Debate Matters works with schools to host summer debate programs. Together we support local circuits and their programs.

We are dedicated to providing every student the opportunity to attend a summer debate program taught by experienced championship-level coaches. As former directors of two of the nation's largest debate camps, we were drawn to the idea of running locally-based programs with experienced national-level coaches.

Running debate camps isn't our job. We have those with our own teams. Debate is our lifelong passion. This is why we are partnering with schools to help them support their own debate teams and build a debate community around them.

Last summer, as a part of Harvard-Westlake Summer Programs, we started debateLA. In its inaugural year, over 280 students, from 105 different schools and 6 different countries attended our program. Our alumni have been among the nation's most successful.

Camp Locations

Los Angeles | Harvard-Westlake School & UCLA
Students in grades 5-12, with all levels of experience available. Residential option available. Middle School Parliamentary (MSPDP), High School Parliamentary (World Schools), Policy, Lincoln-Douglas
San Jose | Presentation High School
For students in grades 7-12, with all levels of experience. This program will focus on brand new debaters and experienced Lincoln-Douglas debaters focussing extensively on preparing students for their local leagues, State, and NSDA Nationals, and the specific types of judges at those tournaments.


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The Value of Debate

Harvard-Westlake Alum and Harvard graduate, Ben Sprung-Keyser talks about his experience in competitive debate. This was recorded after he won NFL/NSDA Nationals in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, after his Junior year.

Debate has been a big part in of Ben's life. As a 6th grader he won Middle School Nationals. As a 10th grader he won Novice Nationals. As an 11th grader he won NFL/NSDA Nationals. At Harvard, Ben won the Federal Reserve Challenge, APDA Nationals (College Parli) and WUDC (World University Debate Championships).

In 2015, Ben was a recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship.

Our Story

Debate Matters began as an initiative to gather and give information to increase awareness in keeping competitive debate a safe space for all of its competitors. (learn more)

In 2015, the former directors of the nation's largest debate camps decided it was time to refocus energies on creating smaller, locally-driven, student-centered summer debate workshops. We are committed to teaching debaters at all levels in the style and format successful in their most important circuits or leagues. 

So, along with Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles (school website | team website), Mike Bietz, Jenny Alme & Greg Achten founded debateLA, a not-for-profit, national-level debate institute for students in grades 5-12 dedicated to providing unmatched access to superior and proven debate coaches.

Last summer, more than 280 students from 105 schools and 6 countries chose debateLA.

In just the first semester after our first summer program, over a dozen alumni have been in final rounds at major tournaments including:

The Barkley Forum at Emory University (Atlanta)
The Loyola HS Invitational (Los Angeles)
The Voices Invitational (San Jose)
The Fall Classic at Greenhill School (Dallas)
The Silver & Black at Alta High School (Utah)
The California Round Robin (Oakland)
The Jack Howe at Long Beach State (Long Beach)
The College Prep School Invitational (Oakland)
The Holy Cross Invitational (New Orleans)
The Holy Cross Round Robin (New Orleans)
The Golden Desert Invitational (UNLV)


Quick Facts
Lest you assume our humble approach indicates we are not serious about debate, here are some facts about our faculty:

+ THREE NDCA Championships
+ THREE Debaters to make TEAM USA in back-to-back -to back years
+ THREE NSDA (NFL) National Championships
+ SEVEN-STRAIGHT MSPDP League Tournament Championships
+ EIGHT TOC Championships
+ NINE Novice National Championships (incl. three closeouts)
+ Over FIFTY TOC Qualifiers
+ Copeland Award Winners for College Debate's Top Team
+ TOC & NSDA (NFL) Champions in the same season
+ Greenhill, Blake, Caucus, Loyola, & Valley Closeouts
+ Greenhill & Voices Round Robin Closeouts
+ College Prep, St. Mark's & Lexington Closeouts
+ Back-to-Back Glenbrooks Closeouts
+ Back-to-Back-to-Back TOC Champions