Mean Green Comet Debate Institute

Lincoln Douglas

What to Expect

At the Mean Green Comet Debate Institute, we believe there are a core set of skills one must cultivate and perfect to be a superior debater. This means each day you will be speaking, writing, and reading. We will target specific weaknesses with drills based on decades of competition and coaching.

Your time each day will be spent in the following areas:

Lab – Here you will work with your lab leaders and peers to write cases, participate in various speaking and argument generation drills, and to continue learning and advancing the areas addressed during lectures and electives.

Lectures – These all-camp lectures will be divided by skill set and experience. For example, the affirmative casing lecture will have an option to attend “establishing ground” as well as an option for “advanced casing techniques.” Expect every lecture to have a drill component and to leave with material to better prepare you for camp and your competitive season.

Electives – You have lots of choices at MGCDI! Electives are your opportunity to focus on a specific area you would like to improve in and to learn how to write and respond to more nuanced types of arguments. Additionally, we provide the unique opportunity for students to offer and lead their own electives. Electives will fall into one of the following categories:

Philosophy and Politics

These electives are all content based to help students deepen their knowledge of the ethical, moral, and political ideas that are used in LD rounds and to introduce them to authors they may encounter in their debate careers. Keep in mind that more current authors are often responding to those thinkers that came before them. So, for example, before understanding postmodern philosophy, students will want to have an understanding of the Enlightenment philosophy it may be criticizing. This is also important because some periods of philosophy are more likely to be emphasized in certain debate circuits. Students should consider their region and experience level when choosing what philosophy to study and your lab leaders can assist with these selections.

Argument Styles

These electives will focus on different types of argumentation, including the trends that have become prevalent or even controversial. This section of electives is meant to help students gain deeper insight into different approaches to resolutions or different styles of debate they may encounter in rounds. When choosing these electives, students should consider what is acceptable in their regions and the styles they are likely to compete against at the tournaments they attend. Electives pertaining to presentation and preparation are also included in this section.

Skills and Drills

Electives in this section will only include a brief lecture portion. The majority of the time will be devoted to drills. This is also a chance for students to work in a drill environment with instructors other than their lab leaders to experience a diversity of teachers. While students should expect to do a variety of different drills in lab, these electives let students increase the attention they are giving to specific skills in which they want to see even greater improvement.

Practice Rounds – You will debate in two types of rounds. Regular rounds will be judged as they would at a tournament and you will receive extensive feedback on ways to improve. Start-stop rounds will be run as a practice round where debaters are corrected immediately and where everyone involved has input on issue selection and in-round strategy.

Office Hours – This is time at the end of the day when official instruction has ended but our staff will be available for individual requests for casing help and additional drills.

10-Day vs 20-Day – Given our staff, schedule, and vision for the camp, we expect each camper to leave with completed and revised cases, extensions, and blocks. We also expect great gains in your execution and understanding of various forms of argumentation. More time spent at MGCDI means more time you have to explore and expand your skills. The 20-day option also means twice the electives, rounds, and time spent preparing for a successful year.

Director's Statement

The curriculum of any institute is crucial to what a student is likely to gain. In this regard, one should consider whether an institute offers a curriculum that addresses the diversity of conditions students are likely to confront in their debate career. One should also consider whether the student would be taught an educationally sound set of practices or a series of tricks that happened to work at a single tournament or in front of a small number of judges.

Our senior staff members have taught at dozens of workshops including University of Texas, Victory Briefs, Sacred Heart, National Debate Forum and the National Symposium for Debate. With the core of the staff being professional educators, some with Master's degrees in curricular design, while still being competitive coaches in the debate game, we have and are continuing to develop an approach that is being designed from scratch. We won't have lectures just because we had them in the past. The curriculum is built to respond to "contemporary" needs of debaters.

Our curriculum emphasizes instruction grounded in the following core values:

  • Curiosity – Be a hungry learner. Constantly asking questions and advocating for yourself means you’ll always be improving.
  • Rigorous Preparation – Practice is essential to success. Excellent execution is the product of time, effort, and attention devoted to perfecting your craft.
  • Accountability – Be purposeful with your time. Constantly setting goals for yourself means you’ll always be challenged to improve.
  • Openness – Sharing ideas and arguments allows you to build off of other’s unique experiences and talents.
  • Fulfillment – Debate can be valuable for lots of reasons. Exploring your personal motivations for success helps put the value of competing into context.
  • Diversity – Having an appreciation for various styles and approaches to debate allows you to experiment with new strategies.
  • Skepticism and Independent Thinking – Strive to become a rational, informed, and compassionate citizen who can formulate and defend meaningful advocacies.
  • Teaching and Education – Teaching a subject helps you master the material. Every camper will prepare lessons or drills to lead during learning communities.

The curriculum is designed to give students a common knowledge base, yet avoids hours and hours of lectures on issues that have become tangential to contemporary Lincoln Douglas Debate. Our pedagogy emphasizes small lab groups. We focus on teaching students ethically sound best practices in dealing with the arguments that seem to pervade many circuits.

The Mean Green Comet Lincoln Douglas camp will also focus on how to research, a skill that many camps seem to have put on the backburner. While it is true you can write cases without evidence, learning the how to research creates the foundation for critical thinking skills. One of the most important debate skills is the ability to research in college libraries. The internet is helpful, but should not be the only tool that is used to research. Attention will also be placed on effective case writing, effective speaking techniques, strategic decisions and general tips to help students achieve whatever goals they have set for themselves.

Divisions, Date and Pricing

Session Dates Residential
(Room and Meals)
(Meals Only)
2 week July 1 – July 14 $1700 $1200

Division Director

Marilyn Myrick

Marilyn Myrick

Marilyn Myrick is returning for her third year in the Public Forum Debate Division. A University of Texas alumni and 6 year Speech and Debate Intern at the University Interscholastic League (UIL), Ms. Myrick is about to begin her fourth year as the Director of Forensics at Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas. Ms. Myrick has had TFA semifinalists in Extemporaneous Speaking, Congressional Debate, Original Oratory, and coached the 2015 TFA State Champion in Impromptu speaking. She has also coached numerous teams into elimination rounds of the UIL Debate State Tournament in both Policy and LD, coached numerous UIL Extemporaneous Speaking Finalists and qualified students to Nationals, the NIETOC, the Debate TOC and the Extemp TOC.

Division Staff

Katya Ehresman

Katya Ehresman

Finishing her fourth year at Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas and achieved both local and national success. Qualified to UIL state and TFA state twice, cleared to elimination rounds at every local tournament she attended her senior year, and accumulated 12 speaker awards her senior year including 4th speaker at St. Marks. Katya was in elimination rounds at Grapevine, University of Texas, Colleyville and won the Churchill tournament. Katya also championed the Hockaday Women's Round Robin. In addition to LD, Katya competed in CX and Extemp and outside of debate participated student government, volunteer work and regional activism for women's rights.

Enroll Now

MGCDI enrollment will open January 1st 2018! Starting then you can follow the link below to Market Place and reserve your spot in our 2018 summer program. A registration fee of $300.00 is due upon application. Applications after June 1st will incur a $150 late registration fee. The final deadline for all registration is June 18, 2018.

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