater, and to achieve success. I improved in multiple fields in terms of delivering rebuttals, and my knowledge about different philosophical and theoretical aspects of debate. Without Voices support, this would have been untenable.

My mother offered me a simple choice last summer:  I could attend debate camp, or I could participate in non-local debate tournaments this year, but I would have to choose.  My family simply didn't have enough resources for both as they struggled to pay for college tuition and recover from the recession.  Voices came through for me and made it possible for me to do both.  Debate is too important to be confined to those who can easily afford it; when I am able I will try to return the favor to Voices to help them help others.


Rae Akinsanya
Hopkins High School
Minnetonka, MN

Genesis Anguiano
Downey High School
Downey, CA

Jamis Barcott
Glacier Peak High School
Snohomish, WA

Abhilasha Bhola
Annie Wright School
Tacoma WA

Shannon Carroll
Snohomish High School
Snohomish, WA

Olivia Davis
Annie Wright School
Tacoma, WA

Isaac Hopkins
Salado High School
Salado, TX

Jay Howard
Lakes High School
Lakewood, WA

Grant Laverty
Ankeny High School
Ankeny, IA

Terrence Lonam
Lake Highland Preparatory School
Orlando, Florida, 32804

Ryan Joan Lowder
Eagan High School
Eagan, Minnesota

James Austin McGuire
Camdenton High School
Camdenton, MO

Joseph Millman

Megan Nubel
West Des Moines Valley High School
West Des Moines, Iowa

Jacob Pollack
Milken Community High School
Los Angeles, CA

Eden Powell
Thurston High School
Springfield, OR

Jacob Pritt
Jesuit High School
New Orleans, LA

Melisa Ribera
Mayde Creek High School
Houston, TX

Katherine Schulder-Battis
The Berkeley Carroll School
Brooklyn, NY

Colton Smith
Wenatchee High School
Wenatchee, WA

Hiyawan Solomon
Immaculate Heart High School
Los Angeles, CA

Thomas Wilson
Bakersfield High School
Bakersfield, CA