TIPS ON GETTING STARTED in Ambassadors for Christ Speech & Debate Club

1. Join Ambassador Club knowing that in your first year, and especially in the first weeks of Club, students and parents are coming up a learning curve. There are definitely times when it may feel like you are somewhat lost and overwhelmed with all there is to learn. Speech & debate terms may be like a foreign language.

Don't give up or be discouraged. Just keep in mind that everyone new to speech and debate has felt this way. We are all here to assist you in this journey; our Coaches, our Leadership Team, and our veteran parents. Be patient with yourself, remembering we were all once beginners, new to this community, and learning the ropes as you are now.

2. As you learn more about what is involved and what is offered in speech & debate, begin to decide your goals for the year. Any of the coaches, members of the Leadership Team, and veteran parents would be happy to discuss this with you. This can be done by considering these ideas, suggestions, and questions:

• As a student, do you know yet what speech events you are most interested in? Look over the listing of Junior Varsity & Senior Varsity speeches on this Ambassador Club website. Consider this question: Do your parents have recommendations for you, as they know you & your interests well?

• Consider how much time you have available to spend on speech & debate each week? Look over your school week and make an initial commitment. If possible, 1 – 2 hours/week for Senior Varsity students is a great beginning commitment. Some students who find this a major interest will be motivated to devote more time to their research and work on their speeches and debate cases, but regardless, every student can and will benefit by giving time and focus to develop these important life-long skills of excellent public speaking, research, and clear critical thinking.

• Do you as a student, need/want a partner for either SV Team Policy or JV or SV Duo Interp, or, if you are an experienced student, for SV Parli Debate? Speak with your coaches about partners they might recommend for you.

• What are your greatest interests and favorite subjects? Parents of Junior Varsity students can be especially helpful with this. Is there a way to use those interests and subjects as the topics of your speech(es)? Think about doing an Expository Speech to demonstrate an activity or important information about which you are extremely interested. Some students have done Expos Speeches about their grandfather’s WWII experience with a tri-fold of pictures including the armaments used by their relative, showing their dog tags, etc. Others have told about chronic diseases with which they or a family member must deal, while others have crafted intriguing demonstrations of Science experiments explaining the not-widely-known details involved in the experiment and the science surrounding it. There are limitless options for these speeches!

• What are you studying this year, in science, history, etc. about which you are interested and fascinated? What literature are you reading or find especially riveting or fascinating which could become an excellent Dramatic, Humorous, or Duo Interpretative Speech? Is there a way to use your assigned or pleasure reading or some school subject as a topic for your speech(es)?

• Plan to compete in Ambassador Club’s Tournaments with tentative dates of Nov. 2023 and Feb. 2024. Every Coach and alumni in this activity will tell you that tournaments provide the best learning experience and hone your skills better than any other activity in speech & debate.

• Are you interested in traveling to out-of-state tournaments? To find the Calendar listing the many Tournaments offered by other Stoa-affiliated Clubs, go to their Tournament Calendar. Stoa is our club's national league and many Clubs, like ours, offer both JV & SV competitions at their tournaments.

There are many reasons to be involved in Speech and Debate, academic skills, improved writing and research abilities, critical thinking, improved communication skills, high school credit, preparation for the future, etc. Each student, and each family, will have their own reasons, purposes, and goals.

Remember, Ambassador Club is here to help you achieve YOUR goals.

We recommend these suggestions for Parents:

• Research with your student. Read over the descriptions of events and their requirements on this Ambassador Club website and on the Stoa website, find YouTube videos of Stoa speeches & debates and watch them with your student.

• Work with you students to choose the number of events they are interested in. Talk with coaches or other parents about their experiences with those events. Some find it helpful to choose 1-3 different events each year to have exposure to a variety of events.

• Add Speech preparation & Debate research to your daily lesson plans by designating some time each day for research & focus. These activities are developing skills your students will definitely need in college, in the workplace, and in all of life. They can be blended into their school subjects and given credit hours on their transcripts.

• Work with our coaches & your own student(s). Help your student(s) write and/or edit their speeches and debate briefs and cases. It’s helpful to encourage them to set deadlines as they are creating their speeches and/or writing their debate cases.

• Set goals for the completion of drafts of speeches & debate cases. Have the rough draft speeches/debate cases ready to be looked over by a coach by mid. October, if possible.

• Plan to have your speech memorized by the first Tournament. Our 2023 Fall semester tournament is planned for a Thursday - Saturday in mid-November.

We are training future leaders with the hope they will be wise and godly communicators and defenders of the Christian Faith! We pray our training causes them to them sharpen their reasoning and speaking skills for HIS Glory!

Remember to have fun along the way! We can all enjoy and be grateful to God for HIS gift of communication, thinking, reasoning, and learning!!