Friday, July 26, 2013

Honing our Skills at UT Tyler

Regardless of what activity you participate in at the University of Texas at Tyler, you will have the school’s support.  Two weeks ago I attended the Midwest Debate Cooperative with the rest of the UT Tyler debate team and participated in a week long camp aimed at improving our abilities in debate.  The camp was held at Kansas City Kansas Community College in Kansas City, Kansas, where we had a most excellent time.
You have probably already read from Dallas about how awesome all of the restaurants we ate at were, so I will spare you of the jealousy I would create by mentioning Oklahoma Joe’s again.  In terms of the camp, there are many things I feel are worth mentioning.

                                      Above you can see the building that we spent our week in

For one, I feel that I owe UT Tyler a special thank you because the school once again paid for all of the camp fees.  In case it wasn't clear above, I am extremely appreciative for how supportive the administration at UT Tyler is of all of their extracurricular activities that are offered on campus.  If I would have had to pay for the camp myself, I just would not have been able to go.  However, because UT Tyler is such an awesome school, I was able to spend a week making myself a better debater at no cost to me.

The camp occurred from Monday, July 8th until Saturday, July 13th.  We started every morning around 9, and would go until about 5 or 6 in the evening.  The camp was split into three different “labs.” The labs are mainly for more specialized practice and work.  For example, if you had a question about a certain argument, then you could ask about that during the lab time.  We usually were in labs from 9 until 11, and then again from 3 until 5.

During the lab times we would mainly discuss certain argumentative positions, and do practice rounds implementing things that we had talked about prior to the practice rounds.  This served as an excellent time to knock off rust, as the majority of people at the camp had not done any sort of debate round since March. 
In addition to the lab times, we also had several different lectures we could attend during the day.  These usually occurred from 11 until 12:30, and then again from 1 until 3.  These lectures also proved to be extremely useful, as we were getting instruction from the best debate minds in the country.  Any time you can get some debate tips from a former national champion, definitely take advantage of it.
The camp was wrapped up by a small debate tournament among all of the different teams that attended.  There were five preliminary rounds, followed by a break to a quarterfinal round, all the way through a final round. 

Ultimately, this camp was of huge utility to me.  I learned so much from not only my lab leaders, but all of the different coaches that helped to teach and coach.  I also am extremely thankful for our debate coach and director of forensics, Charles Walts, for taking the time out of his summer to drive us to Kansas City to feed us amazing food, but more importantly to make us better at debate.

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