The Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Dr. Barry A. Garst

Associate Professor
Tel: 864-656-1891
Location: 414 Edwards Hall


B.S. Virginia Tech (Psychology), Blacksburg, VA
M.S. Arizona State University (Recreation), Tempe, AZ
Ph.D Virginia Tech (Human Dimensions of Forestry), Blacksburg, VA

Area of Specialty:
  • Youth Development
Additional Professional Responsibilities:
  • Reviewer for the Journal of Extension
  • Standards Instructor and Volunteer Visitor for the American Camp Association

Research Interests:

My research explores the intersection of positive youth development and nature.  I am particularly interested in how nature-based experiences contribute to positive youth development outcomes and how human contact with nature transforms youth, families, and communities. Much of my work has examined camps and other out-of-school time settings.  Current interests include investigation of the influence of over-involved parents on youth program quality, the long term impacts of camp experiences on career development, and the antecedents of change within positive youth development programs.

Publications: (last 5 years)

Refereed Journal Articles

Garst, B. & Ozier, L. (in press). Enhancing youth outcomes and organizational capacity through a camp based reading program. Journal of Experiential Education.

Garst, B., Baughman, S., & Franz, N. (2014). Benchmarking professional development practices across youth-serving organizations. Journal of Extension, 52(5).  Retrieved from:

Ventura, A., Anzman-Frasca, S., & Garst, B. (2014). Mealtimes at residential summer camps: What are camp staff doing to promote campers' healthy eating behaviors? Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Duerden, M., Witt, P., Garst, B., Bialeschki, D., Schwarzlose, T. & Norton, K. (2014). Impacts of camp employment on the workforce development of emerging adults. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 32(1), 26-44.

Garst, B., Erceg, L., & Walton, E. (2013). Injury and illness benchmarking and prevention for children and staff attending U.S. camps: Promising practices and policy implications. Journal of Applied Research on Children, 4(2), article 5. Retrieved from

Ventura A., & Garst, B. (2013). Residential summer camp: A new venue for nutrition education and physical activity promotion. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 10(64). Retrieved from

Garst, B., Baughman, S., Franz, N., & Seidel, R. (2013). Strengthening families: Exploring the impacts of family camp experiences on family functioning and parenting. Journal of Experiential Education, 36(1), 65-77.

Garst, B., Franz, N. Peters, B., Baughman, S., & Smith, C. (2012). Using single-case participatory action research as a methodology to explore Appalachian summer camp communities. PRISM- A Journal of Regional Engagement, 1(1). Retrieved from

Garst, B., Browne, L., & Bialeschki, M. D. (2011). Youth development and the camp experience. In L. Allen and R. Barcelona (Eds.), New Directions for Youth Development (Special Issue on Recreation as a Developmental Experience), 130. Jossey-Bass.

Browne, L., Garst, B., & Bialeschki, M. D. (2011). Engaging youth in environmental sustainability: Impact of the Camp2Grow Program. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 29(3), 70-85.

Garst, B., Nichols, A., Martz, J., McNeely, N. N., Bovitz, L., Frebershauser, D., Garton, M., LeMenestrel, S., & Walahoski, J. (2011). Examining youth camping outcomes across multiple states: The National 4-H Camping Research Consortium (NCRC). Journal of Youth Development, 6(1).

Garst, B. (2010). From what to how: Targeting specific factors that influence outcomes. Journal of Extension, 48(6).

Henderson, K., Garst, B., Bialeschki, D., & Santucci, D. (2010). Children’s perceptions of an environmental leadership program: Camp2Grow. Research on Outdoor Education, 10, 13-25.

Garst, B., Williams, D., & Roggenbuck, J. (2010). Exploring early 21st century developed forest camping experiences and meanings. Leisure Sciences, 32, 90–107.

Goldlust, E., Walton, E., Stanley, R., Yard, E., Garst, B., Comstock, R., Erceg, L., & Cunningham, R. (2009). Injury patterns at U.S. and Canadian overnight summer camps: First year of the Healthy Camp Study. Injury Prevention, 209(15), 413-417.

Erceg, L., Garst, B., Powell, G., & Yard, E. (2009). An injury and illness surveillance program for children and staff: Improving the safety of youth settings. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 27(4), 121-132.

Garst, B., Franz, N., Baughman, S., Smith, C., & Peters, B. (2009). “Growing without limitations”: Transformation among young adult camp staff. Journal of Youth Development, 4(1).

Baughman, S., Garst, B., & Fuhrman, N. E. (2009). Consistency of developmental outcomes of 4-H camp experiences over time and across sites. Journal of Youth Development, 4(2).

Franz, N., Garst, B., Baughman, S., Smith, C., & Peters, B. (2009). Catalyzing transformation: Conditions in extension educational environments that promote change. Journal of Extension, 47(4).

James, P. A., Henderson, K. A., & Garst, B. (2009). An exploration of camp directors’ affective connection to nature and camp programming. Research in Outdoor Education, 9, 26-42.

Other Articles, Books, Technical Reports, and Educational Publications

Duerden, M., Garst, B., & Bialeschki, D. (2014, May). The benefits of camp employment: More than just fun and games. Parks & Recreation.

Bennett, T., & Garst, B. (2013, Sept/Oct). Paying enough and training right! A snapshot of salary, benefits, and professional development practices in camp. Camping Magazine. American Camp Association.

Garst, B., & Marugg, M., & Thompson, S. (2013, Mar/Apr). Building a healthy camp: Strategies that worked. Camping Magazine. American Camp Association.

Garst, B. (2012). Family camp experiences. Briefing Paper. American Camp Association.

Garst, B. (2012, Sept/Oct). Investing in what’s important: Five tips to guide a professional development and training plan. Camp Business.

Garst, B., & White, C. (2012). Leadership and environmental stewardship: A curriculum for camps and other youth programs. Healthy Learning/American Camp Association.

Garst, B., Williams, D., & Roggenbuck, J. (2012). Trends in developed forest camping. In K. Cordell (Ed.). Outdoor Recreation Trends and Futures: A Technical Document Supporting the Forest Service 2010 RPA Assessment. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-150. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Asheville, NC. Retrieved from

Garst, B., Baughman, S., Franz, N., & Seidel, R. (2012, Jan/Feb). Family camp impacts on family functioning. Camping Magazine. American Camp Association.

Garst, B., Morgan, C., & Bialeschki, D. (2011). 2011 Explore Camp Reading Program Impact Report. American Camp Association.

Garst, B. & Chavez, C. (2010, Nov/Dec). Camp2Grow: Teaching leadership and environmental stewardship to New York City youth. Camping Magazine. American Camp Association.

Garst, B., Erceg, E., Baird, S., & Thompson, S. (2010). Ten steps to a healthy camp. Illinois Parks and Recreation Magazine, 41(3), 20-24.

Garst, B., & Erceg, L. E., (2010, March/April). Promising practices for reducing injuries and illnesses in camps. Camping Magazine. American Camp Association.

Garst, B. (2009). Volunteer development 101: Empowering organizations to work with volunteers. Healthy Learning/American Camp Association.

Franz, N., Garst, B., Baughman, S., & Smith, C. (2009). Identifying and promoting transformative learning in non-formal education environments. Proceedings from the Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy. Virginia Tech. Blacksburg, Virginia.

Grants and Self-funded Research Projects:

Garst, B. (2011). “Enhancing youth literacy through the Explore 30 camp reading program.”  Lumina Foundation: $10,000, 2 years.

Garst, B. (2010). “Environmental stewardship outcomes for Indiana youth.” PNC Foundation: $2,500, 1 year.

Haber, S., Garst, B., & Bialeschki, D. (2009). “Implementation and evaluation of a national leadership and environmental stewardship program.” Lilly Endowment: $490,000, 3 years.

Garst, B., Baughman, S., Franz, N., & Seidel, R. (2010). “Examination of the impacts of family camp experiences on family functioning and parenting.” University of Arizona Extension: $2,000, 1 year.

Garst, B. (2006). ”Measuring developmental outcomes associated with camp experiences through a multi-state consortium including Virginia, Ohio, West Virginia, Montana, New Jersey, and Nebraska.” Army Youth Camping Project: $38,000, 2 years.

Meadows, R. Garst, B., Freeman, D. (2003). “Community and school-based education programs to facilitate youth-adult partnerships.” Virginia Tech: $25,000, 2 years.

Roggenbuck, J., & Garst, B. (2003). “Exploration of the meanings associated with forest recreation experiences in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.” USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station: $15,000, 2 years.

Garst, B., & Kirwan, J.  (2003). “Community-based education to teach youth and families about forest products and conversation through the Forestry Intern Program.” Virginia Forestry Educational Foundation: $12,000, 3 years.

Courses Taught:

Graduate Courses
Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, Clemson University
  • Creative and Ethical Leadership in a Changing Society (Fall 2014)
  • Youth Development and Nature (Spring 2015)
  • Assessment and Evaluation of Youth Programs (Spring 2015)
Department of Agricultural and Extension Education, Virginia Tech
  • Youth Development and Program Management
Undergraduate Courses
Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, Clemson University
  • Youth Development in Society (Fall 2014)
Professional Development Courses
4-H Youth Development Unit, Virginia Tech
  • Camp Administration
  • Outdoor Adventure Leadership
  • Volunteer Management and Administration