Dr. Barry A. Garst is a Professor of Youth Development Leadership and the Coordinator of Youth Development Programs in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at Clemson University. A nationally recognized summer camp scholar, his applied research focuses on critical and emerging issues facing youth, staff, parents, alumni, and program providers. Recent research has explored overparenting among parents of early adolescents, parent anxiety associated with camp experiences, evaluation of youth leadership programs designed to teach military youth and families about resilience, summertime food insecurity, and camp health care practices to reduce injuries and the spread of communicable disease including COVID-19.
Prior to joining Clemson University’s faculty, Garst was the Director of Program Development and Research with the American Camp Association from 2008 to 2014 and Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist at Virginia Tech from 2001 to 2008.
Garst has published over 85 peer-reviewed research journal publications within the interdisciplinary field of youth development including parks, recreation, and leisure sciences; outdoor, experiential, and adventure education; health care and medicine; child and adolescent development, and human sciences and extension.
Garst was recognized as a ‘Future Scholar’ in 1998 by The Academy of Leisure Sciences. In 2018, Garst received the excellence in Graduate Teaching Award from College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, Clemson University, and in 2021 was nominated by the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences for the Provost’s university-level Teaching with Technology Award.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has engaged Garst as an expert on youth out-of-school time experiences. From 2016 to 2017, he served on the Planning Committee for the Workshop on Summertime Opportunities to Improve Child and Adolescent Health and Education Outcomes. This work resulted in a one-day conference to examine systemic approaches to promote healthy development of children and adolescents and explore key policy and practice issues associated with the summertime opportunities available to youth. From 2018 to 2019, he served on a consensus study committee to synthesize the state of the research evidence associated with Summertime Experiences and Child and Adolescents in the areas of education, health, and safety outcomes.
Since 2015 Garst has chaired the research committee for the Association of Camp Nursing (now the Alliance for Camp Health), leading research initiatives exploring camp workplace fatigue; camp health care strategies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic; immunization policy implementation barriers experienced by camp organizations; and the mental, emotional, and social health (MESH) needs of camp participants.
Garst has served the profession in a variety of roles including associate editor for Leisure Sciences and the Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership.
Expertise: youth development, summer camp, parent anxiety and overparenting, qualitative research, out-of-school time, youth program evaluation, children’s health care, nature-based experiences, online education