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Negotiator, Debater, Peacemaker

This section is for the future politician, international business

leader, foreign relations specialist, corporate head,

community leader, and even president of a local rotary club.

Leadership is an outstanding quality. A strong and effective

leader should have excellent negotiation skills and be an

effective debater, someone who gets their point across and is

a good communicator. In today’s world, peacemaking skills

are also important for any leader. Resolving conflict is an art

and a skill that can be fine tuned with training.

Presidential Classroom is a remarkable experience for a

teenager. Located in Washington, DC, the program teaches

the mechanics of American government. Students learn how

to legislate, as they meet with members of congress and legislative

officials and witness the process in action. Through

direct experience and seminars, this program teaches future

leaders the arts of negotiation, debating, and peacemaking,

as well as other subjects essential to leadership.

The National Debate Institute offers a program dedicated

to the art of debate. It is effective in teaching future leaders

to think on their feet, in giving them the confidence to speak in

front of a group, and in showing them how to get their points

across successfully.


Government and politics camp

Preeta Nayak, Director

Junior Statesman Foundation

400 South El Camino Real

San Mateo, CA 94402

(650) 347-1600

QUICK TAKE: This camp focuses on all parts of the government.

It helps kids hone their leadership skills, gain an

awareness of politics, and develop their speaking skills. The

camp is intense, but your kid can leave with high school

credit because a few AP and Honors classes are included in

the program.


FEES: The Boarding program is $3,300, but financial aid is


DATE: 27 days from June to July


BACKGROUND: The Junior Statesman Program is held at a

number of colleges, including Georgetown University in DC

and Princeton University in New Jersey. The program has

been active for sixty years and provides kids with an appreciation

of American government, along with leadership skills

needed to contribute to society.

DESCRIPTION: The curriculum is tough: classes six days a

week, with AP classes in American government, economics,

and comparative government. Classes are taught by professors

of government, and guest speakers provide other points

of view and enhance the discussion. The camp provides

recreational activities, including dances for the students on


OUR TAKE: An amazing opportunity for any student with an interest

in leadership and in learning more about our government.

This is an excellent opportunity for the student who is

up to the challenge.

OUR RECOMMENDATION: There are many excellent colleges

with this program, so there’s a good chance of finding one

near you.


Debate camp

Robert Thomas, Associate Director

California National Debate Institute

Education Unlimited

1700 Shattuck Avenue #205

Berkeley, CA

(510) 548-4800


QUICK TAKE: This program is really dedicated to the improvement

and development of debating skills among young adults.

If your kid has an interest in law or business, this is an excellent

way to learn that skill. Two simultaneous programs run

over the summer, one in California at Berkeley and another

on the campus of the University of Maryland. Students who

attend are serious about competing in debate and are there

to prepare for various national competitions,




DATES: Two sessions per year, which last 14 to 18 days

FEES: Application fee, $85. University of Maryland program,

$2,300; Berkeley program, $950/week. Financial aid is available.

BACKGROUND: The Public Speaking Institute began this academic

program in 1995 to provide students with a greater

understanding of the fundamentals of public speaking and

communication skills. The Public Speaking Institute holds

camps of this nature in several excellent colleges such as

Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley,

where it is called the California National Debate Institute, and

at the University of Maryland in College Park under the name

of the National Debate Institute.

DESCRIPTION: The program is for successful students (GPA

above 3.0) with a desire to understand and improve their

competitive debate skills. Students will live in college housing

and experience the competitive atmosphere at this higher

level of learning. The topics range from ecology and politics

to philosophy and government.

OUR TAKE: Although this is a great program for the child considering

competitive debating or a career in law or business,

every child will benefit from learning these skills. If a kid is

committed to overcoming shyness, this program might be the

answer, but note that these debate devotees take it very seriously.

Most professionals require strong speaking skills and

the ability to speak effectively in front of large groups. This

program is an excellent way to hone the skills necessary to

craft a debating position and develop more fluid speech.

OUR RECOMMENDATION: The camp will definitely be a positive

on college applications, but, more importantly, it will test

children’s thinking skills as well as their abilities as debaters.

It can be a very positive experience for the prepared student.


Jann Hoag, Vice President of Programs

119 Oronoco Street

Alexandria, VA 22314-2015

(800) 441-6433


QUICK TAKE: This program is for students interested in the

mechanics of American government. Presidential Classroom

provides the exemplary student with the opportunity to spend

a week in Washington, DC, with more access to government

institutions than is usually afforded.

AGE REQUIREMENT: The student must be a high school junior

or a senior, with either a B average or a ranking in the top 25%

of his/her class. One-week programs are offered from January

to March and in June and July.

BACKGROUND OF THE PROGRAM: Presidential Classroom is

based on a series of educational initiatives implemented by

leaders in Washington, DC, who were interested in challenging

American youth. President John F. Kennedy initiated the

first programs in the two series: “Widening Horizons” and the

“White House Seminars.” Vice President Hubert Humphrey

followed with “Washington Briefings.” The success of the

programs and the increasing number of young people who

wished to be involved led to the charter of the Presidential

Classroom in 1968. Students are housed at Georgetown University,

where they meet in the Conference Center. Seminars

are held in notable government institutions all over our Nation’s


DESCRIPTION: The program’s motto is “Not Your Typical Week

in Washington,” and through its well-established relationships

with different parts of the Federal government, the Presidential

Classroom ensures the week will be anything but typical.

Students visit the House and Senate floors and various embassies,

receive a CIA briefing, and gain access to the State

Department. Locations vary according to which program is

chosen. The original scholars’ program has been augmented

with at least six special seminars that concentrate on specific

topics (such as national security, science/technology, and pub-

lic policy) that explore the relationship of these subjects to

government policy. Not just an all-access tour of our nation’s

capital, but a gathering of leaders among students from all

around the country, Presidential Classroom allows for a significant

amount of peer exchange within a formidable setting.

OUR TAKE: Presidential Classroom is an exceptional way of

bringing the study of government to life. Apart from the visits

to government offices and institutions, students participate

in a mock presidential election and debate domestic

and international issues. These forms of peer exchange, in

addition to the many private conversations among students,

encourage the development of self-confidence, esteem, and

communication skills. Another impressive feature of Presidential

Classroom—one that has a profound effect on the

kids—is the appointment set up between the students and

their member of congress. There is no better way for a student

to understand that our government is operated “by the

People” and “for the People.”

OUR RECOMMENDATION: This program is exceptional for the

following reasons: peer exchange; student participation in

debates, lectures, and programs that are designed to illustrate

and give students a “hands-on” feeling for the way government

works; personal interaction with government officials,

and visits to the formidable offices and buildings of our nation’s

capital. It teaches students negotiation “first-hand” by a

free and equal exchange of ideas through mock summits.

Presidential Classroom is the best way to give a kid a sense

of what “national leadership” entails. The downside is that

the programs only last one week.