Chicago Debates relies on a large network of volunteers to help our debate program thrive. Check out our volunteer resources below!

Volunteer Portal Login HERE

In order to volunteer with Chicago Debates we ask volunteers to complete the following prior to their first tournament:

1.Register to volunteer: Let us know you’re interested in judging by completing an application.
2.Check out the Tournament Schedule: Register for any of our tournaments this season here.
3.Background Check: This will be provided by Chicago Debates. After registering an account we will send you an invitation from Sterling Volunteers.
4.Complete training: All new volunteers will need to complete a 75 minute training session. You can register for training here.
5.Payment Forms: If you’d like to receive a stipend payment, you will need to submit one W9 per season.

Volunteer Resources

Volunteer Trainings

Volunteer Roles and Responsibilities

There are multiple roles you can serve in as a volunteer with Chicago Debates. Below are several positions we always need help fulfilling.

Tournament Judge

The tournament judge’s role is to make a decision on the winner of debate rounds and provide feedback to the students. No experience is required; we will train you to be an effective judge. Responsibilities include listening to the debate, keeping time, moderating any disputes, and deciding a winner. Volunteers will be provided a stipend and lunch.

Table Operator

Not ready to become a tournament judge? You can help make sure tournaments run smoothly by assisting with registration, meals, and running the information table. We offer tournament operation volunteers a stipend and lunch. This position is available only at in-person tournaments

Tournament Support Coordinator

Working alongside the Tournament Director, this person serves behind the scenes to ensure a smooth and successful tournament. Responsibilities in this position will vary depending on the league and tournament but will primarily include moderating coach or student concerns, tracking down missing debaters, nudging judges to submit ballots, and answering other tournament logistics questions. This position will also work alongside the Judge Captain in supporting our hybrid judges. This will include ensuring all virtual judges are present in their rounds and troubleshoot any technical issues. This person would need to be available the entire tournament day and may choose to work on a tournament to tournament basis or contract out to support a particular league’s tournaments for the entire season. This position is available only at in-person tournaments.

Judge Captain

The Judge Captain’s role is to serve as the point of contact for all judging questions. This person assists the other judges in completing the necessary forms, tracking down missing ballots, and communicating with Tab on behalf of the judges. This position will also manage the judging pool on Tabroom. Judge Captains are expected to be available for the entire tournament day (approximately 8 hours) and will receive payment depending on the league and length of tournament.

Tab Director

Tab Directors assist the Tournament Director in pairing and scoring the debate tournament. This position requires specialty training and must be available for the entire tournament day. Depending on the league the Tab Director is working will determine the amount of the stipend.

Community Debate Coach

Want to get even more involved? You can assistant coach for a debate team on an ongoing basis. Coaching occurs weekly at the school during school hours, and at monthly weekend tournaments. Community coaches can work in either a paid or volunteer capacity and are hired by, and work for, the school they’re coaching. The position requires a full background check and fingerprinting as required by Chicago Public Schools, as well as a deep commitment to coaching debate. Ongoing training and support are provided by Chicago Debates.

Read our community coach guidelines here. Apply to be a community coach here. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. We will contact you once we find a team that fits well with your background.

Not Sure How You Can Help?

Email our Volunteer & Outreach Manager, Lauren Hince, at lhince@chicagodebates.org to learn about all the ways to support Chicago Debates.