Let the 2016 Summer Institute begin!

(all photos by www.whatseatingcheff.com)

Yesterday we kicked off this year's Summer Debate Institute, with a record 89 youth in attendance! The numbers keep growing- we have over 100 young people here today! Almost 80% of these students are brand-new to debate and the ways this smart sport builds minds and shapes futures. 

Students and SVUDL staff are hard at work building this year's community through games, workshops, coach training, and more, laying the foundation that makes the social and emotional benefits of being a SVUDL debater as great as the intellectual benefits. EPAPA Media Organizer Nyisha spoke to the group yesterday about her work, and how they too can make sure youth voice is represented in SVUDL's message. Hats off to Nyisha for doing a solo presentation for her peers, one of the most intimidating things a young person can do!

Transformative moments  are already underway. One lab leader told students "Don't be mediocre. It's horrible when people who have so much potential don't work to accomplish all they can." One student turned to her friend and whispered excitedly "He's saying we have potential!"- another youth awakened to her own power to compete, excel, and change the world. 

It was an amazing first day, and today promises to be just as special. Labs are under way, lunch is ordered, and Grammy-nominated artist Maimouna Youseff will speak with and perform for the youth later today! It's a great week to be a new SVUDL debater!