Frequently Asked Questions


How do I enroll?

We are using the ActivityHero platform to process registrations. You will need to make an ActivityHero account to complete your signup. You can view our openings and add sessions to your cart here.

What if I am not able to pay online?

Please contact us so that we can help you!

Where does my money go?

MVLASD is a registered nonprofit in the state of California. All funds not used for camp go toward covering coaching and competition costs. MVLA Speech and Debate supports approximately 160 high school students and 50 middle school students in the Mountain View-Los Altos District and its feeder schools. On average, it costs around $600 in personnel costs and tournament registration fees to support a speech and debate student annually. This “average student” dedicates an amount of work roughly equivalent to a high school course. For a highly competitive student, who might compete for three out of the four weekends of each month, costs quickly compound into thousands of dollars each year.

My family cannot afford the cost of entry. How do we qualify for scholarships, and how much is available?

We are able to provide cost reductions that cover up to the full amount of tuition fees depending on individual circumstances. If you have access to some type of official documentation that demonstrates need, please contact us or proceed with the ActivityHero need determination process, accessed by clicking on “Scholarships Available” tag on the registration page.

I have been placed on the waitlist. What does that mean?

If you have been waitlisted, we have reached our current capacity for enrollment based on space and instructor availability at that time. We will notify you if we are able to secure additional space and/or instructors, or if other enrolled students drop out. You will be prompted to complete your registration if and when spaces open up.

Summer Camp

Who can attend?

We take students from any school who will be entering grade 3 all the way up to rising freshmen for the IPSA, ICSD and ACSD programs. Within each curriculum option, students will be further split up based on age and experience level.

How do I know which level to sign up for?

Don’t worry! Beyond picking a camp session, you don’t need to do anything else! Just tell us your grade and what kind of speech and debate experience you have, and we’ll assign you to a group. If, after the first day, it seems like a different group might be a better fit for you, we’ll move you.

Who will be teaching the camp?

IPSA, ICSD, and ACSD programs will be taught by our outstanding high school competitors. They will run Learning Labs, which are smaller subsections of each age and skill group, with an expected student-to-teacher ratio of 6:1 or less. The will be supported by recently graduated students who will oversee operations. MVLASD’s own adult coaches will be on site to keep things running smoothly.

How much does it cost?

Costs vary by chosen curriculum and when you register, but a week of camp starts at $350 at the beginning of the registration period. We also offer discounts for bundling the two Competitive Speech and Debate programs together and for sibling registrations.

What does a typical day at camp look like?

Campers receive instruction in their age and skill groups on topics such as writing original speeches, interpreting the work of others as a performance, delivery skills, logic of argumentation, and more. We focus on skills associated with persuasive, original and interpretive speeches in the morning, and skills associated with argumentation and debate in the afternoon. Advanced campers work within the boundaries of competitive speech and debate events available to students attending secondary school in California. Activities with younger students are focused more on skill-building games, while students in advanced groups learn drills used by active competitors.

IPSA, ICSD, and ACSD programs run from 9 am to 4 pm. We have a snack and group game break in the morning and the afternoon, as well as a one-hour lunch. These breaks help our campers bond with their lab-mates, as well as give them time to burn off energy. We also offer aftercare until 5 pm (in-person camp only).

Our last camp day is a little different–we set aside the whole day to let students experience what tournament is like by running multiple rounds of competition for both speech and debate events. For this day, it is important that students not have to leave campus for a period, and that they arrive on time!

Will you provide food for the campers during in-person camp?

We provide morning and afternoon snacks. You may opt-in to lunch service for an additional $60 per week.

What coronavirus precautions will be implemented at camp?

The camp may choose to enforce rules based on coronavirus levels in Santa Clara County at the time of the camp. These rules may include testing requirements, masking requirements, temperature checks, and contact tracing and quarantining procedures that will require disclosure of infection status to staff and may indirectly inform other campers of an individual student’s infection status. In case of a change to county rules regarding in-person activities, the program reserves the right to move to a virtual platform.

We signed up but can no longer attend. How do refunds work?

We offer 80% refunds through June 1 via the ActivityHero platform. After that time, tuition is locked.

Winter Workshop

Who can attend?

For Winter Workshop, we will accept all students enrolled in grades 3 through 9. Students will be offered multiple programs for different experience levels.

How do I know which level to sign up for?

We offer recommended beginner courses for both speech and debate on our winter workshop page for those new to the activity (see recommended tracks). For intermediate and advanced campers (those who attended one of MVLA’s past camps and workshops, or have experience in speech and debate), it’s entirely up to the camper as to which class to join! 

Who will be teaching the camp?

Winter workshop lessons will be taught by our outstanding high school competitors. We maintain a 1:6 instructor to student ratio, with curricula tailored to every skill level. 

How much does it cost?

Costs will vary based on selected dates and the time of registration. One day of camp will cost $75, while both days would cost $125. 

What does a typical day at camp look like?

Campers receive instruction through various lessons scheduled throughout the day on topics including but not limited to case construction, flowing, and international relations. As this is an elective-based workshop, campers are encouraged to choose classes they are interested in. A wide range of engaging activities are incorporated into each class’ curriculum, and we strike a balance between lecture and peer instruction time. 

We signed up but can no longer attend. How do refunds work?

We offer 80% refunds through December 1 via the ActivityHero platform. After that time, tuition is locked.

How is Winter Workshop different from Summer Camp?

Winter Workshop is far more modular and offers students more choice and flexibility as to what lessons they are able to attend. Summer Camp utilizes three separate curriculum tracks based on age and experience. While this works well for a week-long camp where a large breadth of material can be covered, it is much more beneficial for students to have flexibility and modularity over a one or two-day workshop.

What programs are offered?

We offer lessons on a wide variety of speech and debate-related skills, techniques, and strategies. In addition, we cover topics that are often a key part of speech and debate competitions. These will include (but are not limited to): case construction, flowing, international relations, economics, and an introduction to theory debate.

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