Why YOU Should Go to NSD: Part 1

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This is part 1 of a series on why YOU should be attending NSD which takes place from July 20 to August 3 in Minneapolis. We will accept applications until May 1 but we encourage you to apply early! The number of applications we’ve received to date has outpaced last year’s numbers, and we maintain a cap on enrollment to ensure our 1:4 staff:student ratio. In this edition some of the returning first year out staff say why they chose to come back to work at NSD.

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“The NSD staff is the most versatile in the country. You can excel at whatever kind of debate you want to, whether it be framework, theory, the larp, or tricks (my personal favorite), The NSD mentality is not to cage debaters into being a certain type of debater, but allowing them to do anything their heart desires. I highly recommend NSD to anyone picking between debate camps this summer”– Sam Azbel – Lake Highland (New Hire!)

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.32.13 PM“With so many drill sessions in small groups, practice rounds, and opportunities to talk to different lab leaders, NSD was the obvious choice for me when picking a debate camp. My tech skills increased exponentially, and my confidence engaging in technical debates also expanded. I would recommend NSD to every debater in the country looking to do well on the national circuit.” – Charlie Blatt- Scarsdale 

Ben Ulene looking suspicious
Ben Ulene looking suspicious

“NSD offers debaters of all skill levels a unique chance to interact with (and learn from) top-tier staff members. The camp’s wide variety of lectures, demo rounds featuring different styles, and ‘office hours’ are fantastic, and the daily practice rounds and the camp tournament are especially great ways for debaters to hone their skills and get valuable experience in a no-stakes setting. I owe much of my success on the circuit to the three years that I attended NSD, and I’ve made a lot of great friends from all around the country. I highly recommend NSD for anyone who’s serious about LD debate.” –Ben Ulene- Scarsdale

Jessica pictured right debating recent hire JP Stuckert.
Jessica pictured right debating recent hire JP Stuckert.

“After attending NSD for the past 3 years, I can say with certainty that no other camp features such an amazing staff dedicated to the improvement of every single debater who attends. Between lab, office hours, and elective lectures, I probably learned more each summer at NSD than in an entire year of practices.”- Jessica Levy- Walt Whitman”

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.40.54 PM“Going to NSD before my senior year was instrumental to my success on the national circuit. I will never forget the experiences I had and the friendships I made during my time there. My one regret of my debate career was not going to NSD before my sophomore and junior years.”- Daiya Massac- Bronx Science 

  • nevergoingback

    The entire time I was at NSD I felt extremely uncomfortable. While the solution of telling a staff member sounds nice, most of the time it was the staff that was the

    Staff consistently referred to other debaters and coaches as “strugs” “Idiots” and worse. My lab leaders called another coach (who I knew) “stupid” and a “whore” in front of the entire lab. I also heard a lab leader call another student at the camp a “fucking faggot.” Although many of the students were part of the problem (including some posting on this thread) it was lab leaders who were the worst.

    At the “women in debate” event males on the staff aggressively questioned
    female students while they tried to share their experiences. A few of them
    stood in the corner laughing AT STUDENTS.

    But by far the worst thing was that on almost a nightly basis most of the staff was totally wasted (and totally unhelpful!). The curfew seemed to just be an excuse for the staff to smoke and drink, and it wasn’t even subtle. I am sure this happens to some extent at any camp where college aged people work, but it made me very uncomfortable. I know some students who had lab leaders barge into their rooms drunk in the middle of the night. Other students smoked with their lab leaders. When I told my parents they wanted to make a big deal out of it. I had to fight with them to leave it alone because I knew given how many judges work at NSD that there would be retaliation if they complained.

  • tiredofNSDcirclejerking

    or why not to go: NSD and its environment is extremely privileged, clique-y, hostile, exclusionary, and elitist. if you want to learn how to debate on the national circuit, you can (though input =/= output, and most of the resources are geared to those who come from schools that already send a lot of debaters to the camp [though this is true with debate camps in general,]) but prepared to feel like you’re being baptized in fire. and not in a good way.

    • nikhiln17

      Well this is simply untrue. Perhaps try going to NSD before judging it so harshly? We promise we don’t bite.

      • tiredofNSDcirclejerking

        i did; and you (meaning the those who work at the camp) didn’t bite so much as regard me (and many others) as not good enough to even speak to without huge amounts of patronizing disdain. spoiler alert: what happens when you put a few hundred of the most privileged, entitled kids in america in a small space? nothing good. i’m not gonna be part of whatever flame war will likely come of these comments, though, so that’s all i have to say. just needed to voice the counteropinion.

        • Lucy K

          I’m really sorry if you felt like you were excluded at NSD. I can honestly say from a staff (and student) perspective that it is never the intention of anyone at NSD. But to be completely honest, I think you should have spoken to a staff member during camp (or even contacted someone after) if you felt this way. It is our job to make you feel as comfortable as possible and to help you succeed. I know that I, and all of the staff at NSD (and all other camps), would have been more than willing to help you with anything you were having trouble with.

    • JP Stuckert

      I’m not sure how you could even imagine resources being unfairly distributed. Lab leaders do one-on-one drills with every individual in lab regardless of school, lectures are for everyone, and to talk with people during office hours or free time you just need to have initiative. If anything (to poke a little fun at my own team) the kids from big schools end up wasting these opportunities more.

    • UTIL.DB8R

      This is completely wrong. I went to NSD 2 years in a row and felt nothing of the sort. Everyone was completely welcoming and inclusionary. I’m as lone wolf as it gets and still found people to talk to and lab leaders to learn from and never once did I feel it being elitist. Sure its harder since you do not know as many people or have a team to support you, but in no way is it a bad environment and everyone was open and accepting.

    • Sam_Azbel

      Ima let y’all finish, but i think the issue that you bring up is not prevalent at NSD at all. The first year I attended NSD I was the only one from my school there and most of the kids I was friends with were at other debate camps. It only took a couple of hours for the kids at NSD to come up to me and introduce themselves. The vibe at NSD is not a hostile one, and if someone is ever having problems, Beth Palmer is a great person to talk to who makes it her mission to help unsatisfied and unhappy kids at NSD. I think that you bring up an issue that is bigger in the debate community as a whole than at NSD.

    • joseph millman

      When I first came to NSD in the summer before
      my sophomore year, I was from a no-name school (golly gee, it wasn’t even a
      school itself), had no connections, minimal competitive experience, and almost
      no debate ability whatsoever. At NSD, I found an environment that was dedicated
      to students at all skill levels. I was able to approach any instructor at the
      camp, and bombard them with what were definitely stupid questions. I
      experienced none of this perceived “privilege” or “cliqueness.” Contrary to the
      myths that certain people like to peddle around, NSD does much to help debaters
      from small schools. Whereas other teaching methods rely upon assigning upper
      labs privileges such as special curfew hours, or personal mentors, NSD adopts
      an egalitarian method where any debater can go up to any instructor, and the
      labs are distributed so that even novices receive expert instructors (this is
      why debaters from lower labs continue to qual and clear at TOC). That’s what’s
      special about NSD; here, anybody, regardless of his or her debate background
      can receive stellar instruction.

      • Manny Dallas

        He said some “golly gee.”
        TBT when I met Millman at the airport going to NSD for the first time. That alone made NSD worthwhile.