Join Us

How Do I Join as a Student?

The Metropolitan Debate League is a parliamentary–style debate education organization that provides tournaments and workshops to debaters in the New York metro area.  Regardless of your location, you are welcome to join if you can meet the following criteria:

  1. You are a student in grades 5-8.
  2. You can find at least 2 friends to join you.
  3. You can pay the annual dues ($350 due in November of each year)
  4. You can attend at least 4 of our tournaments, which are in the New York metro area and happen on Saturdays approximately once a month during the school year.
  5. You can find adult volunteers to represent your debate program (1 adult for every 6 children, rounding up).

How Does a New School Join?

The Metropolitan Debate League is unique in the way it works with students from all kinds of venues.  Some students form debate programs at their schools.  In this model, a school often finds an interested teacher to act as a coach and debate teacher, and the debate program might be run as a class during school hours or as an after-school team.  In fact, we recommend schools pay such teacher volunteers on the same basis they would pay a coach to handle a sports team.

If your school joins our league, we will also try to work with your administration and parent organizations to host one of our tournaments or workshops at your school.  We will also work with the coaches, teachers, and families to help them learn about our type of debate, so it’s okay if your coach or teacher is new to debate.  We welcome students from all types of schools including but not limited to: public, private, parochial, charter, test entry, and community. Schools must meet criteria 3-5 outlined above, including due payments and ability to attend at least 4 tournaments.

Are There Other Ways to Join?

Another way students participate in our debate league is through a community, after-school, or gifted program.  In this case, the organization that supports your program would work to find a volunteer to help coach the student debate teams.  We would work with your organization to help them learn about our type of debate, and if they hold their meetings in a large enough building, we would work with them to host a tournament or workshop.

Finally, some students join with the help of their parents, who may know other parents with children who wish to join a debate league.  In cases like this, the parents usually take turns hosting debate practices and helping out at touraments.

In all cases, parents, teachers, and other adult volunteers are essential.  One of the ways we keep our dues low enough for everyone to join is with the help of volunteers to help us judge rounds at each tournament.  Every debate program needs to bring adults to each tournament, where they will be trained in our form of debate.

If this sounds like something you are interested in doing, then we suggest getting to work right away!  Talk to parents, students, schools, and community organizations to see if others are interested.  Once you have the members of your team together, email us at, and we will help you set up your program!  We are happy to welcome you to the Metropolitan Debate League.

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