The Public Forum Debate Think Tank

Hosted on the stunning Stanford campus, our competitive PF program brings together top-tier coaches, a practice-intensive curriculum, and dynamic tailored instruction that will facilitate the skills you or your student need to excel in debate.

National-Level Coaching:

At our camp, you'll have the opportunity to learn from some of the most respected coaches in the country. With years of experience and a proven track record of success at national tournaments, our instructors are dedicated to providing personalized guidance and mentorship to each participant, helping you refine your arguments, enhance your delivery, and master the art of persuasion. Your coaches are currently active in PF and know what argument styles, skills, and formats are needed to excel in your local circuit or nationally.

Practice-Intensive Curriculum:

We fundamentally understand that practice makes perfect. Our curriculum follows the C2A model. We focus on concepts in the morning and then transfer those concepts to application almost immediately. Hence, concept to application or C2A. C2A means you or your student will learn a new rebuttal strategy and have several drills, practices, or activities that will ensure that skill is being developed. Every day is scheduled with this relationship in mind where students should have goals they are measurably achieving as the camp progresses. Feedback is critical to this process as well. Students will receive constant feedback so they can adjust and repeat exercises to grow within the two weeks of camp.

Dynamic Tailoring Means Two Divisions, One Goal:

With separate divisions for novice and varsity debaters, our program ensures that every participant receives instruction and challenges suited to their level of experience. We send out a student survey before camp to adapt our labs and lesson plans. Each of your instructors will get a summary of that survey to better understand how to tailor their respective labs. Whether you're just starting your debate journey or looking to fine-tune your skills at the highest circuit level, you'll find a supportive community of peers and mentors ready to help you succeed.

Don't miss your chance to be part of this unparalleled opportunity to elevate your debate skills, forge lasting connections, and prepare for success on the national stage.

The California Competitive Debate Institute (CCDI) offers Public Forum competitors two distinct program options: 


Week 1: Advanced Topic Exploration

  • In-depth Topic Analysis: Varsity debaters will engage in comprehensive analysis of the current debate topics, exploring nuanced arguments, identifying key trends, and evaluating potential strategies for case construction.
  • Advanced Research Techniques: Participants will hone their research skills, delving into specialized databases, scholarly sources, and expert analyses to uncover cutting-edge evidence and develop nuanced arguments.
  • Case Development Intensives: Debaters will participate in intensive workshops focused on advanced case construction, refining their contentions, strengthening their impacts, and incorporating sophisticated evidence and analysis into their cases.
  • Crossfire Mastery: Varsity participants will sharpen their crossfire skills, mastering advanced techniques for strategic questioning, effective rebuttals, and skillful navigation of cross-examination exchanges.

Week 2: Tournament Preparation and Strategy

  • Crossfire Mastery: Varsity participants will sharpen their crossfire skills, mastering advanced techniques for strategic questioning, effective rebuttals, and skillful navigation of cross-examination exchanges.

  • Weighing: Varsity students will master weighing mechanisms in order to prepare better extension documents and prevail in farther out-rounds.

  • Adaptation: We will discuss in depth how to adapt cases, rhetoric, and organization given different paradigms of judges.

  • Tech & Theory: Varsity students will get a Tech & Theory 101 course. They will leave with the basic knowledge of how to avoid theoretical violations and develop their own if needed. They will also be instructed on the structures of how to respond to Kritiks and how they function in PF in 2024.

  • Flowing and Analysis: Participants will deepen their understanding of debate flow, learning advanced techniques for efficient note-taking, accurate analysis of arguments, and strategic organization of information to enhance decision-making in rounds.

  • Tournament Simulation: Debaters will engage in a tournament at the end of camp participating in debates with fellow participants and receiving feedback from experienced coaches to fine-tune their strategies and techniques.

Throughout the camp, varsity participants will have the opportunity to interact with renowned guest speakers, engage in collaborative strategy sessions, and network with fellow debaters from across the country to enhance their understanding of debate theory and refine their competitive edge.


Week 1: Foundations of Debate

    • Introduction to Public Forum Debate: Participants will learn the basic structure, format, and rules of Public Forum Debate, including speech timings, crossfire techniques, and judging criteria.
    • Research Skills Workshop: Debaters will acquire essential research skills, learning how to find credible sources, evaluate evidence, and conduct effective topic analysis. Students will develop their own Research Checklist they can use for any future topic.
    • Case Construction: Participants will explore strategies for constructing compelling cases, including defining key terms, outlining contentions, and crafting impactful introductions and conclusions.
    • Rebuttal Technique: Debaters will practice delivering concise rebuttals and how to structure time allocation between first and second speakers. We will go in-depth on the different types of rebuttal arguments and how to develop an effective block file.
    • Summary and Final Focus: We will introduce to debaters how to collapse or condense argumentation as well as structure the final two speeches in the round with appropriate weighing.
    • Practice Debates and Feedback: Debaters will engage in multiple practice debates, applying their newfound skills in simulated competition settings. Experienced coaches will provide constructive feedback and individualized coaching to help participants refine their techniques and improve their performance.

Week 2: Advanced Techniques and Application

      • Argument Refinement: 

      • Crossfire Mastery: 

      • Weighing: 

      • Adaptation: 

      • Strategy and Flowing: 

      • Tournament Simulation:  

      Throughout the camp, participants will also have the opportunity to attend guest lectures, participate in drills and exercises, and engage in collaborative activities to further enhance their understanding of debate theory and application.

To register for the Public Forum Institute, please follow the below steps

  • Click "Apply Now" on the top right of this screen.
  • Follow the prompts to enter parent and student information on screens 1 and 2.
  • On screen 3, select the following options:
    • Camp Category: Competitive Debate
    • Camp Name: Public Forum 
    • Camp Session: Select the Session you prefer
    • Camp Major: Select Varsity or Novice
    • Price Option: Select Extended Day Camp or Overnight Camp

Program Grades Location Start Date End Date Price Options Register
Public Forum Debate 9 - 12 Stanford University Jul 28, 2024 Aug 10, 2024 Enroll

Price Options for Public Forum Debate

Extended Day Camp $3,495
Overnight Camp $4,950

Sample Schedule Public Forum

8:00 am Breakfast in the dining hall (overnight campers)
8:45-9 am Extended day camper check-in
9:00 am Morning Lecture
10:00 am Morning Lab/Practicum / Practice Rounds
11:30 pm Lunch in the dining hall (included for all campers)
12:30 pm Skills Workshops / Afternoon Lab / Practice rounds
5:00 pm Dinner in the Stanford Dining Hall (included for all campers)
6:30 pm Office Hours (Wk 1) Lab/Practicum (Wk 2) 
6:30 pm Practice Rounds
8:00 pm Fun evening activities 
9:00 pm Extended day camper check-out
10:00 pm Floor check
10:30 pm Room check
Education Unlimited believes in small-group, immersive learning with subject matter experts and experienced teachers. We strive to provide industry-leading instruction to all of our students and hold all staff to the highest possible standards. 

The Public Forum Coaching Staff will be announced here closer to camp. All coaches will be national championship caliber public forum coaches who have had significant local, state and national competitive debate experience. 

Gabe Rusk, MA - Public Forum Division Director and Lead Instructor

Gabe Rusk is currently the Director of Debate at the Fairmont Preparatory Academy in Anaheim, California and is a member of the National Speech and Debate Association’s Public Forum Topic Selection Committee. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Denver where he attended on a debate scholarship and a Master’s Degree from Oxford University in Comparative Religious Studies. During college, he won 4th place at the national British Parliament championships. While at Oxford he was the Vice President of the Student Union representing all international graduate students and was elected as the equality officer at the Oxford Debate Union. While at Oxford his dissertation focused on the history of the First Amendment. During high school, Gabe was a Public Forum competitor himself winning the prestigious Tournament of Champions in 2010. Gabe has been a coach in Public Forum Debate for over fourteen years. Over that time his students have won or finaled at tournaments like UC Berkeley, UNLV, NDCA, ASU, Glenbrooks, Stanford, Georgetown, UK Season Opener, the TOC and more. In 2024 one of his individual teams had the highest TOC Gold Bid count, 8, by the end of the season. Gabe has also been the director, or senior instructor at over a dozen summer institutes over the last fourteen years including as Curriculum Director. Gabe believes debate and public speaking teach critical thinking and news literacy that are indispensable in the 21st Century and has made it his life mission to spread such skills.

Initially Confirmed Instructors to include: 

  • Matthew Stannard
  • Doug Miller
  • Sky Juinio