Since 2001, the Victory Briefs Institute has been the premier summer debate workshop in the country. In that time, over 5,000 students have attended VBI and those students have achieved an unprecedented level of success in LD debate.
In twelve years, VBI has produced 10 NSDA (NFL) champions, 10 TOC champions , 9 NCFL champions, and countless state tournament and invitational champions. In 2014, all 8 TOC quarterfinalists were VBI alumni. No other summer institute comes close. Our experience and proven record of success explains why debaters, coaches, and entire programs continue to trust VBI.
This year, we are taking our proven formula for success and applying it to three different locations: Swarthmore College (PA), Occidental College (CA), and the University of Chicago (IL).
In the past there has been a Main Session of VBI in Los Angeles, and occasionally additional sessions elsewhere aimed at a younger or more regional audience. However, in 2015, VBI will be doing things a little bit differently. When and where you can go to camp will not affect your ability to get the best experience possible. This year, there is no “real VBI” and “VBI lite.” Although we will have three different locations, there will be one VBI.
Three locations, one proven formula for success.
The VBI curriculum works at every level and on every circuit. That’s why our program has produced as many NSDA champions as TOC champions. At every session of VBI students will have access to:
- Amazing staff. Our staff includes former champion debaters and experienced coaches, who have achieved success at every level. The VBI staff is by far the best in the country and we are committed to maintaining our high standards at every location. Also, because there is no overlap between sessions, many of our instructors will work at two or even three locations. Check out our staff list from last year. We are committed to providing high-quality instruction at all levels of experience.
- The best student-to teacher ratio in the country. All sessions of VBI will feature a 4:1 ratio—something no other camp can beat. This means more individualized attention and more practice debates.
- A proven core curriculum. Our curriculum produces champions and each of our locations will offer the same key components; these include our elective series, over a dozen practice rounds, an engaging, thoughtful lab experience, and Socrates hours.
- Top-notch facilities. All our locations offer incredible learning and living spaces. No other camp can match the quality of life afforded to students at VBI.
How to choose
While each session of VBI will offer the same core experience there will, of course, be some differences between locations that are relevant in making a decision about which session to attend. In the coming weeks we will be posting “deep dives” into each session, to give you a more complete picture of what VBI will look like this summer. In the meantime, here are some factors to keep in mind:
The most obvious difference between our sessions this year is the dates.
Our sessions span eight weeks this summer and do not overlap, so no matter what your summer plans are, there will be some session of VBI that fits your schedule.
Beyond scheduling conflicts, the different date options can also be useful to those who want a break from debate either immediately after the end of the season or before the start of the new school year.
2. Campus environment
If scheduling conflicts are not an issue for you, you should think about which campus you’d like to spend your summer at! Camp also offers an excellent opportunity to test out different types of college environments before deciding where to apply.
Would you prefer a small liberal arts college in the Northeast? Then Swarthmore is the session for you. Located 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia, Swarthmore is considered one of the “little Ivies,” and is ranked as one of the best liberal arts schools in the nation. The entire campus is officially a protected arboretum!
Looking for beautiful weather and a Southern California atmosphere? Our session at Occidental will continue the legacy of VBI Los Angeles. Located in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles, Occidental’s beautiful campus has been featured in countless movies and TV shows. Also, in keeping with our LA tradition of offering the best debate camp food around, Occidental has the 8th best college food in America, according to the Daily Meal.
Interested in learning in an interesting (and safe) urban environment? Located in Chicago’s historic Hyde Park neighborhood, the longtime home of President Barack Obama, the University of Chicago is the #4 ranked university in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report, and offers top 15 dorm facilities according to the Princeton Review. More VBI alumni and staff go on to study at the University of Chicago than any other school, so if you are interested in applying camp is a great way to see what living on campus would be like.
3. Third-week options
Our Los Angeles and Chicago locations both offer third week options. So, if you are interested in staying an extra week choose the session with the third week curriculum that best fits your needs.
Traditionally, our Los Angeles third week has offered a number of elective “focuses,” allowing students to go in-depth on skills and concepts they believe they need to work on the most. In the last few years, elective options have included drilling and skills-based options, philosophical tracks, a variety of theory issues, and more.
The third week in Chicago will be a “topic prep week.” The September/October 2015 topic will be released on August 15th; from then on, the camp curriculum will be focused on preparing students to compete with that topic once the school year begins. Students will walk away from Chicago’s third week with a leg up on their peers to start the season.
Regardless of which session you attend, your VBI experience will equally rewarding. So, just choose the location you think is the right fit for you. All sessions will have capped enrollment; click here to reserve your spot. We look forward to welcoming you to the VBI family!