This is a question we get a lot so I am going to make a mini guide. Obviously many of these things aren’t “essential” in the sense of you could survive without them, but if you have the means and the time these are some things that will help you get the most out of camp.
You will need a computer. Many kids show up to camp and their computer is a disaster- full of viruses, no verbatim or word etc. This means they miss a bunch at the beginning (sometimes weeks…) as they try to get stuff ready. Don’t do that.
The computer itself- I haven’t bought a computer in a few years so feel free to chime in the comments with alternatives, but the Dell XPS 13 is the best computer for debate I’ve ever used. The no bezel screen lets you get a 13 in a smaller computer, the battery life is ridic, and it has been very solid and durable.
Software you need- You need a recent version of micrsoft word. You need verbatim. You can find tons of instructions online for how to get/use this. Take some time before camp and make sure you know all the functions and styles. Make sure you have it set up correctly (ask online for help if you can’t get it to work). Practice cutting cards and assembling a speech if you have never used verbatim for those functions. Look for an OCR program. for books (or google books) and those pesky locked pdfs.
I would also recommend a programmable mouse. When you get it you will want to set up 2 profiles – one for card cutting shortcuts, and one for speech making (using the speech assembly functions).
Get a power strip/extension cord. Outlets can be scarce in class rooms that are older (or the library), having one of these guarantees you get juice and makes you popular. I’m currently using this and this which combined weigh about 3 lbs, you can obviously get smaller ones based on your bag/swollness.
Make sure you always have your phone charger, and ideally an external battery. Kids text a lot, college campuses are huge and you use maps- your phone will go dead. Not being able to find/contact a student is really a nightmare for everyone involved so you should always be in touch.
Weather- its gonna change. Be prepared. An umbrella is good, a jacket like this is better. It can be crumpled into a tiny ball so it takes up no space, and it weighs next to nothing. Add to that they are ridiculously warm because they don’t breathe. This means its a multi tasker- it can replace a hooded sweatshirt and an umbrella. Most of the time if the weather is one thing all day people are fine, its when its cold in the morning and then raining and then hot that throws them off. Being able to always have something like this with you makes it easy.
Bring and wear actual shoes. College campuses can be filthy, sandals are great but every summer there are kids who cut their feet on glass, decide to play pickup basketball in flip flops and roll their ankle etc.
Hygene- you need to bring/use deodorant. You should shower daily, perhaps more than once a day if you are running around playing frisbee. Lots of debate camp is being in small rooms doing practice rounds with sweaty students- for the sake of everyone you will want to smell good. Axe body spray is not a shower substitute.
Water bottle- I like the vacuum insulated ones as I am obsessed with my water being ice cold. Don’t be late because you were getting a drink or snack. Don’t need to leave the library 50 times to get coffee.
A notebook and pens- Take notes on paper. You will learn more. You should also bring paper to flow. Get a timer.
A backpack- your bag should hold all the things you need for the day- computer and charger, phone charger, power strip, mouse, pens/notebook/paper. If your bag is too small for that consider getting a new one. Don’t be the person who never has what they need- if you fit it all in one bag you always have it. I’m constantly amazed how many people forget to bring paper, pens, and a timer to practice rounds but always have their bluetooth speaker with them to play what appears to be industrial machine noises.
That’s really it.
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