Annual Speech and Debate Camp Cancelled

Courtesy photo
Low Enrollment Causes Cancellation: Junior Communication major Savanna Sanders (left) and sophomore Kris Mayfield (right) did not receive the opportunity to participate in last summer's annual speech and debate camp. The communication faculty cancelled the camp due to low enrollment.

Erin Owens
A&E Editor Editor
@TheErinOwens

Members of the Cameron Communication Department made the decision to cancel the annual speech and debate camp over the summer due to low enrollment.

While 85 students enrolled in the program, numbers did not meet the 100-student goal that would offset operation costs.

Director of Forensics Sarah Collins stated that profit was not a priority. However, after operating at a loss in previous years, breaking even was vital for this year.

In an effort to avoid cancellation, the department extended the deadline for enrollment multiple times. Collins said she believes the 60 dollar price increase from last year’s fees combined with other budget cuts in education factor into the decision to close the camp.

“Less schools are able to pay for their students to come,” Collins said. “It put more burden on the student, and their parent really, to pay for them to come to camp.”

Collins initially feared the camp cancellation would occur once she realized housing costs had risen for summer use. She and other faculty who shared the same concern contacted the administration, who subsequently adjusted the housing fees on an incremental scale.

Collins met with the administration to address strategies for moving forward after the cancellation of camp, such as grants, structural changes and outside funding.

The administration strives to keep the student-staff ratio low so that each person who attends receives individual attention and recognition to better improve his or her skills for the upcoming competition year.

While campers work in preparation for the end of camp tournament, they also have time to form bonds when connecting with peers who share a similar interests.

Despite the cancellation, coordinators did not make the decision without keeping the students in mind.

“The goal of the camp is to provide a service to students in our area who can’t afford to go anywhere else,” Collins said. “I just felt bad for the students who had registered and thought we [were] really doing them a disservice.”

She also mentioned that she is thinking ahead to avoid future cancellations.

“We started researching,” Collins said. “I had interns this summer that were supposed to help with the camp, so instead we started researching how different camps do things, [and] looking at different options for us.”

To date, there is no set plan for next year, though Collins remains steadfast in her attempts to find a solution.

“We are moving forward in terms of having camp next summer,” Collins said. “We’re looking at ways to move people around and hopefully find other ways to offset some of the other costs to make it more affordable.”

Junior communication major and former camper Savanna Sanders said she had mixed feelings about the camp cancellation.

“I understood what [Collins] and the faculty went through in having to make the decision,” Sanders said, “so I was very unbiased from that aspect.”

“[However,] it always hurts to see something that you know has been around for so long, and that you’ve been a part of and made history with, to see that have to go away.”

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