About Verdict

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Verdict Speech and Debate Club is based in Sarasota, Florida and competes in Region VIII (Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina) of the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association, a speech and debate league for Christian, homeschooling students age 12-18. We were founded in 2008 with the mission of training up Christian homeschool youth today to be godly leaders tomorrow.

Verdict Membership Info

  • Membership in the national organization: Every family in the Verdict Club is required to be a member of the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (NCFCA). The deadline for NCFCA registration and dues is September 1st, 2020.  Annual dues are $100.00, and applications can be found at www.NCFCA.org.
  • Club membership: Annual membership in the Verdict Speech and Debate Club is $75.00, and is due by August 24th, 2020.
  • Additional Fees: Cost per tournament is $30 for debaters (plus any required supplies such as file folders, printer ink, flow pads, etc). Cost for speech competitors is $25 for the first event, plus $10 for each additional event (plus any required supplies).
  • Time commitment: Students should plan on meeting every Monday, 9am-12pm for debate, and 1-4pm for speech. In addition, students will likely spend 1-3 hours per day in research time (depending on the number of events in which you are competing), and about 15 minutes per day checking email.
  • Code of conduct: Godly character is our first concern in Verdict, therefore we expect members to honor God by treating one another with kindness, and by speaking truly and courteously. We aspire to righteousness and peace in our relationships, and to serve one another in humility, and these same principles apply in how we conduct ourselves in tournament competition. Our goal in debate is to refute ideas, not people. In both practice and competition, our desire is to strongly pursue excellence in order to sharpen our skills, and learn to become better thinkers, speakers, and researchers. Verdict members are required to affirm the Inerrancy of Scripture, the Nicene Creed , and the Nashville Statement.
  • Camp attendance: All students new to debate must complete a debate camp, tutoring, or some other form of debate training  before participating in Verdict debate.
  • Conflict resolution: As a club and as individual members, we must all agree to resolve conflict in a manner that glorifies Christ. Students and members families are expected to follow the biblical guidelines found in Matthew 5 and Matthew 18. The offended party will meet one-on-one to resolve the matter first. This also means that we agree not to complain to a third party about problems and conflicts, as that is gossip.
  • Dress code for tournaments: Professional attire is always to be worn at all tournaments. For the gentlemen, this means suits, ties, and dress shoes (or sport coats with dress slacks). For the ladies, this means dresses (hem to the bottom of the knee), skirt suits (hem to the bottom of the knee), or pant suits and dress shoes.
  • Dress code for club meetings: Students should dress neatly. Shirts should cover the shoulder, the midriff, and the back. Modest dress is required: no revealing, low-cut, short, or overly-tight clothing is permitted. Jeans, slacks, or shorts may be worn with a collared shirt. Shorts must be of modest length. Some club meetings will require tournament dress, and this will be announced ahead of time.
  • Confidentiality: What is said and done in club is not to be shared with other clubs, speakers, or debaters in any manner or format. Verdict is a closed club.
  • Tournaments: All students are required to compete in at least one tournament. Fees for tournaments are listed in the “additional fees” section above. Remember also to budget for gas to and from the tournament, plus expenses for food and lodging, etc. Tournaments average 3-4 days, and each student is allowed to compete in up to four tournaments in our region, two districts qualifiers and two regional qualifiers.
  • Sarasota Practice Tournament: Volunteer and attend the one day Sarasota Practice Tournament.
  • Parent responsibilities: Parent involvement is critical for the success of both the club and the student. We require parents to stay for the club meetings as it gives them the opportunity to learn with their student, and share their insights with the club. It also allows parents to develop the skills necessary for judging public speaking and debate rounds at tournaments. Finally, we ask parents to help with various club and tournament duties, hold their students accountable to the dress code, and encourage them to come to meetings fully prepared, and be present at any scheduled parent meeting.
  • Sapphire Ball: Volunteer and attend the annual Sapphire Ball.
  • Sponsors: We’d like to thank  The Tabernacle Church in Sarasota for hosting our club meetings. We try to keep speech and debate affordable for our families, so if you would like to underwrite any of the expenses for our club, donate gently used clothing for our dress closet, or help with fundraising, we’d appreciate it! Please email us using the form on our contact page, and we’ll arrange the details of your donation.
  • Suggested resources:
    • “Argumentation and Debate” by Christy Shipe
    • “Split-Second Thinking: Mastering the Art of Impromptu Speaking” by Zac Floweree
    • “Strategic Debate” by Vance Trefethen (can be ordered from Monument Publishing)
    • “The Art of Practical Debate” by Grace Lichlyter, ISBN 978-0-9724612-7-6