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Communication & Journalism Department|Wyoming Forensics Institute


Welcome to the Wyoming Forensics Institute.

The Wyoming Forensics Institute is a summer debate camp open to all high school students throughout the country.  We offer one and two week sessions for Cross-examination/Policy debate and two week sessions for Lincoln-Douglas/Value and one week sessions for Public Forum debate.  For 2013, we are also debuting a special short session for debate novices.  This is the institute's 13th year of offering affordable debate education to students from the Rocky Mountain region.  Our mission is to provide exceptional, national-caliber instruction to students at the cheapest possible price. Please read on to find out more about what sessions we offer and how to register.  Please direct any questions to the camp director, Travis Cram, at

Sessions offered and camp dates:

The WFI has substantially restructured its camp offerings to be as attractive as possible to the schools in the mountain west.  This year, we will be offering the following sessions on the following dates:


Novice Debate starter-session.  July 7-11.  This 4-day novice session is targeted towards students who have no prior debate experience but are interested in getting some experience ahead of joining their school’s team in the fall.  This session will not specialize in any one type of debate but will focus on hands-on skills development in flowing, research, speaking and refutation, the foundations of every debate platform.  We will also introduce them to the three most common debate formats at the high school level in order to give them a degree of familiarity with the types of debate their school may offer.


Public Forum 1 week session. July 14-20. This 1 week session will focus on debate fundamentals such as flowing and speaking as well as skills particular to the PF format, such as case construction, research skills for a one-month topic rotation, and debate strategy.  This session is designed for students with at least one year of debate experience.


Lincoln-Douglas 2 week session. July 7-20.  This 2 week session specializes in the value debate format, or LD.  It will focus on debate fundamentals and strategy development, topic and value analysis, and preparing research for the slate of upcoming LD resolutions that will be utilized throughout the 2013-2014 season.  This session is designed for students with at least one year of debate experience.


Policy Debate 1 week beginner session. July 7-13. This 1 week session is offered for debaters coming off their novice season of policy debate and would like to gain more experience and background about policy or ‘CX’ debate.  Students will attend a series of lectures and laboratory sessions that cover the basics of policy arguments, strategy and adaptation.  In addition to a starting evidence set, debaters will also give several practice speeches and participate in practice debate rounds.


Policy Debate 2 week session. July 7-20. This 2 week session is offered for debaters with at least 1 semester of varsity level policy debate competition under their belts who have an interest in developing advanced skills and knowledge about debate strategy and the topic.  In addition to lectures, there will an extended week of laboratory sessions with camp faculty to learn how to develop and create new arguments and be successful at both the regional and national levels.


WFI Policy Scholars 2 week session. July 7-20. This is a merit-based 2 week session that debaters must submit an application for.  Capped at 10 students, this is an intense 2 week session geared towards those individuals who have considerable policy debate experience and are interested in working closely with some of the best debate minds in the country to develop the skills required to excel at the national level and possibly into college.  This session is rigorous, emphasizing research, preparation, in depth strategic thinking and how to get as large of a head start as possible on the year’s topic.  The application for the scholars session is due May 20th and admissions will be announced via email on June 1.  The application can be downloaded here.

Camp Tuition Costs and Possible Discounts:


Our rates have changed slightly to account for the new session structure, but are still some of the cheapest in the nation.  Unfortunately, we can no longer offer dorms without a meal plan because the University has restructured their summer camp policies, but we do still offer a commuter rate for those staying off campus.


Novice Starter session                         Full Tuition: $325                               Commuter: $150

PF Debate 1 week session                  Full Tuition: $475                               Commuter: $250

Beginner CX 1 week session              Full Tuition: $475                               Commuter: $250

LD Debate 2 week session                 Full Tuition: $925                               Commuter: $475

CX Debate 2 week session                 Full Tuition: $925                               Commuter: $475

WFI Policy Scholars                           Full Tuition: $1000                             Commuter: $500


Denver International Airport Shuttle: $50 round-trip, available to students flying into DIA.


There are three possible discounts that can help reduce the total cost of the camp:

Wyoming discount: Students from the state of Wyoming will receive a $50 discount off of the total cost to incentivize debate-learning in the state of Wyoming.

Early-bird discount: Successful registration by April 15, 2013 qualifies for a $25 discount off total cost.

 Referral discount: For every confirmed referral by another registrant, you qualify for a $25 discount off the total cost.  That means you can save $25 for every friend or teammate you can recruit to attend the camp.

Why you should attend the Wyoming Forensics Institute:

There are numerous advantages to choosing WFI over other camps in the country.

First, value.  The WFI is cheaper than nearly every other debate institute in the nation, and certainly in the West by several hundred dollars.  The camp also offers a very low staff to student ratio.  Students always receive one-on-one attention and instruction, something the big camps simply cannot offer.

Second, a diverse curriculum.  Our staff represents the entire spectrum of debate argumentation and most come from Wyoming or the Rocky Mountain region.  The WFI focuses on students of all debate backgrounds and abilities.  We emphasize how to succeed at the state, regional and national level.  Whatever your debate background or preferences, you can find a great fit at WFI. Please read all about our excellent staff here. 

Finally, our track record.  The WFI has a proven reputation for producing winning debaters at both the high school and college level.  Camp alumni have won multiple state championships, placed in the top 10 at the National Forensic League's National Championship tournament and qualified to the Tournament of Champions.  Camp alum have also excelled in college, reaching the deep elimination rounds of the CEDA and NDT championship tournaments.  But don't take our word for it.  Here is what a few past students have had to say:

"Attending WFI before my senior year was one of the best choices I made in my debate career. There really is no limit to how much better WFI can make you. Our lab leaders woke up early and stayed up late to help us whenever we needed their help. I became a much better speaker, researcher, and squad leader after just a few days. The skills I learned and the people I met at WFI were invaluable in helping me earn a college scholarship. I don't know of any other institute in the country that offers as many opportunities at as low a cost as WFI."

- Brian Rubaie, Shawnee Mission East High School and former debater for the University of Texas at Dallas.

"I highly recommend WFI to anyone working to become more successful and competitive debaters. The labs are a great opportunity to do research and where debaters can receive individual attention and instruction from their lab leaders. If you're looking to learn a more competitive style of debate at a very affordable price, you should definitely consider WFI."

- Jamie Tran, George Washington High School and former debater for the University of Colorado at Boulder.

How to register for WFI

1. Register electronically here

2. Download and print WFI enrollment forms here

3. Pay a $75 non-refundable deposit either electronically here or by


Frequently Asked Questions

 Q. Does the camp offer financial aid?

A.  The Wyoming Forensics Institute is unfortunately unable to offer either scholarships or discounts.  Our low prices are only possible because the camp is priced nearly at cost; any remaining money is used to pay for camp expenses and advertising.  Compared to other institutes throughout the region, however, the WFI is extremely cheap, often costing less than camps which are able to provide financial aid and awards.

Q. What meals are provided by tuition?

A. Tuition covers two meals a day—brunch and dinner—in the Washakie Dining Hall on the University of Wyoming campus.  We are unfortunately not able to offer three meals because the dining hall only offers two meals in the summertime.  Students in the past have procured breakfast by stocking their dorm room with simple breakfast items from the grocery store (small fridges are allowed in the dorm as well) or from coffee shops on campus.

 Q. Which camp session is right for me?

A. Refer to the session descriptions above.  It is very important that you enroll for the session appropriate to your skill level, experience and interest in order for you to get maximum value out of your time at WFI and to ensure that a good time is had by all.  If the information here still does not resolve your questions, please contact the camp director directly via email.

 Q. Are there restrictions on leaving the camp or dorms?

A. All students must be in the dormitories for the night beginning at 9:45; they will not be allowed to leave unless there is an emergency and they are accompanied by camp staff or a parent/guardian.  Students are not allowed off campus unless they have written note from their parents giving them express permission.

 Q. What transportation options do you offer if I fly in?

A.  There is a small regional airport in Laramie, but using it may substantially increase the cost of tickets.  You should plan on flying into Denver International Airport (DIA).  WFI offers a shuttle service that will pick up and drop off at DIA for $50 round-trip.  If you are planning on flying, please contact us before booking your tickets so that we can discuss ideal times to land and take-off.

 Q. What will happen in the event of sickness or injury?

A. If you become ill during the camp a WFI staff member will accompany you to the appropriate medical facility. After we have received your camp registration, you and your parents will be asked to fill out relevant medical forms that authorize you for treatment of illness and minor injuries.

 Q. Are there opportunities to attend church?

A. Every Sunday will begin with the morning off and there are several churches within walking distance of campus.  Again, students will only be allowed to leave campus if they have written consent from their parent/guardian.

 Q. Am I allowed to leave the camp on the weekends?

A. Only with written permission from your parent or guardian and only if you are accompanied by an adult or designated relative. For safety reasons, phone authorization for departure from campus will not be accepted. Let us know in advance if you have plans to leave the campus.

 Q. What should I bring to the camp?

A. Each dorm room is furnished with two single beds, study desks, bookshelves, closets, and desk chairs. Sheets and pillows are provided but most students prefer to bring their own.  Students should also bring towels and toilet articles, etc., as needed. The weather in Laramie during July is usually in the mid-70s with a daily afternoon rain storm.  It can also be somewhat cool at night.  Students should pack normal summer clothing as well as at least one pair of pants/jeans and a coat/sweatshirt. Because all students will be involved in researching and participating in a number of practice debates, it is important to bring the material and equipment you will need. A laptop computer is STRONGLY advised.  Beyond that, you may wish to bring paper for flowing and note-taking, index cards, legal pads, pens and highlighters, etc. You may also wish to bring your file box, catalog case, tub or whatever you normally file debate materials in. You may bring mini-fridges, stereos, hair dryers, computers and similar devices for your rooms.

 Q. Are there any expenses that are not covered in tuition costs?

A.  Camp tuition includes all laboratory fees, two meals a day, a camp t-shirt and awards for the camp tournament.  Expenses which are not included would be laundry, snacks/drinks, or any souvenirs you may want to buy while in Laramie.  Thus, most students always have a little extra spending money, but it is not required.

 Q. Do I have to buy my evidence separately?

A. No.  All camp files, evidence and lectures will be given to you by the time you leave camp.  Q. Can I receive mail/packages while at camp?

A. Yes.  Mail may be sent directly to the dorms or to: Wyoming Forensics Institute, C/O Travis Cram, University of Wyoming Dept. 3904, 1000 E. University Ave, Laramie WY 82071.

 Q. How can I contact my child while they are at camp?

A. You can leave a message at the camp office by using the e-mail address above. This may result in a delay of a few hours. At registration, we will provide additional emergency contact information (generally a cell phone number for the camp director). If you child carries a cell phone, there are certainly benefits to having them bring it to camp. If you are leaving your home (the home address on your child's application) for any lengthy time during the camp, please make sure to give us additional information on how to contact you (or a relative, if need be) should the need arise.

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