Schools debate camp planned
Champion debaters from overseas are to pass on the secrets of effective speaking to young Bermuda residents this summer.
The debate camp was the brainchild of Kenza Wilks, 20, who has used his own debating success to set up a British-based public speaking firm, CodeBlue Consultancy.
Mr Wilks said he was “really keen for kids with any level of experience to come, whether they're completely new or training with the national squad to represent Bermuda”.
He told The Royal Gazette: “It's something new, and a great opportunity for students that wouldn't normally have access to this quality of international coaches.”
The course, from July 1 to 12, was set up in a joint effort by his company and the World Schools Boot Camp, a debate-training camp based in the UK.
Mr Wilks explained: “I've always been keen to transition away from speaking into more of a coaching role.
“This is a way to use my skills from debating for public speaking. I also wanted to do this for children, to get them to understand debating and get involved. It's greatly affected my own life.”
Mr Wilks, a Bermudian, made his name after leading the England debate team to victory at the 2016 World Schools Debating Competition.
He came top out of 460 competitors at the global competition in 2017, aged 18.
He founded CodeBlue a year ago, and has worked on workshops with the WSBC camps “taking kids to another level”.
Mr Wilks said: “What we want now is to bring the opportunity and successes of the London programme to Bermuda.”
He added the camp could take 40 to 60 young people from the ages of 12 to 18 for the summer course.
Mr Wilks said he was also looking for corporate sponsorship to improve accessibility and ensure as many school pupils as possible could attend, regardless of financial status.
The initiative will bring seasoned debate champions from WSBC and the team said it hoped to close with a two-day competition for the public to see the fruits of their work.
Early sponsors included Allied World Assurance and Canterbury Law. Details on the camp, which Mr Wilks said was a first for Bermuda, can be viewed at www.codebluewsbc.com.
Mr Wilks said he continued to work in public speaking and is an assistant coach for India's debating team.
He added he also expected to take part in a public debate at the House of Lords in London later this year.
The debate will be led by Mr Wilks and Michael Hastings, global head of corporate citizenship at professional services firm KPMG.
The expected proposition is to be quota policies as a means of improving workplace diversity and multicultural representation.
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