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The Winter Warm Up Staff is handpicked to include the most elite and grounded individuals in Stoa, and are selected based on success, integrity, and their continued involvement with speech and debate. Every Helmsmen representative is among the nationally recognized for speech and debate skills, knowledge, coaching, and competition.

We are especially blessed to have experts in the field coaching at our camp! Below each individual's name, you'll see their position at camp. 






Alyson joined Stoa in 2017 and has competed in all forms of debate, limited prep, and platform speaking. Although Alyson was blessed with a competitively successful senior year, including winning Speech Sweepstakes and Tournament Champion at NITOC 2023, she views her greatest achievement as the friends she has made and skills she has learned. Alyson attends Cal Baptist University, majoring in Accounting, and has continued to pursue speech and debate as she competes in collegiate forensics. Alyson attended the first ever Helmsmen Speech and Debate Camp in 2019 and truly enjoyed learning from the instructors and fellowshipping with her fellow students. She is grateful for the opportunity to coach this year and is looking forward to sharing what she has learned!



Co-Director and Coach

Like many Stoa parents, DeEtte stepped into the role of coach when her children were competitors. Although she competed in debate and speech in college, it wasn't until she became involved in Stoa that she felt called to coach. Since that time she has been blessed to coach and mentor both students and parents in Stoa, to coach and work behind the scenes at Helmsmen Institute Camp, and to co-direct a tournament alongside her husband.

DeEtte graduated from UC Berkeley, way back in the 20th Century, with her BA and teaching credential. She homeschooled all three of her children for some or all of their elementary and secondary education, and currently serves as the head coach for Voyagers Speech and Debate Team. 

Her greatest joy is to bring honor and glory to God in all of her endeavors. She is grateful for God's saving grace: Ephesians 2: 8 - 10.



Co-Director and Coach

Elise began competing in Stoa in 2014, and enjoyed the growth and challenges she experienced each year! During her time in the league she developed and refined her skills and it has shown through her successes, trophies, and medals. A highlight of the 2020-2021 season for Elise was when she and her partner won 1st Place in Parliamentary Debate at a large tournament. At her final NITOC in 2021, she was awarded 16th place in Mars Hill Impromptu. She has thoroughly enjoyed the rigor of research, writing and revising cases and briefs, writing and cutting speeches, and practicing Parliamentary Debate, Lincoln Douglas debate, and all of the platform, interpretive and limited preparation speeches, so she could better craft her skill as a speaker and be a light for Christ. Elise has either competed in or coached nearly every event in Stoa. She enjoys leading, mentoring, and helping others to gain skills, understanding, and most importantly more knowledge of Christ and the Bible. As a coach, she enjoys seeing her younger students not only refine their skills but also become better ambassadors for Christ. As she coaches and mentors older students, she enjoys leading them to the deeper significance in their Stoa careers as they give all glory to God! Elise hopes to become a youth pastor and summer camp director to work with today’s youth to make a better tomorrow for the world!



Technology & Administrative Support

James competed in Extemporaneous speech, as well as Team Policy and Parliamentary Debate from 2015-2020. He enjoys the refutation side of debates that focus on the statistical and logic based arguments. He is immensely thankful for the experience and gifts with which Stoa has blessed him, such as critical thinking, presentation and communication skills. Most of all he is grateful for the amazing community and how welcoming and loving they were and wishes to share that experience for any new or current Stoa family. During his last 2 years he would regularly have an advancing record at tournaments, and for his last accomplishment in Stoa, he placed 6th place in Team Policy and 6th place as Team Policy speaker.

James currently resides in Idaho where he is attending school to become a welder. James is a coach for Voyagers Speech and Debate Team




John Semple competed in Stoa for six years and was involved in the Stoa community since 2011. He remembers cheering for his sisters whenever they got awards and dreaming of competing. Beginning with Apologetics and Lincoln Douglas only, he eventually added more events to his repertoire. By his senior year, John expanded his event list to include interps, and found they taught him skills he was lacking. He experienced great success in all 10 of his regular events through his senior year, eventually earning first place titles in Apologetics, Impromptu, Extemporaneous, Original Oratory, Expository, Open Interpretation, Parliamentary, Parliamentary speaker points, Lincoln Douglas, Lincoln Douglas speaker points, and Team Policy. His favorite speech was his Expository with which he won six tournaments. At NITOC 2023, John won the national titles in Lincoln Douglas debate and Apologetics speaking, broke the NITOC record for picket fences with seven, and was awarded the second place Tournament Champion award. John’s foremost struggle and foremost goal in Stoa has been to constantly press in for God’s wisdom and trust Him with all results.

John now coaches all speech and debate events, but specializes in debate, limited prep, and Expository. He is excited to see where God leads him through the rest of his life.

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Nicole started speech and debate in 2021 and began to compete in the spring of 2022. She loved her experience in Stoa so much that she decided to become a super senior so that she could continue competing in the 2022-2023 season. She competed in Lincoln Douglas Debate, Parliamentary Debate, Team Policy Debate, Open Interpretation, Persuasive, Mars Hill, and (her personal favorite) Impromptu. Over the past few years she has found a passion for speaking and bringing awareness to mental health topics by sharing her story in speech rounds. She also found that she thoroughly enjoys watching rounds and giving intensive feedback and support to those she watched. She has learned so much and gained many memories in Stoa, but if you asked her what one of her favorite memories was, she would say being mistaken as “Nicholas” at multiple tournaments. God used Stoa to bring back a confidence that she had not had in a long time, and she can’t wait to encourage others through the skills she has gained. Though her time was short in Stoa, she has seen how it has equipped her for the plan God has for her.

Nicole is a coach for Voyagers Speech and Debate Team, and Voyagers Juniors Team.

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