sam.peterson wrote: -Is it beneficial for an already decent player?
I don't know if these ideas apply to you specifically, but for me...: The first year I went, I was coming off a sophomore year during which we'd had a very successful campaign as a JV team (read: I was "already decent", at least for that level). I admit, I thought pretty highly of myself/our team... and then I went to ACE and met these two guys named Charlie Dees and Dallas Simons (among other excellent players at camp that year, too), who showed me just how crappy I was. For some reason I was thrust into the top room twice out of the three practice days, and Charlie and Dallas (I remember Charlie specifically. No offense to Dallas) were ridiculously dominant. If nothing else, the embarrassment I had at managing to answer like 5 or so tossups out of [however many we read. Way more than 5.] against them inspired me to get better. Before that, I had just been stupidly thinking of myself as really good, even though I didn't do any studying whatsoever. So, among other reasons, the fact that I got to meet/play against some of the top talents in the country made my experiences worthwhile. I'll leave it to Dallas (who attended this past summer) and some others to confirm whether if you're already extremely good like they are, ACE is worthwhile. However, I imagine it is... things like "you get to play in a competitive environment against respectable-at-worst competition" and "you spend a few solid days focused intensely on quizbowl [rather than, say, any other random week of the summer where you might get distracted from it, despite good intentions]" apply to everyone.
sam.peterson wrote: -Are there pros/cons to the various sites?
The instruction plan was the same for the SEMO and PC (southeast) locations last year, but I know the Maryland site was structured a little differently. I don't know enough about the MD site, so I can't comment on how well it worked compared to the other two. Other than that, the only difference I can think of would be the fact that the competition might look a little different depending on where you go. For instance, at the PC site this past summer, I got to play against the Dorman players and top players from other schools like James Island, Brookwood, etc., and I know at Maryland they had more than a few recognizable names, too.
sam.peterson wrote: -If you've gone, what did you think?
Pretty awesome. Like I've been saying, I think the best thing about it for me was being first inspired to get better as a player (1st year) and being able to play against certain top individuals in the summer and gauge how well my team and I could expect to do in the upcoming year (2nd year). They also give you some pretty useful information packets, if you're really lazy like me and like to have things on hand rather than *gasp* looking for them yourself. But seriously, they've got some pretty good compilations, so that's definitely a plus, and you learn useful stuff in class too.
sam.peterson wrote: -Are you going this year? Which week?
Unfortunately, I'm graduating. I wish I had known earlier how good it was so that I could've gone between freshman and sophomore year. The only thing I can do now is encourage the younger players on my team to go, and I was pretty successful at that last year.
However, I hope to return to camp anyway this year, as an aide/helper/whatever they're calling it. Hint hint, if anyone in that position of authority is reading this.