The Forensics Files Institute
Finally a debate camp in South Texas!
St. Mary's University (San Antonio)
Week 1: July 5th–11th (All Labs)
Week 2: July 19th–25th (All Labs, Except IEs)
Registration Deadline: May 15, 2020
(Space is limited, so please register ASAP.)
Overview. TFFI is a debate camp for campers who are entering grades 8-12, and are between the ages of 13-18. The camp directors are Richard Colling & Michael Ritter. Also on staff is Cara Beth Nichols, Tim Cook, Chris O'Brien, John Anderson, and Julian Erdmann.
Security. Camper health, safety, and security are our number one priority. We host our camp at St. Mary's because the campus is gated and there's on-site 24-hour security to respond to any medical and other emergencies should they arise. We also have faculty on-site overnight, and strictly enforce no-sneaking-out, anti-drug, and anti-harassment policies.
Camp Cost & Refunds. $595 for Commuters; $695 for Overnighters. The price for both includes all tuition costs; breakfast, lunch & dinner on full camp days; dinner on the first day (Sunday); and breakfast on the last day (Saturday). If you cancel before 6/1, we will issue a full refund less $150 to cover a non-refundable deposit charged to TFFI by the venue.
Residential Life: Overnighters will be housed in double-occupancy rooms in the apartment-style John Donohoo dorm. The dorm is located near an on-site security post, a pavilion, and a sand volleyball court. Space is limited, so REGISTER HERE TODAY!
More About Our Staff:
Tim Cook: Mr. Cook coaches and teaches at Salado High School in Texas, and has decades of experience teaching all levels of debaters. He has coached multiple successful debaters on the UIL, TFA, and TOC circuits. He has been inducted into the TFA Hall of Fame and is a legend in the Texas speech and debate community.
John Anderson: Mr. Anderson has consulted for UIL State; consulted and judged since 2012; and himself qualified for TFA State in 2012. Mr. Anderson assists with our Lincoln-Douglas Debate lab and helps students in developing skills they need to be competitive and successful in any debate circuit.
Cara Beth Nichols: Ms. Nichols teaches and coaches at Round Rock High School in Texas. At TFFI, she helps with our Novice Skills Lab and with camp administration. She has been an integral part of the success of TFFI in creating a safe and productive learning environment for our campers.
Julian Erdmann: Mr. Erdmann has coached since 2009; consulted numerous state medalists in UIL, and had numerous teams qualify for TFA State and NSDA. He has coached in all circuits, helps run tab at NCFL. He competed all 4 years of high school, and received numerous awards throughout his career in all the debate formats.
Chris O'Brien: Mr. Obrien has worked with teams that have qualified for TFA State and NCFL nationals. He has taught basic argumentation and speaking skills, and worked with all ranges of novices of varying styles of speech and debate. He competed for four years in high school, qualifying and medaling at UIL State as a quarter-finalist and semi-finalist. He qualified for TFA state both his junior and senior year, as well as NSDA. He has worked with small schools competing in UIL and TFA across the state in various events over the past five years, helping teams make appearances at various elimination rounds of UIL state, including multiple appearances at both semis and finals.
Ashlyn Ellgass: Ms Ellgass is an honors student at TSU, a three-year qualifier to the TOC, NIETOC, and NSDA, and a four-year qualifier to TFA and UIL state. Ashlyn earned the title of TFA Informative Speaking State Champion and finaled in DX. She regularly competes in college and has coached many students to success.
Kay Edwards: Ms. Edwards has judged and consulted since 2017. She has worked with TFA State, UIL State, and NSDA qualifiers. She teaches at varying levels and emphasizes portable skills useful to competitors of all styles and experience levels. She competed in multiple events throughout her four years of competitive experience. She qualified to and medaled all four years at UIL State, receiving a gold medal in extemporaneous speaking at UIL State in 2016 and advancing to octofinals in extemporaneous speaking at TFA State the same year.
At TFFI, our goal is to ensure campers are prepared with the skills to compete on all circuits, UIL, TFA, NSDA, and TOC. To achieve this goal, we hired an exemplary staff with a vast amount of experience coaching and competing on all these circuits.
Our Novice Skills Lab is one of a kind. For debaters who have just started and not committed to any particular debate event, our Novice Lab focuses on skills to be used in every debate event. They will learn about the various styles of debate, fundamental researching skills, case writing, extending, impacting, weighing, clashing, flowing, and speaking. Students will have multiple opportunities to practice and master each of these skills as well as watch and flow various rounds in other labs so they can knowledgeably select the event in which they ultimately decide to compete. Students will leave with all the skills they need to be able to begin to compete prepared as soon as the school year begins.
In our LD lab, students will work on a topic selected from the list of potential NSDA topics, one that is highly likely to be selected in the upcoming school year. Students will then begin with an excellent, in depth, introduction to the topic that provides an overview with analysis of ground for both sides. Students will then learn how to approach the topic from both traditional and progressive perspectives. We plan to put the value in their experience in the value debate lab so they will write an affirmative case, a negative case, theory and topicality shells, and affirmative and negative blocks. Students will have the opportunity to practice debate to hone all their basic skills and improve speaker points. Students will leave excited for the upcoming year, confident they can prepare for any topic, adapt to any judge, and ready for any topic.
In our CX lab, students will learn to debate stock issues, plans, counterplans, disads, and kritiks, and learn to adapt to any judge. Students will begin with an excellent and in depth introduction to the topic that will introduce them to the strengths and weaknesses of each side. Students will work on the new topic researching and writing affirmative cases, disads, counterplans, topicality shells, kritiks, and solvency arguments to what will be the most predictable affirmative cases they will encounter in the coming year. Students will also have an opportunity to practice debate on the topic. Students will leave ready compete prepared in the upcoming topic with new friends and support network for their future debate career.