When Yates met Marisa at Appalachian State University (ASU), summer camp was already “in his blood.” For many years, Yates and his brothers attended Falling Creek - Yates for 12 summers as a camper, C.I.T., and staff member.
In the summer of 1989, Yates and Marisa both worked at Falling Creek - Yates leading the whitewater program and Marisa as head of the waterfront.
After they graduated with degrees in recreation from ASU, Marisa joined the staff of the YMCA, first as aquatic coordinator, and then as a staff trainer. Marisa later served as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist at the Alexander Children’s Center.
Her commitment to the well-being of children and families is exemplified in the volunteer work she does with many community organizations, churches, and schools.
Yates, meanwhile, returned to his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, to serve as president of Bissell Development. In 1991, Yates and Marisa married and today they have five daughters: Annie, Lucy, Mary, Danielle, and Jasmine. Even as Yates was forging a successful career in the business world, he continued to work with children, serving as assistant scoutmaster for the same troop in which he earned his Eagle Scout.
The Pharrs eventually moved to Asheville and Yates became vice president of commercial development for Biltmore Farms, until returning to Falling Creek in 2005. Their family makes its home at camp year-round.
When the middle Pharr daughter, Mary, was very young, she thought the campers and college-age counselors who came to camp each summer to eat, sing, play, and worship were all family - she was right. Falling Creek is a place where strangers become friends, and friends become brothers.
Where Do Yates & Marisa Get Their Passion for Falling Creek Camp?
You can learn more about the owners in this feature article from Ballantyne magazine.