Gustavus Offers High School Speech Camp

Posted on June 18th, 2007 by

By Tane Danger
Mankato Free Press

While their friends rush off to soccer, football or ballet camp, a special crop of high school students from all over the Midwest will gather at Gustavus Adolphus College for the college’s inaugural Summer Speech Institute.

But don’t let the name fool you.

This “academic camp” promises a week of a lot more than classrooms, lectures and books. Hosted and run by Gustavus’ own nationally ranked forensics team, the camp is intended to give participants a leg up in the competitive world of high school speech competition.

The Summer Speech Institute, or SSI, trains students in the 12 fields of forensics competition: prose, humorous, dramatic duo, drama, poetry, storytelling, extemporaneous reading, oratory, informative speech, great speeches, extemporaneous speaking and impromptu speaking.

“If you want to be competition ready and have a head start, this is the camp for you,” said Kristofer Kracht, co-director of Gustavus Forensics and camp director.

Campers will learn from Kracht and members of Gustavus’ award-winning forensics team, who will act as faculty, coaches and mentors. Each day will feature not only verbal instruction but also chances to apply skills, as well as learned practices using all of the college’s facilities.

“It’s an environment that is really conducive to learning,” Kracht said.

Each camper will focus on two events in which he or she hopes to become highly skilled for high school competitions. Organizers also are hoping campers will be able to take the general skills they learn about research, organization and team building back to their individual high school programs and share them with their peers.

“We want them to take the processes we teach them and pass them along to their teammates as well,” Kracht said. “Anything we can do to help build high school programs is great.”

The six-day camp will not only sharpen participants’ skills but will also offer a chance to experience collegiate life firsthand. Campers will have free time to explore the Gustavus campus, eat three meals a day at the college marketplace and live in the dormitories.

“Speech institutes attract the best of the best students,” said Kracht, adding that they are also some of the most likely high schoolers to become college students, and with luck, future collegiate forensics competitors.

The camp runs Aug. 5-10 and is open to all high school students.

Early-bird sign-up for $390 ended June 15, but potential campers can sign up through July 1 for $425. For more information, visit or contact Kracht via e-mail at


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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