What is the mission of Fortitude?
We are a group of parents each working on discipling our own children. Speech and debate is just one tool that we use to aid in that discipleship process. Through participation in speech and debate, we want our children to grow in these three areas: (1) faith, (2) character, and (3) forensic skills. Most important is growth in faith. Second, growth in character. And last, growth in forensic skills.
What are the forensic events?
Limited Preparation Speeches
Team Policy Debate
Lincoln Douglas Value Debate
Who is eligible to participate?
Competitors shall be ages 12 through 18 on October 1 of the current season.
We do not currently have a stand-alone juniors program, but we do allow younger siblings to watch, learn, and sometimes participate with a goal toward competition. Some tournaments will host a Junior Tournament, and for that reason do accept junior level competitors who are BOTH (1) aged 9 by October 1 of the current season, and (2) have an older sibling aged 12 or above who is also a part of our club in that school year. Families should note that we do prioritize investing more heavily in our students aged 12 and up.
All families need to read and agree with the Fortitude Statement of Faith.
Our league is exclusively for independently home schooled students. Students participating in club time and tournaments cannot be enrolled in a charter school or public school. Here are the full eligibility rules.
What are the costs ?
There are several costs to consider:
Club fees. $125/family per year. This is to cover the cost of insurance, materials, and other club overhead. Fees are payable on the first week of club.
Stoa Registration cost. Click here for information on the cost to join Stoa.
Tournament costs. One of the mechanisms used to train students in speech in debate is participation in tournaments, many of which are out of town. Each local tournament has some nominal entry fees, but the larger costs are those associated with travel to these tournaments. Many tournaments offer "host housing" to help with lodging costs, but this is not guaranteed.
Tournament attire. Tournaments require professional attire for competitors.
Private coaching/camps (optional). Many students wish to attend speech/debate camps or pay for private coaching. The costs for these can vary widely.
What are the expectations for families?
Active Parent Participation. Our club is a collaborative partnership of parents working together to disciple our children. We do not approach the coaching of speech and debate as “done by the professionals,” but see our co-labor together as iron sharpening iron. For this reason, we expect each family to provide at least one parent coach each week to be actively involved in giving constructive feedback and guidance. Parents who cannot come on a given week may send a grandparent or other adult to fill-in their otherwise needed spot, but our club is not a drop-off event.
Weekly Attendance and Work at Home. It is our goal that students and parents attend together each week unless they have otherwise made arrangements with club leadership. Since our weekly club time is used for students to present their work and receive feedback, students should come to club ready to focus on improving speech and debate skills. This means preparing speeches and debate cases at home, and coming ready to polish skills at club.
Participation in Tournaments. Because the primary vehicle we have to motivate students is the competition of tournaments, we expect each student to compete in a minimum of two tournaments during the season.
Serving at Our Local Tournament. Putting on a local tournament takes a small army and it blesses not only our students but the greater Stoa (our league) community. For this reason, we require "all hands on deck" from our club families when we host a local tournament. We do take interests, gifting, and time constraints into consideration for finding the best place for parents to serve during a tournament.
Agreement with Statement of Faith and Registration with the Stoa League. All club families need to signify their agreement with our Fortitude Statement of Faith upon registration and all families need to separately register for the Stoa league.
How is club meeting time structured?
We meet every Tuesday during the school year (with a few breaks for holidays, etc.) at Trinity Community Church, from 4:00 - 8:45 p.m.
4:00-5:45 - Speech events
5:45-6:15 - BYO Dinner (please note that we do not have kitchen access)
6:15-7:00 - Apologetics Bible study
7:00-8:45 - Debate (Team Policy and Lincoln Douglas)
Parents should plan to be present and plan to help with coaching whenever their student is there. We can, occasionally, make exceptions to this expectation, but please communicate your needs to the leadership team in advance of club time. Because our club is parent led and our goal is discipleship, parent participation is expected even if your student can drive themself.
Younger siblings are permitted to attend alongside their parents, but no childcare is provided and children should not be left unattended.
When students are not presenting, they should be listening and giving constructive feedback to others.
*This schedule is subject to change as determined by the needs of the club.