Reasons to Attend VBI 2014… From Past Students

Quotes about VBI from past students:

The most fun, rigorous, and thought provoking camp experience I’ve had. Other camps teach you how to play the game. VBI teaches you to change it.” – Akhil Gandra (VBI ’13)

VBI is an incredible camp that any debater who is looking to become nationally successful should attend. Not only are the staff members talented, each with different skills they specialize in, but they also genuinely care about the students. By attending VBI, not only do you learn how to debate, but you become part of a community that really cares about the activity.” – S.H. (VBI ’10, ’11, ’12)

“If there’s one experience I look forward to year-round, it’s VBI. Where do I begin? Their instruction is beyond top notch and the environment is great as well. I’ve met countless friends at VBI, and the camp puts a lot of effort into being fun so that you can actually do things with these friends. Perhaps the best thing about VBI was Drew Hammond’s excellent inter-lab competition arrangement. If there’s one thing that gets you ready for the cut-throat competition of the debate season, it’s shoving aside freshmen so that you can reach the basket first. Good times. All jokes aside, I came to VBI to get better at debate and that certainly happened. Instructors are widely available for drills, lectures are engaging and varied, and lab is an excellent anchor to your personal growth. This camp has helped me grow by leaps and bounds, and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to do the same.” – Akhil Jalan (VBI ’11, ’12, ’13)

“One of the finer points of VBI was the camp itself, the way it was structured was what really put it ahead of any other. The lab leaders, lectures, mods, and the housing all culminated into something so enjoyable and yet so beneficial. I personally believe this camp will be key to debate success in any debaters future.” – Andrew Ahn (VBI ’13)

“VBI was the best debate memory I had going into my senior year. I bonded really closely with my lab, and they were like my family throughout the season. I’ll never forget the late-night Capture the Flag Ninja Wars, nightly trips into Westwood for sushi and ice cream sandwiches, and of course, pub quiz. On the pedagogical side, I think VBI offers one of the best learning environments in the country. The coaching staff is wonderfully diverse, so that you get to learn from a wide variety of debate styles; there’s no one telling you that you have to debate a certain way or only read one type of argument. Rather, students are encouraged to be creative and innovate – to stay ahead of the competition instead of just copying arguments that other teams make.” – Rebecca Kuang (VBI ’12, ’13)

“UCLA is an amazing campus and the activities are lots of fun. Some of my best friends are friends I made at VBI. The curriculum is packed with educational content without being overwhelming. Lectures are always interesting and lab is engaging. VBI is awesome!” – Anonymous (VBI ’10, ’11, ’12)

“Sometimes, the competitive aspects of the debate community can be overwhelming. That’s why I’m so glad I went to VBI. VBI focused on pedagogy by providing me individualized instruction, prioritizing consistent improvement over individual wins, and creating a sense of family that has lasted for years since camp ended. VBI was effective, fulfilling, and fun – all that I could ask for and more.” – Daniel Tartakovsky (VBI ’10, ’11, ’12)

“I think VBI provides a great environment for students to really develop their debate skills. Not only are the labs and lectures helpful, but the ability to work with instructors one on one everyday is a great experience and really allows debaters to significantly improve.” – Neel Yerneni (VBI ’13)

“I went to VBI as a debater because they had the best staff in the country to give me the tools to succeed not just nationally but regionally and locally as well. I think that going to VBI for three years was crucial in helping me achieve the majority of personal goals that I set for myself in debate.” – Kyle Allen-Niesen (VBI ’09, ’10, ’11)

“The main thing that sets VBI apart from other camps is the level of involvement and dedication of the staff. I also really appreciated the nurturing, inclusive environment.” – Anonymous (VBI ’13)

“I think everything about VBI is great! Specifically, the fact that you can choose your own path, so to speak, where you can learn, fine tune, and master any skill or style of debate from staff members that specialized in that specific skill (theory, kritiks, philosophy, traditional debate, etc.) whether they’re first year outs or coaches who have been around the circuit for years.” – Prince Hyeamang (VBI ’13)

“Having been to three camps, I can say that VBI was by far the most educational and fun. Not only is the campus great, but the instruction is excellent. Traditions such as the Omegathon bring a sense of unity to the camp, and the staff members make an active effort to ensure that everyone is included in both lab and outdoor activities. I would definitely recommend that kids looking to succeed on the circuit attend VBI.” – Anonymous (VBI ’13)

“I was once asked what my favorite memories in debate were, and unsurprisingly, some of the first to come to mind were from VBI. VBI is unique in a lot of ways, from the incredible events it puts on like beach day and pub quiz to the closeness I’ve definitely felt in my labs. In each of the five summers I’ve spent at VBI, I’ve made new friends and become closer to old ones. But most importantly, having been both a camper and a staffer, I can definitely say that VBI is a camp that cares intensely about your development as a debater. There’s no substitute for the quality of its staff or the constant curricular innovation that gives you the best learning experience possible. All of this takes place on the awesome UCLA campus with its awesome weather and awesome facilities. There’s no doubt that VBI does all it can for its campers, which I know, for me, made VBI an amazing environment for my growth as a debater, thinker, and person.” – Henry Zhang (VBI ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12)


Gallery of Pictures From VBI 2013: