The Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

PRTM Dept/Outdoor Lab Wins National Camp Award


Outdoor Lab director Leslie Conrad, student Kate Carpuso, PRTM associate professor Gwynn Powell, students Ariel Blanton, Chelsea Schwabe and Jamie Ayers, Outdoor Lab recreation coordinator Kendra Perkins, student Lauren Noone, and PRTM EDGE program coordinator Teresa Tucker accept the American Camp Association award at the recent ACA annual meeting in Orlando, Fla

Clemson University’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management (PRTM) has received high honors for its efforts in youth development and camp leadership.

The American Camp Association (ACA) has given the department its Special Recognition Award, which honors groups, organizations or individuals for their efforts to promote camp programming.

“This award recognizes that the department has a healthy pipeline for producing engaged and prepared professionals to lead future generations of camp programs,” said associate professor Gwynn Powell. “We are pleased that the ACA chose to honor our efforts in this way.”

The PRTM department is being honored for its work in camp-related teaching, research and outreach. These efforts include the management of its own camping facility – the Clemson University Outdoor Lab – which is located on Lake Hartwell near the Clemson campus and hosts camps and conferences throughout the year, specializing in summer camping programs for children and adults with a variety of special needs.

“All students in our curriculum engage the Outdoor Lab to see and support the camp program in operation and expand the horizons and skills of students,” said Leslie Conrad, director of the Outdoor Lab.

The Outdoor Lab also serves as a place for students to serve the community as they assist with summer camps, weekend camps for people with developmental disabilities, and an annual leadership camp for middle school girls. Students also lead and serve in other camps across the area, including an annual spring break day camp held in partnership with the City of Clemson Park and Recreation program, said PRTM lecturer Teresa Tucker.

The department also boasts a concentration in sport, recreation and camp management, a camp counselors international study abroad program, and opportunities for students to engage in camp practicums and internships across the nation. Students have also conducted camp-related research, with topics such as the inclusion perspectives and practices of camp directors, and the dynamics of family camp for individuals with Type 1 diabetes.

Numerous PRTM faculty and staff have also served in the ACA and other leadership positions at the national, regional and local levels, Powell said.

Later this year, the department will launch an online leadership certificate program that will support the growth and interest in camp management and programming around the world, Powell said.

The American Camp Association is a community of camp professionals across the U.S. who join together to share knowledge and experience and to ensure the quality of camp programs.