Frequently Asked Questions
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Applying to Camp
Which session should I choose?
The 5-week Policy session is designed for highly motivated current high school policy debaters with at least a year of experience, who want to improve their competitive skills and topic knowledge before the next season.
The 3-week Policy session is designed for current policy debaters of all skill levels, who may not want to attend camp for the full 5-weeks, but still want a focus on skill development for competitive debating
The 2-week Public Forum session is designed for public forum debaters of all skill levels interested in improving their skills at competitive PF debate.
The 1-week Middle School Intro to Debate camps are day camps designed to introduce younger students to the fundamentals of argument, debate, and public speaking, and have a curriculum and schedule geared towards middle school students.
Are there any experience requirements?
There are no experience requirements, we have programs available for all different levels. We have had students attend with no experience whatsoever and we have had students attend who are in the late elims of national tournaments.
I don’t have a partner coming to camp. Will that be a problem?
That’s no problem at all. Most students coming to our camp don’t have a prearranged partner. We will match you up with a partner in your small working group within the first week of camp.
Is there an age requirement?
Our 3 and 5-week Policy camps and 2-week Public Forum camp are generally geared towards students in high school (including rising 9th graders), ages 14-18, though we will consider accepting younger students in some cases.
Our 1-week and 2-week Middle School day camp programs are designd specifically for students in 6th-8th grade (ages 12-14).
When is the application deadline?
We accept applications until June 1 or until we fill our available space, whichever comes first.
About the Camp
Who runs the CNDI? Are you affiliated with UC Berkeley?
The CNDI is run by a 501c3 non-profit operated under the auspices of a UC Berkeley Sponsored Campus Organization affiliated with the campus LEAD center, which houses the University’s debate team, and is run by administrative staff who also work with the debate team.
All of our instructors are high school or college coaches and their bios are posted on our staff page.
Is the CNDI an overnight/residential camp?
Yes – our in-person camp is a residential camp, including weekends, for the duration of each session. Room and board are included in the tuition. If you live locally in the Bay Area and would like to commute to the camp, email us to discuss options (though we unfortunately cannot offer a tuition discount to commuters).
What does the daily schedule look like?
Each day of the camp is different, comprised of a mix of scheduled practice debates, tournaments, large group lectures, small group labs, research sessions, etc.
Most days, there are three lab sessions (times approximate):
Morning Lab: 9am-12pm
Afternoon Lab: 1pm-5pm
Evening Lab: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Each lab session will be a mix of practice debates, lectures, one-on-one skills work with instructors, rebuttal redos, research time, etc. The lab leaders are very good at mixing things up to keep activities fresh and avoid students getting burnt out. There are also breaks mixed in for fun activities.
Weekends are usually a lighter schedule (e.g. longer breaks on Saturdays, half-day labs on Sunday).
What happens on weekends?
Weekends still have camp programming, but tend to be more relaxed than the rest of the week and incorporate more “fun time.” Sundays don’t start until after lunch, to allow students a chance to sleep in.
Where are students housed during camp?
Housing arrangments differ from year-to-year depending on availability, institute size, etc. Some years, students are housed in on-campus doors at UC Berkeley.
Other years, housing is in campus-adjacent sorority houses with dorm-style accommodations used exclusively for our program over the summer (there are no college students in residence).
All housing is secured by key card entry and is monitored 24/7 by live-in residential staff.
Depending on room sizes and availability, students are typically paired with another CNDI camper as a roommate.
What are meals like during camp?
We cater lunch and dinner every day from a variety of area restaurants. We’ve found most students prefer to sleep in rather than have a catered breakfast, but we have areas available in the dorms to store breakfast food if a student wants to have something on hand. Alternately, there are many places within a very short walking distance to pick up food in the mornings.
We’re happy to accommodate special dietary needs with all meals.
What should I bring to camp?
* Clothes – Students should bring clothing appropriate for Bay Area summer weather. Berkeley is generally mild and pleasant, but can be hot during the day and still get chilly enough to want a jacket/sweater at night.
* Personal Toiletries – there are also multiple convenience stores nearby if a student forgets e.g. their toothbrush
* Pillows, blankets, towels, and bedspreads. The beds are twin sized.
* Laptop – this is required, as modern debate increasingly relies on “paperless” debating for research, speaking, etc.
* Flow paper
Students are not permitted to have candles, incense, or other burnables in the dorms. Students are not permitted to have microwaves, coffee pots, toasters, or mini refrigerators in their rooms. There will be a communal refrigerator that students can use to store breakfast and snacks foods. Students are expected to eat these items in the dining spaces and not in their rooms.
What kind of laptop should I bring?
Any kind of relatively modern laptop (PC or Mac) will work. Microsoft Word is also strongly recommended, as the software used by most debaters only works with Office. As such, we recommend against using a Chromebook or tablet, as they will not work with Office.
Are laundry facilities available?
Can I attend religious services while at camp?
Yes – there are multiple religious services on or near the UC Berkeley campus. Please contact us about arranging access to these in advance.
Can I exercise while at camp?
Yes – students can purchase a day pass from the UC Berkeley gym, or students frequently choose to go for a run on campus.
Will I need spending money?
Tuition includes room and board, but most students choose to bring a few hundred dollars in spending money for things like souveneirs, late-night pizza, or the occasional snack/meal outside the dorms.
Can I request a roommate?
Yes, there is a place to indicate a roommate request on the application form. Mutual requests are typically honored.
How do students get to the camp?
Travel logistics instructions coming soon.
Can I arrive late or leave early?
While we generally reccomend students attend the entire camp to get the most out of the instruction, we understand that some students may need to arrive late or leave early due to other commitments. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer any discounts or proration for students coming late or leaving early, as we have to pay for room and board for the full length of camp.
When do students depart camp?
Students depart camp either the final Friday night or Saturday morning of their session. The last lab session of camp ends at 5pm on Friday night of the final week of camp. Students have the option of leaving Friday night, or by 10am on Saturday morning.
Can we visit our student during camp?
Yes – parents and authorized guardians are welcome to visit their students at camp. Please contact the camp office to schedule any visit in advance.
Can I check my student out during camp?
Yes – parents and authorized guardians can check students out. Anyone checking out a student must physically go to the camp office to check out the student.
Tuition and Payment
Can I get a refund?
Payments are non-refundable since our costs all need to be arranged in advance.
Do you have any discounts available?
Early Bird Discount: $100 deduction if deposit is paid before March 5th.
School Group Discount: 5% discount if 4 or more students from your school are attending our camp. Students must list the names of other attendees in the notes section of the application.
Is financial aid available?
We have very limited financial aid available. To apply for assistance, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with an explanation of your financial need and tax documents. We typically award scholarships by mid-April.
How do I make a payment?
You can make payments for tuition at:
Health & Safety
What are your COVID policies and procedures?
For more information, see our page on COVID Policies & Procedures.
What if I get sick during camp?
A staff member will accompany you to a local medical facility.