by Jennifer Burns

Deer Run Camps & Retreats in Thompson’s Station announces the addition of two key positions to its already strong family of staff: a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO). Walt Ward joins the team as CFO and April Kuykendall has been promoted to COO. Each reflects Deer Run’s move towards focusing on a five year strategic plan known as the “momentum strategy.” The strategy outlines new priority areas and goals for the organization which includes, among other things, developing staff, enhancing communications, and improving programming. Deer Run is committed to a high standard of excellence to provide the best experience possible for campers, families, and retreat guests. These new positions are instrumental in continuing that goal.

Walt Ward brings with him more than 30 years of accounting experience. From working with Fortune 500 companies to now owning his own company, there is no doubt he provides invaluable support to Deer Run is his new role. Ward is an instrumental part of securing financial resources to support Deer Run’s continued growth, which is one of the organization’s main priorities outlined in their five year strategic plan. Going into its 13th year of summer camp, Deer Run has expanded from a modest number of 48 campers to over 3000 day and overnight campers in 2018. Consequently, establishing a plan for fundraising, donor relationships, and most importantly desired growth in campers, programs, and camp development, is essential to continued success. Ward also aims to bring more clarity to the financial side of business with improvements to reporting and budgeting procedures and strengthening infrastructure. Says Ward, “My hope is that we are able to leverage these new practices so our donors can see they have a good foundational base for their donations.”

April Kuykendall moves into her role as COO after serving on the Deer Run staff for 10 years. She began as a guest services representative and most recently held the title of Guest Services Director. During her tenure, she has implemented streamlined processes for staying in contact and following up with campers, families, and retreat leaders. With her extensive knowledge and background with Deer Run, Kuykendall is now responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations of the organization. Her goal in this new role is to help Deer Run become more efficient in their processes so they can focus on the planned growth outlined in the strategic plan. Says Kuykendall of her new position, “The Lord has given me what I need to help Deer Run succeed and that includes a passion for what I do. I have seen so much change and growth here, and I am excited to see that continue.” To aid her success in her new role, Kuykendall is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Williamson College, Franklin, Tenn.

Deer Run is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nondenominational Christian ministry and in 2018 celebrated 20 years of operation. Deer Run provides day and overnight summer camp experiences for children ages 5 to 18 plus family camp experiences for all ages. Year round, Deer Run provides customized retreats, meeting facilities, team building and numerous recreational opportunities for nonprofits, churches, schools, universities, and community leadership groups. Weekend experiences for families include a father-son adventure, mother-daughter getaway, and married couples retreats. Learn more by visiting or by calling 615-794-2918