PEOPLE

Meet our Debate Camp family of leaders, instructors, program developers and real support people!

Debate Camp brings together teams of accomplished debate educators, led by career teachers and school leaders.  We are a highly-experienced group who very much love what we do!  NOW in 2020, available for a direct-to you, 1:4 and 1:6 teaching ratio ONLINE program.  Meet the team:

CAMP DIRECTORS 

FOUNDING DIRECTOR - NICK SZYMANIS, Hon BA, B Ed, MA, OCT

Nick Szymanis is the founder and lead director of Debate Camp since 2002. He has been a career educator for 18 years, inclusive of academic leadership positions at Havergal College in Toronto (2005 - 2010), Crofton House School in Vancouver (2000 - 2005) and most recently as  Director of Academics at the Sterling Hall School in Toronto (2010 - 2015). He has coached debating and hosted annual tournaments for the past 18 years and is the current Vice President of the International Independent Schools Public Speaking League. Nick has trained students towards worlds-level debate in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2011 and 2017 and nationals level consistently since 2015. Nick, his wife Oona, and 2 sons, Noah and Aaron, live in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he currently coaches debating at Armbrae Academy and King's Edgehill School. In 2019 Nick directed our season-opening camp in Greenwich CT, and West Hartford, CT. In 2020 Nick will be overseeing our online program development

 

CAMP DIRECTOR - OONA CRAIG, BA, MA, OCT

Oona Craig has been a career educator for over 15 years; inclusive of Latin teaching positions with Collingwood School in Vancouver and Branksome Hall School in Toronto. Oona holds an MA in Classics from Dalhousie University, BA from McGill and is an Ontario Certified Teacher, with her B Ed from The University of Toronto. Oona is highly experienced in camp life and has been in the company of Debate Camp since our founding in 2002.  Our son Noah has attended camp since 2012.  In 2019, Oona directed our King City and Nova Scotia Overnight Debate Camps. In 2020, Oona will be teaching in and overseeing Latin Camp - a sister academic enrichment program to Debate Camp - see: LATIN CAMP for more information

PROGRAM COORDINATORS 2020 

PROGRAM COORDINATOR - SARAH ZAITLIN

Sarah Zaitlin is in her second year at Carleton University in Ottawa, where she studies Criminology and Criminal Justice with a concentration in Law. Sarah is an avid member of her university debate club, serving this year as Vice-President Internal and a member of the Tournament Selection Committee. As a debater, Sarah is active in the university circuit, having broken to elimination rounds at several tournaments in both the novice and open categories. This is Sarah’s second year working with Debate Camp, having taught in four Western Canadian cities in 2019. She is excited to meet new campers and to see our debate program continue to develop in the new digital landscape. 

PROGRAM COORDINATOR - JARREN FEFER

Jarren Fefer is in his third year at McGill University, where he majors in Psychology. A former Provincial Champion, Jarren has debated in competitions across the country and the world, and was ranked Top Speaker at the Heart of Europe Debate Championship. Jarren served as the Vice-President of his College’s debate club, before being invited to join the McGill Mock Trial team in University. For four years, he has consistently coached his high school debaters to Nationals. Jarren has worked at Debate Camp for three years, and is currently overseeing the launch of our new online program. He loves helping our more shy campers discover that they too can have strong voices.

 

PROGRAM COORDINATOR - ERIC ZHAO

Eric Zhao is in his third year at the University of Toronto, where he majors in Economics and Conflict Studies. Eric is also the current president of the Hart House Debating Club. As a debater, he was ranked as the 2nd best speaker in the country at this year's National British Parliamentary Championship. Eric is also an experienced coach and adjudicator, and was invited to judge the quarterfinals of the World University Debating Championship. Eric has worked with Debate Camp for the past 3 years, and has assisted with the development of our schools' program.  He loves meeting new campers either as an instructor or as a coordinator of our new online program.

 

PROGRAM COORDINATOR - NAVIN KARIYAWASAM

Navin Kariyawasam recently graduated with an Honours B.Sc from the University of Toronto in Neuroscience and Gender Studies. They will be starting their MD at the university in the fall. Navin was heavily involved in the Hart House Debating Club, serving as president in their third year. As a speaker, they were the top Canadian speaker at the 2019 World Championships, where they also broke to elimination rounds. They were also the top national speaker at this year’s British Parliamentary Debating Championship. Navin has worked at Debate Camp as Program Staff and Program Coordinator and assisted with the development of our schools' program.  They are very excited to continue their instruction and coordination through our online debate program.

PROGRAM DIRECTORS 2020 

PROGRAM DIRECTOR (UNITED STATES) - KELSEY SCHOTT

Kelsey Schott is a graduate student at Ball State University where she is completing her MA in Communication Studies. At BSU, Kelsey coaches parliamentary and NEDA debate and teaches public speaking. Prior to starting her master’s program, Kelsey was the Debate in Residence at Eastbourne College in the UK where she coached debate, taught public speaking, and ran the MUN program. Kelsey completed her undergraduate education at Simpson College with degrees in Political Science and Religious Studies. Simpson College was the 2016 and 2018 Pi Kappa Delta national champion debate team while Kelsey was a parliamentary debater. She is very excited for her first summer with Debate Camp! 

 

PROGRAM DIRECTOR (UNITED KINGDOM) - HEATHER ROBINSON

Heather Robinson has completed her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from King's College London, in England. Heather was previously a debate mentor with Debatemate for two years, where she taught debate skills in local areas which had high rates of child poverty. During this time, Heather developed and conducted workshops for groups of up to 25 children. Heather has been debating competitively for over seven years, and has reached over 10 different semi-finals or finals, including the final of the 2019 World Open Championships and the finals of the Oxford Women's Open in 2017 and 2018. 

 

PROGRAM DIRECTOR (INTERNATIONAL) - THOMAS TANG

Thomas Tang has been a youth leadership and resilience coach for over 15 years. He obtained his MBA from Ivery Business School (Western University) in London, Ontario. Thomas also studies, practices, and teaches the eastern philosophies of Tai Chi (he is a gold medalist from the Chin Woo Tournament, 2011) with its correlation to modern sports psychology, neuroscience, and with a high performance mindset. Thomas presents keynotes speeches and workshops in Asia and North America. He works with corporate executives, entrepreneurs, student leaders and sports coaches. Thomas joined Debate Camp in June 2020 as International Director.  He is currently living in Oakville with his wife and two sons who are passionately learning debating, figure skating and wrestling.

INSTRUCTORS ONLINE 2020  

OUR TEAM OF DEBATE CAMP INSTRUCTORS 

Ready to Inspire! These highly qualified young people, many of whom have worked with us in several summers and / or graduated from our programs in the not-so-distant past are now joining us online for 2020.  All have been privy to the development of some outstanding teaching resources and program tools and are trained and eager for work with you in our educational setting - direct to you!  For individual bios - scroll over each to learn more:

SAFE GUARDING:  All Debate Camp Staff are bound by and annually trained according to Debate Camp Best Practices for Work with Youth Guidelines (informed from American and Canadian Camping Association criterion for staff training and youth protection). 

OFFICE TEAM 

A REAL OFFICE - WITH REAL PEOPLE TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS 

For any of your technical support questions or for more information about any of our programs - meet the team at the other end of our many emails and real phones (9:30am - 3:30pm ADT Monday - Friday)

OFFICE MANAGER - MAGDALENA RUDZ, BMgmt, JD/MHA 

Magdalena Rudz has recently completed her first year at the Schulich School of Law, as the first step toward a combined law and Master of Health Administration. While not experienced in debating, she possesses strong technical skills, taking the lead on tech support for both Debate Camp and Latin Camp. With an undergrad in business management from Dalhousie University, Magdalena also provides strategic support to both camps. 

 

LOGISTICS MANAGER - CLAIRE MERCER

Claire Mercer has completed her second year at Dalhousie University, where she studies Political Science and History. She is currently the secretary of the Dalhousie Undergraduate Political Science Society. Claire supports Debate Camp through providing additional tech support and coordinates much of the logistics for the camp, including camp groups, certificates, and payroll!

OUR PEOPLE

PROGRAM STAFF, PROGRAM LEADERS AND INTERNS

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CONTACT US

Debate Camp - Main Office

2684 Agricola Street,

Halifax, Nova Scotia

 

e: info@debatecamp.com

 

Debate Camp Office:  902 - 453 - 0245
North America:  888 - 512 - 8154

calls answered: 10:00am - 5:00pm

ATLANTIC STANDARD TIME 

CAMP OFFICE