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Professor of Youth Development Leadership, Clemson University

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. Dr. Garst currently teaches graduate courses on program assessment and evaluation, creative and ethical leadership, employee and volunteer management, and nature as a developmental context for children and adolescents.

A nationally recognized summer camp scholar, Dr. Garst's applied research focuses on critical and emerging issues facing the out-of-school time community of youth, staff, parents, alumni, and program providers. Recent research has explored overparenting, parent anxiety associated with camp experiences, programs serving military-connected youth and families, summertime food insecurity, and camp health care practices to reduce the spread of communicable diseases including COVID-19.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine engaged Dr. Garst as an expert on youth out-of-school time experiences. From 2018 to 2019, he served on a consensus study committee to synthesize the state of the research evidence associated with the summertime experiences of children and adolescents in the areas of education, health, and safety outcomes.

Prior to joining Clemson University’s faculty, Dr. Garst was the Director of Program Development and Research with the American Camp Association from 2008 to 2014, providing leadership to research, education, and business development initiatives. From 2001 to 2008, he was an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist with Virginia Tech responsible for camp research and evaluation, curriculum development, and faculty and staff training and development.


  • –present
    Professor of Youth Development Leadership, Clemson University


    Virginia Tech, PhD, Human Dimensions


Elected as a Fellow in the Academy of Leisure Sciences (2022); Recipient of the Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching, College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences (2017-2018);