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Why Should Speech and Debate Competitors Volunteer As Judges?


Speech and debate competitions offer a unique opportunity for students to showcase their communication skills, critical thinking, and persuasive abilities. While many are familiar with the thrill of being a competitor, there's another crucial role that can significantly impact the success of these events: the judge. At ModernBrain, we believe that judging is not only essential for the smooth functioning of tournaments but also a rewarding experience that benefits both the competitors and the judges themselves. In this blog post, we'll explore the advantages of judging at speech and debate competitions and why it's a valuable experience for all involved.

Where You Can Do It: Making an Impact at Different Levels

The beauty of judging is that it's not limited to a specific age or experience level. Scholars of Speech nonprofit tournaments and the National Online Forensics League (NOFL) welcome 7th graders and above to judge elementary school competitors, while those in 10th grade and above can judge middle school participants. Local leagues often allow varsity competitors to serve as judges for novice rounds. This inclusive approach empowers students to give back to their community while still gaining invaluable insights into the judging process.

Good for Competitors You're Judging: A Competitor's Perspective

As a fellow competitor, you understand the challenges and aspirations of those you're judging. This empathy enables you to write detailed and constructive feedback on ballots. Drawing from your own experiences, you can provide tailored advice that resonates with the competitors and helps them grow. Being committed to their success, you are less likely to repeat the mistakes that you might have encountered with other judges during your own competition journey. Your presence as a dedicated and compassionate judge enhances the overall learning experience for the participants.

Good for You: Gaining Rewards and Insights

Judging at speech and debate competitions offers several personal benefits. Firstly, by volunteering as a judge, you earn valuable National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) service points, which can positively impact your own competition standing. Additionally, many schools and organizations recognize judging as community service, allowing you to accumulate volunteer hours that contribute to your personal and academic development.

Moreover, putting yourself in the shoes of a judge allows you to perceive the categories from a fresh perspective. You gain a deeper understanding of what truly matters in rankings and how certain elements may influence the overall performance. This newfound perspective can give you a competitive edge as you fine-tune your skills, knowing exactly what to emphasize and what may not have as significant an impact on your own performance.

Judging at speech and debate competitions is a rewarding experience that benefits both the competitors and the judges. It offers a chance for you, as a competitor, to make a positive impact on others' journeys while gaining valuable insights and rewards for yourself. The inclusive nature of judging opportunities ensures that students of different ages and experience levels can contribute to the growth and success of the speech and debate community. Embrace the power of judging, and discover a fulfilling way to enrich your own competition experience while fostering the development of future communicators and debaters. Step into the role of a judge, and unlock a world of possibilities at speech and debate competitions!

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