5-Week Policy Program

Key Information

Dates: June 19 – July 23, 2022

Location: In-Person

Tuition: $5500

($300 non-refundable deposit required for registration)

We are pleased to announce that the California National Debate Institute will be in-person for the summer of 2022. Please note that proof of vaccination against COVID-19 is required for all students and staff.

Students will be guaranteed low student-to-staff ratios, greater access to more of our staff, and one of the most competitive tuition rates in the country. As well as a humane schedule!

Our staff is one of the best in the country! Students will be provided with high-level instruction that will prepare them for a competitive and successful debate season.

Why Choose the Bears Lab?

• Successful formula – Our staff have worked with regional programs, state champions, TOC winners, and top speakers. We understand all levels and aspects of high school debate.

• Performance focused – Participation in dozens of debates, judged by our diverse group of lab leaders, will give students an edge of 3+ tournaments worth of practice over opponents.

• Reasonable Pricing – We are offering better instruction with greater attention to students needs at a lower cost than other extended length camps. The Bears lab is the best possible option for students looking to dramatically improve their skill and knowledge!

• College readiness – Students will learn to prepare and perform so they’ll be ready to contribute to a college debate team on day 1.

I loved my experience in the Bears lab! There was an excellent balance between in-depth, nuanced research and refining skills. We got to work with some of the most brilliant, dynamic minds in debate (speaking tips from three of the top speakers at the NDT was such a privilege!). The faculty–everyone from lab instructors to RAs–would go out of their way to share advice, listen to and evaluate our ideas, and provide support. I really enjoyed the lectures, which were both informative and engaging. There was a healthy mixture of “policy” and “critical” education, and I felt that I became a substantially more versatile debater as a result. It never felt like camp was too long because there was such a diversity of activities in lab, from pertinent guest lectures to well-run research sessions to outdoor philosophical discussions.

Kathy Min

Centennial High School

My summer at the [CNDI] was easily one of the best experiences of my life. Surrounded by top debate minds we quickly developed an unbelievable work ethic after many practice debates, whose RFDs were sometimes extremely long because they were not afraid to dedicate countless hours towards making each one of us better. The intensive research sessions and inclusive group discussions helped me learn everything from abstract theory to debating in college. However, not only did i have a great learning experience, I also had the opportunity to meet some of the greatest people, from my lab leaders who were great people to top debaters from all over the country–all while living on one of the most fun campuses in the country. In the end, Berkeley is a great place with great people, great food, and amazing weather!

Nancy Vargas

Kapaun Mount Carmel High School


Michael Klinger

Michael Klinger

UC Berkeley

Michael Klinger was one of the most successful debaters of all time. In high school, he won more than a dozen tournaments including the Tournament of Champions and two National Forensic League (now the National Speech and Debate Association) National Championships. In college, he was the winner and/or top speaker at more than one-third of the tournaments he attended, including the National Debate Tournament (top speaker) and Cross-Examination Debate Association National Championship (champion and two-time top speaker). Based on a survey of college coaches, Michael was voted the best debater of the decade for 2000-2010.

Michael has enjoyed similar success as a coach. Teams with his assistance have won nearly every major national tournament at the high school and collegiate level, including the TOC, NFL Nationals, and the NDT. He also has substantial experience teaching at summer debate institutes, having worked as a lab instructor at the University of Iowa, University of Kentucky, Gonzaga University, and the University of Michigan. Michael looks forward to bringing that expertise to the CNDI this summer.

Mike Shackelford

Mike Shackelford

Rowland Hall St. Marks

In his years of coaching at Rowland Hall, Mike has qualified numerous teams to the TOC, including three quarterfinalists and a semi-finalists. His teams have received bids at almost every major national tournament including championships or top speaker awards at Grapevine, Meadows, Notre Dame, Alta, Blake, Stanford, Golden Desert, and Berkeley. He has also coached multiple state champions and three Top 5 finishers at NSDA Nationals, including the 2010 runners-up. In college, Mike was a four-time NDT qualifier for Weber State University and won a number of tournaments.

Jyleesa Hampton

Jyleesa Hampton

Presentation HS/University of Kansas

Jyleesa Hampton is the Assistant Director of Speech and Debate at Presentation High School. While finishing another year as KU Debate coach she is also currently completing her Phd in Public Administration, focusing on American policing, carceral policy, law and administration. Leveraging more than 10 years of debate experience as a elite competitor, nationally recognized collegiate coach and experienced high school instructor she is a fierce argumentation professional. Jyleesa is also a strong advocate for making debate accessible to everyone and welcoming to all kinds of styles. She proudly serves her community as an advocate for speech & debate, the Board Chair of the Women’s Debate Institute and the Communications Director for the Association of Black Argumentation Professionals.

Malcolm Gordon

Malcolm Gordon

The Meadows School

Malcolm is entering his third year at The Meadows School after coaching for 9 years at UMKC. As a debater at UMKC, he was top speaker at CEDA nationals, a first-round team to the NDT, a two-time top 10 speaker at the NDT, and lost in the finals of the 2007 NDT for a second place finish.  As a college coach for 9 seasons, he coached teams to the elimination rounds of every major national tournament and the finals of CEDA nationals.  At the NDT he’s coached teams in the doubles, octafinals, and quarterfinals.  In his first year coaching high school debate at the Meadows School, his team received 6 TOC bids, and advanced to the semifinals of the Glenbrooks tournament.  This is his 15th year teaching at summer institutes.

Nathan Fleming

Nathan Fleming

UC Berkeley

Nathan is a rising senior at UC Berkeley pursuing majors in political science and history. Last year, he and his partner, Miles Gray, were 2nd seed and octofinalists at the National Debate Tournament. This year, Nathan received a first round at-large bid to the NDT. He has experience doing a wide variety of different kinds of debate, and is incredibly excited to be back in an instruction position for the summer.