Debate Institute

What is Public Forum Debate?

"Public Forum involves opposing teams of two, debating a topic concerning a current event. Proceeding a coin toss, the winners choose which side to debate (PRO or CON) or which speaker position they prefer (1st or 2nd), and the other team receives the remaining option. Students present cases, engage in rebuttal and refutation, and also participate in a “crossfire” (similar to a cross examination) with the opportunity to question the opposing team. Often times community members are recruited to judge this event."

National Speech and Debate Association

Public Forum Divisions

The public forum lab at GMDI is divided into four different classes - middle school, novice, junior varsity, and varsity. Campers applying are able to choose public forum as their lab section, and are placed into a specific skill level based on a diagnostic that we perform on day one of camp.

Mason Scholars Program

The Mason Scholars program is a new addition to the 2019-2020 Summer. Scholars will receive a bio on our website, a $100 discount, and a guaranteed slot in the varsity class of the camp. 

If campers want to be considered for the Scholars program, they must send a completed case brief for the GMDI Week One public forum topic to include in the camp starter packet along with a coach letter of recommendation. Materials are due on June 21st. Email Hannah Call at by June 1st to find out the topic for case brief work and for any questions.

​Camp Evidence

Public Forum campers enter the camp provided a starter file packet that is produced by the camp staff. The packet includes a starter pro and con case and important briefs for the beginning of the topic.

Campers use these cases for the debates that occur on the first several days of the camp, and are expected to have their own cases and briefs written for the camp tournaments at the end of each week.

Do I Need to Bring a Partner?

​Not at all! A large amount of campers attend without a debate partner, and we pair each of you together.

Public Forum Labs