Yates & Marisa Pharr, Owners/Directors
When Yates met Marisa at Appalachian State University, summer camp was already “in his blood”. For many years, Yates and his brothers attended Falling Creek—Yates for twelve 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 by her volunteer work with many community programs, church, and their children’s school. The Pharr’s are also licensed for foster care.
Yates, meanwhile, returned to his hometown of Charlotte, N.C., to serve as President of Bissell Development. In 1991, Yates and Marisa married and now 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 moved to Asheville and Yates became Vice President of commercial development for Biltmore Farms until returning to Falling Creek. Their family makes their home at camp year-round. When Mary was very young, she thought the boys and college-age counselors that came to camp each summer to eat, sing, play and worship with us were family—and this is true.
You can learn more about Yates & Marisa in this Ballantyne Magazine article (PDF).
Ben Williams, Outdoor Adventure Director
From Ohio, Ben attended Mount Vernon Nazarene University and majored in secondary education and history. Ben joined the Falling Creek summer staff in 1998. In August of 2006, Ben joined the full time staff as an Assistant Program Director.
Ben now serves as the Outdoor Adventure Director. He coordinates all of the outdoor adventure activities and organizes the Expeditions.
Ben is a certified Wilderness First Responder, and a Swift Water Rescuer. He serves on the board of the American Camp Association’s Southeast Section and Legislative Committee for the North Carolina Youth Camp Association.
Playing no favorites, Ben takes advantage of all the outdoor opportunities offered in the mountains. He and his wife Elliot, a veterinarian, are avid kayakers, rock climbers, backpackers, and bikers. What would you expect from an Outdoor Adventure Director?
Ben and Elliot live in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Dusty Davis, Chaplain
Dusty Davis loves Falling Creek Camp and his early days forged much of the direction that has shaped his life—the value of friends, spiritual development and lots of adventure!
His sons have loved Falling Creek first as campers, then CIT’s and staff. Camp has left an indelible mark on their whole family, including his wife, Mary Lou, who also worked here in the early 80’s.
Dusty has worked with sports ministry for the past twenty-five years on college campuses from Oregon to the University of Alabama, Birmingham.He teaches athletes spiritual values that mold their lives and has led mission trips to 17 countries around the world.
He has been an extreme athlete himself. As a two time state road cycling and mountain biking champion, he road raced in Europe as well as the Olympic Trials, and he rides motorcycles in long off-road races like the 24-hour-enduro challenge.
He now pours his love for God and adventure into his own three children as they mountain bike and rock climb throughout the southeast.
Frank Tindall, Associate Director
Frank has been camping since his childhood—first as a camper, then a counselor, and in 1984 he bought his own camp! Frank and his wife Elizabeth had the time of their lives as they directed Camp Illahee (Brevard, North Carolina) for 18 years. After passing the torch at Illahee, Frank worked as a camp consultant with camps around the country.
In 2005 Frank joined the Falling Creek team bringing his extensive knowledge of camping and leadership development.
Frank is an active member of the community, serving as the Chairman of the Young Life Committee and volunteering as a coach for tennis and basketball.
Jim Goodrum, Staffing Director
Jim’s first summer at Falling Creek was in 1979. He was a camper for seven years and CIT for two years. Jim is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, GA and while he attended, worked at FCC as a Catawba Tribe cabin counselor and activity leader.
In the summer of 1993, Jim moved from the swim docks to begin his tenure as Program Director. In 1994, Jim joined the full-time camp staff as Assistant Director / Program Director until 2002.
He returned to Georgia in 2002 to work at Mercer University as Assistant Director of Admissions and Recreational Sports and Wellness.
At Mercer, Jim met his wife Kristi and they married in 2005. Jim returned to camp in 2008 to share his twenty-plus years of Falling Creek experience. They live in Flat Rock with their young children, Thompson and Alice.
Jim’s passion for Falling Creek and it’s mission, combined with his knowledge of camp operations, sets the stage for his primary focus with FCC’s staff and alumni development.
Kyle Jeffries, Program Director
Kyle Jeffries began working as a cabin counselor at Falling Creek in the summer of 2008. For the next two summers, he worked as a cabin counselor and activity leader for ultimate Frisbee, where he wrote the original Ultimate activity progression. He was also a lifeguard and worked in a number of different activities, including fishing, blacksmithing, sailing, and disc golf. Over the course of several summers, Kyle has served as the Cherokee, Catawba, and Tuscarora Tribal Leader.
Kyle attended Georgia Southern University and graduated in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. While at Georgia Southern, he began working with at-risk youth. After graduation, Kyle pursued his master’s degree in social work at The University of Tennessee. With an emphasis in management and organizational leadership, Kyle’s coursework allowed him to continue working with youth through internships at non-profit agencies in Knoxville. For two years, outside the classroom, Kyle continued his work with at-risk youth as a program supervisor managing 26 employees at a residential treatment facility serving adolescents.
In May of 2014, Kyle returned to Falling Creek as a Tribal Leader for the Tuscarora tribe and also received the Green and Gold award in recognition for staff excellence. In January, Kyle moved to Greenville, South Carolina, to work for Communities-In-Schools, the nation’s largest dropout prevention program. As site-coordinator, Kyle managed six staff members, — half of whom were state certified teachers — in a local elementary school to develop programming.
Kyle and his wife Jules live at camp year round. Jules has worked at camp during the summers and is a school teacher at a local school. She earned her masters degree at the University of Tennessee.
Nathan Newquist, Operations Director
Nathan is a native Texan. He started working for Falling Creek in 2001. Joining the FCC year-round team in 2008, as Program Director, then transitioning to Operations Director in 2012, Nathan’s knowledge of Falling Creek combined with his skills in system design and management continues to move FCC to the high bar we set for ourselves…. “takin’ it to a whole ‘nutha level!”
Nathan graduated from Texas Christian University with a degree in International Communication. He studied Spanish in Guanajuato, Mexico, for a semester of study abroad, and has traveled to many countries for missions, education, and leisure. After college he worked for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper and then the Fort Worth School District.
Nathan is also the most technically savvy guy we know. If he is not at a computer or behind the wheel of a sports car, you can find him on the sidelines of a football field or basketball court cheering for his two sons, Brent and Isaac.
Paige Hafner, Communications Director
Paige knows firsthand the benefits of a camp experience. Prior to joining Falling Creek in 2012, she served as the Executive Director of a non-profit, working with community partners, schools and area camps providing youth development through camp experiences.
Paige’s professional history also includes a vast amount of logistical, computer, personnel, and organizational experience, where she held leadership, marketing, and development positions in the telecommunications, real estate, and non-profit fields.
Paige lives in nearby Flat Rock and has two daughters who are veteran campers. Alison is a student at UNC Chapel Hill, and Sydney is a high school student at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.
Paige is one of the people you will likely speak with if you call the camp office and she is the primary communicator with our camp families throughout the year. Paige looks forward to summertime when camp is in full swing!
Peter Bishop, Assistant Program Director
Peter joined the Falling Creek family in the summer of 2006 after graduating from Loughborough University in the United Kingdom with Bachelor of Science honors degree in Geography and Economics. During his five summers at the Creek, he has served as a cabin counselor, Tribal Leader for Cherokee, Catawba and Iroquois tribes, and as head of swimming. In summer 2014, Peter transitioned to the Assistant Program Director position.
Originally from the UK, Peter is also a permanent resident of Australia, living in Sydney. He spends his time throughout the year between North Carolina, Sydney and the UK (and a few other places just for fun).
Peter works for the YMCA as an Outdoor Education Instructor, teaching and instructing children and young adults over a variety of activities from High Ropes courses and climbing to abseiling and kayaking, using these activities to develop team building, life skills, and inspire confidence. Peter was a member of the Sea Scouts as a teenager, and his love for the outdoors developed from his paddling, hiking and camping experiences within the organization.
Shelley Groh, Administrator
Shelley joined the Falling Creek year-round staff in the spring of 2016 after working with us part-time for two years. In addition to her experiences as a parent, a caregiver, working with children in a variety of school environments, and managing a small business, Shelley brings an effusive personality, tremendous organizational skills, and a strong analytical background to the group.
While Shelley performs many roles at camp, she is primarily responsible for supporting the staff hiring process, answering camp family questions, and helping Marisa keep the infirmary organized.
Shelley relocated to this area from Wilmington, Delaware, in 2014 and has recently been joined here by her daughter and son-in-law, Morgan and Brian Gaerke. Shelley loves the mountains and hikes as much as she can. She is often found walking in the Flat Rock area with her sweet Pug, Felix.
With over 80 years of combined FCC experience, Simon, Drew, Jerry and Doug are critical members of the Falling Creek team. From carpentry to plumbing, electrical to landscaping, they can do it all. Each is also knowledgeable in key camp activities: Simon – horseback and blacksmithing; Jerry – woodworking and nature; Drew – soccer and Indian Lore; Doug – FARM Program, Mountain Biking, and Paddling. Their experience adds to the continuity and excellence of the programs.