Olympic Debate & Model Congress Camp 3.0


  • Grades: Boys and girls in upcoming grades 6-10 for the 2019-2020 school year.
  • Location: Plainsboro Recreation & Cultural Center 
  • Dates: August 5 - August 9
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Staff: Director: Mike Jackson, M.A. Curriculum, Instruction and Supervision, Published Author on the topic of  Switch-Side Debate & Democratic Discussion; Community Middle School Social Studies/U.S. History Teacher, Former World History Teacher & Lead Pilot Teacher of the 8th Grade Global Challenge - awarded “Best Practice in Education” at the the United Nations; WW-P District Strategic Planning Team Leader
  • Lead Instructors:
  • Instruction/Operations/Judge - Debbie Kline, M.A. Project Management; CMS Social Studies/World History Teacher, WW-P Superintendent's Advisory Council Member,  Lead-Coordinator of the 8th Grade Global Challenge - awarded “Best Practice in Education” at the the United Nations
  • Instruction/Feedback/Judge - Seamus Dowling, M.A. International Studies; Grover Middle School Social Studies/World History Teacher, Lead Pilot Teacher of the 8th Grade Global Challenge, - awarded “Best Practice in Education” at the the United Nations; Former Peace Corp and Teach America Member - provided Humanitarian/Educational Aide in Ethiopia for 4 years
  • Instruction/Technique/Guidance - Maria Pyle, M.A. Counseling & Guidance Former CMS Social Studies/World History Teacher/ Current WW-P High School North Guidance Counselor, Former Debate Team Competitor
  • Head Debate Coaches: Arushee Sinha, Former Debate Camper & HS North Debate & Mock Trial Club Member, Sayora Shukurova, HS North Debate & Model Congress Club Officer, Oliver Zhong, NJ Academic Decathlon State Champion & Future Problem Solvers WORLD CHAMPION! Jonathan Hu, Former Debate Camp Champion/MVP & CMS Documentary Best Picture Award Winner; Saubhagya Balyan, Former HS North Varsity Basketball Team Captain & Stevens Institute of Technology Student-Athlete
  • Assistant Counselors: HS North & South Debate, Mock Trial, & Model Congress Club Members & Officers; Former Debate & Mock Trial Camp Standouts/Award Winners
  • Fee: $240
  • Residency: No residency restrictions


Debate & Model Congress Camp 3.0 is premiering this summer as a BRAND NEW and UNIQUE CONCEPT in the recreational summer camp community. Debate & Model Congress 3.0 is limited to participants who have already completed a week of Debate & Mock Trial Camp 2.0 in any previous summer; currently registered for a week of Debate & Mock Trial Camp 2.0 for the summer of 2019; or incoming 9th & 10th Graders (exempt from the prerequisite of attending Debate & Mock Trial 2.0) 

Similar to Debate & Mock Trial 2.0, Debate & Model Congress 3.0 will feature a lightning-fast pace and a more advanced program designed to move beyond advanced-level debate into problem-solving, and diplomacy = essential skills for Model Congress! This is your Honors/AP Debate Camp! Students will continue to receive direct instruction, practice, and feedback in the use of rhetoric = literary devices such as stealing thunder, repetition, parallelism, analogies, and metaphors. Debaters and Model Congress participants will hone their radar and be rewarded with competition points for recognizing overly-biased research & spin, as well as calling opponents out for the use of logical fallacies such as faulty cause & effect, illogical leaps, haphazard generalizations, “slippery slope” arguments, “apples to oranges” comparisons/metaphors, and “straw man” arguments. These sophisticated communication tools coupled with the awareness of verbal combat trickery will not only will take the debates in this camp to a higher level of sophistication -- it will also lay the foundation for eloquent and persuasive communication that transcends debate to empower a range of discourse such as oral presentation/thesis defense, documentary film-making, Mock Trial, Model Congress, and Model United Nations. 

The week will kick-off immediately with a competitive Debate tournament. However, after each round of competition, Debate 3.0 campers will move beyond the switch-side debate format - an important step that allows participants to understand and empathize with both polarized perspectives - but not the best means of negotiation and problem-solving, as evidenced by our notoriously ineffective U.S. Congress who struggle to move beyond competitive debate into a more sophisticated and productive discourse. After each debate round, 3.0 campers will engage in Democratic Discussion that will challenge our budding citizens to move beyond the simplified, binary, this-OR-that perspective-taking of two-sided debate, toward a more dynamic and intellectually rigorous process -- one that will require combing through the issue’s nuanced layers and grey areas to find common ground instead of focusing on polarizing differences. Our 3.0 diplomats will discover that compromise, negotiation, and solutions typically originate within this highly evolved discourse. Debate Camp Founder and Director, Mike Jackson, has recently co-authored a description of this approach in action. Mr. Jackson’s switch-side debate/democratic discussion method is its own Chapter entitled “It’s Because They Have a Voice” in a Graduate-level textbook entitled, It’s Being Done in Social Studies! (Part II: Middle Level; Chapter 1) 

Debate Camp 3.0 will culminate with a formal and festive Model Congress experience in the Plainsboro Recreation & Cultural Center. Small-group delegation teams representing different states will be judged not only on how well they compete to be the best problem-solvers but also how well they collaborate with other delegation teams to merge solutions and recruit support -- just like they are supposed to do in our U.S. Congress! Our young citizen-leaders will be solving problems related to current, red hot topics and addressing pressing questions such as, “Should we build that wall or not?” -- “How should the United State’s role in responding to climate change be re-defined?” -- and/or -- “Should the U.S. Constitution be amended to protect our citizens - and democracy itself - from foreign influence, special interest groups, corporate lobbyists, SuperPAC’s, and/or the duopoly that is our dominant two-party system?” Campers will have choice and democratic process will determine which Bills Congress prioritizes to debate on the Senate & House floors. Students will be placed into smaller subsets/committees of delegations based on their interests & preferences. The solutions our campers generate in this camp setting will NOT be artificial or hypothetical. They will be real solutions that could potentially evolve into a sponsored Bill proposal to the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives. We expect local press and possibly wider-reaching media outlets to cover the important initiatives attempted by our active citizens-in-training. At Debate & Model Congress Camp 3.0, we strive to do nothing short of training Global Citizens, starting with empowering the future leaders of our U.S. democracy, eventually protecting democracy worldwide by way of restoring and preserving The United States’ status as “leader of the free world”, and ultimately saving the planet earth! We are training super-citizens to be nothing short of super-heroes! 

Note: Post Camp will be offered through WWP North Athletic Camps at the Plainsboro Recreation & Cultural Center for an additional fee.  Registration for Post Camp must be done prior to the start of camp either on the Township website or in person at the Recreation & Cultural Center. There is a minimum number of 4 kids and if that minimum is not met the program will not run. Pre- Camp is NOT available for this camp. The Plainsboro Cultural & Recreation Center does not open until 8:30am and parents may NOT drop kids off before 8:45am to give the camp staff the little time they have to set up for the kids. 

Financial Assistance is available; if you plan to apply you cannot register online. Please come to our office or call x1719 for detailed information.

Staff to camper ratio 1 to 8.