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2015 National Parade 22ND ANNUAL TAPS NATIONAL MILITARY
SURVIVOR SEMINAR AND GOOD GRIEF CAMP FOR YOUNG SURVIVORS

            
May 26 th - May 30 th , 2016
Arlington, Virginia


Remember the Love, Celebrate the Life, Share the Journey
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You are warmly invited and encouraged to attend the 22nd Annual TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp for Young Survivors.Thank you to our Title Sponsor:
 
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Memorial Day Program
2016 TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp Schedule of Events

A general agenda for the entire event as well as a sample of some of the many workshops, sessions, and off-site activities is below.  Select the yellow button to view the full program of this year's events.

National Seminar and Camp Program

Thursday, May 26

  • 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
    Peer Mentor Check-in & Training
  • 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
    Child Care
  • 3:30-8:30 PM
    Early Check-in and TAPS Store Open
  • 5:30-8:30 PM
    Good Grief Camp Zone Open (Movies, Crafts, Active Games)
  • 5:30-8:30 PM
    Good Grief Camp Check-In
  • 5:30-8:30 PM
    Welcome Reception

Friday, May 27

  • 7:00-9:00 AM
    Breakfast
  • 7:30-10:00 AM
    Adult Check-In
  • 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
    Child Care
  • 8:00-9:00 AM
    Good Grief Camp Check-in
  • 8:00 AM-6:00 PM 
    Survivor Care Tent
  • 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
    Resource Village 
    TAPS Store
    Bookstore
  • 9:00 AM-4:00 AM
    Good Grief Camp Day 1
  • 9:00-10:00 AM
    Connection Groups

    Newcomers Welcome: First Time NMSS Attendees
    Suicide Loss Survivors - Panel 
    Connection Groups for Survivors of Military Loss

  • 10:00 AM-8:00 PM
    Help Desk
  • 10:30 AM-12:030 PM
    Opening Ceremonies
  • 12:00-1:30 PM
    Lunch
  • 1:30-4:30 PM
    1:1 with Dr Blankenship (30 minute sessions)
  • 12:30-5:00 PM
    Artful Grief Studio
  • 12:30-8:00 PM
    Survivor Sanctuary
  • 1:30-4:30 PM
    Connecting Workshops
    Sharing Groups
  • 3:30 - 4:30 PM
    TAPS Family Reception and Reunion
  • 4:30-6:30 PM
    Load Buses for Friday Evening Events
Friday Evening will consist of the Special Event of your choice, but pre-registration is required!
  • 4:30 PM
    Pentagon Tour 
    Dinner provided ON bus 
  • 5:30 PM
    Wax Museum 
    Dinner provided AT museum 
  • 5:45 PM
    Potomac River Cruise 
  • 5:45 PM
    Washington National Baseball Game
     
  • 6:00 PM
    DC Tour
  • 6:00 PM
    Monument Walking Tour
     
  • 6:00 PM
    USMC Evening Parade
     

  • 5:00-6:30 PM
    Dinner
  • 5:00-8:00 PM
    Knitter's Group
  • 7:00-9:00 PM
    Knitter's Group
  • 9:00-10:00 PM
    Combined 12 Step Group Meeting

Saturday, May 28

  • 7:00 AM-8:00 PM
    Help Desk
    Survivor Sanctuary
  • 7:00-8:00 AM
    Sun Salutations Yoga
    Inner Warrior Goes Outdoors
  • 7:00-9:00 AM
    Breakfast
  • 7:30 AM-3:30 PM
    Arlington National Cemetery Shuttle runs continuously
  • 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
    Resource Village 
    TAPS Store
    Bookstore
  • 8:00 AM-6:00 PM
    TAPS Survivor Care Tent
  • 8:30 AM-9:00 PM
    Child Care
  • 9:00 AM-9:30 PM
    Good Grief Camp Day 2
  • 8:30 AM-5:00 PM
    Offsite Adventures
    Advance registration required
  • 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
    Artful Grief Art Studio
  • 9:00 AM-4:30 PM
    1:1 with Dr Blankenship (20 minute sessions)
  • 9:00 AM-12:30 PM
    Workshops
    Sharing Groups
  • 12:30-1:30 PM
    Lunch
  • 1:30-5:00 PM
    Workshops
    Sharing Groups
  • 6:00-9:00 PM
    TAPS Grand Banquet
  • 9:00-10:00 PM
    Combined 12 Step Group Meeting

Sunday, May 29

  • 7:00 AM-8:00 PM
    Help Desk
  • 7:00-8:00 AM
    Sun Salutations Yoga
    Inner Warrior Goes Outdoors
  • 7:00-8:30 AM
    Continental Breakfast
  • 8:00 AM-3:30 PM
    Arlington National Cemetery Shuttle runs continuously
  • 8:00 AM-1:00 PM
    Resource Village
  • 8:00 AM-6:00 PM
    TAPS Survivor Care Tent
  • 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
    TAPS Store
    Bookstore
  • 8:30 AM-4:30 PM
    Good Grief Camp
  • 8:30 AM-5:00 PM
    Child Care
  • 9:00 AM-7:00 PM
    Survivor Sanctuary
  • 9:00 AM-7:00 PM
    Offsite Adventures
  • 9:00 AM-4:00 PM
    Artful Grief: Art Studio
  • 9:00 AM-4:30 PM
    1:1 with Dr Blankenship (20 minute sessions)
  • 8:30 AM-12:00 PM
    Workshops
    Sharing Groups
  • 12:00-1:00 PM
    Lunch
  • 12:30-5:00 PM
    Washington Nationals Baseball Game
  • 1:00-4:00 PM
    Workshops
    Sharing Groups
  • 2:00-5:00 PM
    National Memorial Choral Festival
  • 4:00 PM
    Good Grief Camp Pickup
  • 5:00-8:00 PM
    TAPS Family BBQ Dinner
  • 9:00-10:00 PM
    Combined 12 Step Group Meeting

Monday, May 30

  • 7:00-9:00 AM
    Breakfast
  • 7:00 AM-3:00 PM
    Help Desk
  • 7:00-8:00 AM
    Sun Salutations Yoga
  • 7:15 AM-2:00 PM
    Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Day Service & Shuttle
  • 8:30 AM-3:00 PM
    TAPS Survivor Care Tent
  • 12:30-4:30 PM
    National Memorial Day Parade

Thursday, May 26

  • 5:30-8:30 PM
    Registration for Good Grief Camp Zone
    Registration for Good Grief Camp and Intake 1 
    Good Grief Camp Zone

Friday, May 27

  • 8:00-9:00 AM
    Registration for Good Grief Camp and Intake 1
  • 9:00 AM
    Good Grief Camp Begins
    Your child/ren’s group leaders will provide you with the room and location of their groups 
  • 4:00 PM
    Good Grief Camp Ends and Child Pick Up
    Please make sure you know where to pick up your child as those traveling to Friday night activities have buses to catch!

Saturday, May 28

  • 8:30 AM
    Good Grief Camp Begins
    All Groups will travel to Potomac Park, Washington, DC for lunch and a special event hosted by Yellow Ribbons Unite.
    GGC will host three age appropriate parties on Saturday night: After dinner at the Ft. Myers Dining Facility, the younger kids will return to the hotel for a Movie Night, middle aged kids will have dinner and tour the Spy Museum; and the teens will have a Luau and dance party.
  • 9:30 PM
    Good Grief Camp Ends and Child Pick Up

Sunday, May 29

  • 8:30 AM
    Good Grief Camp Begins
  • 4:00 PM
    Good Grief Camp Ends and Child Pick Up

Friday, May 27: Connection

Newcomer’s Welcome: First time NMSS attendees: Welcome to your first TAPS National Seminar. This can be an overwhelming experience and we want you to know that we understand this and are hoping to help in any way we can. Please come to this short presentation, led by TAPS leadership, to help interpret some of those very real and very common questions about the weekend. Sessions Offered: May 27: 9:00 – 10:00 am

Surviving Suicide Loss Panel (Kim Ruocco, MSW): Suicide loss survivors often experience complex emotions and unique challenges in their grief. This panel session will introduce you the suicide loss survivors on staff here at TAPS, help you meet the other suicide loss survivors also attending this weekend and give you an opportunity to find comfort in the safe presence of trusted peers. Sessions Offered: May 27: 9:00 – 10:00 am

Connection Groups: Meet and connect with others of similar background: Parents, Spouses, Siblings, Friends & Family, Men Only, Adult Children, Grandparents and Significant Others. Sessions Offered: May 27: 9:00 – 10:00 am

1:1 with Dr Blankenship (Charles Blankenship): For those who are ready to ask the tough questions, we will have a medical expert on hand to discuss the physiological aspects of your loved one’s death. Just straight answers in a supportive and loving environment with a one on one half hour session with Dr. Charles Blankenship. If you wish, you can bring along any reports and autopsies for Dr. Blankenship to review and discuss with you. If you would like to connect with Dr. Blankenship prior to the event you can email him directly: charles_blankenship@msn.com. Sessions Offered: May 27: 1:30 – 4:30 pm, May 28 & 29: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm

Artful Grief/Art Studio: The Artful Grief: Open Art Studio is a safe, sacred and quiet space for participants to create their own artwork in response to their personal journey and experience the transformational process of creativity. The studio will serve as an "art making" sanctuary that meets the ongoing needs of attendees throughout the conference. No talent required, only the willingness to be with what is in your heart, for “a picture is worth a thousand words.” As part of the Artful Grief: Open Art Studio experience, Sharon will share her own journey of healing through the creative process of collage making. A few of the collages she created will be on display as she answers questions about the images that arose from her loss. There will be a designated "TAPS Exhibition Space" where participants may display their artwork. These heartfelt images will serve as markers along the path to healing, will stimulate conversation and make sacred the shared journey. Sessions Offered: May 27: 12:30 - 5:00 pm, May 28: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, May 29: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Artful Engaging: Reverence Flags (Karen Anderson): Flags are an easy way to identify something, whether it be a country, an organization or used as a symbolic gesture. It transcends language, used colors and emblems to identify its meaning. A Reverence Flag is based on the same principle as Tibetan prayer flags. A prayer flag is a rectangular cloth often found strung along mountain ridges and peaks high in the Himalayas to bless the surrounding countryside or for other purposes. These panels are wood-blocked printed with words and images. The cloth pieces can then be hung in a covered outdoor place or inside. Tibetans believe the prayers of these flags become a permanent part of the universe as the images fade from exposure to the elements and the wind blows through them. Just as life moves on and is replaced by new life, our own healing can begin, our hearts can mend and find room to love again.?When we send our feelings on the wind we trust nature to turn our memories from sadness to gratitude for having loved and been loved so unconditionally. It is a beautiful way to send a prayer out into the universe. In this workshop, participants can create his or her own prayer flag using different materials to show honor and reverence for their loved one. Afterward, everyone is invited to hang his or her flag together outside the Artful Grief studio. Sessions Offered: May 27: 1:30 - 3:00 pm

Finding Our Way Back to Joy through the Five Honorings (Ken Druck): The First Honoring is Our Own Survival: We will learn what it really means to survive, practice self-care/compassion as we navigate the inevitable ups and downs of the first several years of traumatic loss. We will also explore strategies for meeting the challenges, facing the fears and harvesting the opportunities of coming out of "Shock and Survival Mode" -- and adjusting to a completely "new normal." This includes overcoming the hidden guilt and shame that too often blocks our path to joy, teaching those closest to us the "Do's and Don'ts of Support," giving ourselves permission to grieve and get the help we need -- and gaining the freedom we gain from seeing things from a both/and (paradoxical) rather than either/or perspective. The Second Honoring is to Begin Writing New Chapters In Our Lives: We will explore how to summon the courage, strength, resilience and faith to go on after the death of a loved one, how to be emotionally honest with ourselves/others and how to summon the psychological strength, bravery, hope, faith, understanding and (sustainable, resilient) energy when we’re still feeling broken, empty, angry, lost, despairing, emotionally drained and exhausted? We will learn to STOP ourselves from entering the "Torture Chamber" of guilt and shame and other pitfalls of traumatic loss that stand in the way of healing, renewal and fighting our way back into life? The Third Honoring is to Embody Their Essence in the Way We Live On: In this section, we will share strategies for how to cultivate, nurture, choose and internalize the essential qualities our loved ones possessed and, in so doing, embody their spirit. How can we make their loving-kindness, innocence, sense of humor, affection, irreverence, fairness, peace, joy, playfulness and deep wisdom a part of us and become the better, smarter, stronger version of ourselves? The Fourth Honoring is to Do Something Good in Their Name: Each of us has the power to use whatever time, energy, talents, passions and resources we have to do something good in their name. This can be as simple as lighting a candle every year or complicated as starting a not-for-profit foundation. This is the way we make our lives an expression of love -- as opposed to our despair and trauma over how they died. The Fifth Honoring is to Develop a Spiritual Relationship with Them: We will learn how to deepen our spiritual connection with our loved one, keep them alive in our hearts, imagination, signs and memories and allow communication on a spiritual level (even at the objections of the Thought Police). Sessions Offered: May 27: 1:30 - 3:00 pm

The 20 Faces of Grief: Weighing In Emotionally (Mitch Carmody): This is an Interactive group exercise to open up paths of communications, assessing grievers where they are at on their grief journey, sharing the story of their personal loss and challenges and sharing emotions they may have been experiencing. Sessions Offered: May 27: 1:30 - 3:00 pm

Relaxation & Compassion: Meditation for Grief (Heather Stang): Grief impacts your physical, mental, and emotional body. The Relaxation Response Meditation, developed at Harvard in the late 1960s by cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson, is proven to temper anxiety, mild to moderate depression, insomnia, nausea, headaches, and many other stress-related complaints associated with grief. During the first half of this 90-minute workshop, you will learn this simple yet powerful practice, which includes relaxing breath-work and crafting your personal mantra. Next, you will learn Metta Meditation, also known as the Prayer of Lovingkindness and Compassion. This ancient technique is the systematic practice of sending “well wishes” to 6 types of people, including yourself, a beloved teacher or spiritual icon, a friend or family member, a neutral person, a difficult person, and finally, all sentient beings. This technique highlights the fact that we all share a desire to be happy, safe and free from suffering, which creates the potential to heal difficult relationships and cultivate gratitude for supportive relationships. Participants will be provided handouts with detailed instructions and links to free guided meditations for home practice. Sessions Offered: May 27: 1:30 - 3:00 pm

Siblings Grieve, Too (Dr. Heidi Horsley): Losing a sibling is one of the worst things that can ever happen; it turns your world upside down. Your sibling is part of your past, and you expect this relationship to continue throughout your lifetime. In this interactive workshop, Heidi will discuss what helped her, after the death of her 17 yr. old brother, and what has helped the thousands of bereaved siblings she has worked with. She will also address the unique aspects and challenges of sibling death, and get feedback from participants about issues they are struggling with, and how they have found hope without their brother or sister. Sessions Offered: May 27: 1:30 - 3:00 pm

Discover TAPS Outdoor Programs - Retreats, Expeditions, TeamTAPS and Inner Warrior (Craig Wilhelm, Emily Munoz, Erin Jacobson and Gabriel Rao): TAPS Retreats are designed to create a strong sense of community and peer support among survivors by providing challenging group activities as well as multiple opportunities for conversation. TAPS Expeditions challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and share a truly fearless journey with TAPS survivors by joining them in the wilderness. After the death of a loved one, the entire landscape of life changes - routine becomes rigorous, familiar becomes foreign. This, after all, was not the plan. This was not on your map. But maybe, in those dark moments where you've felt small and powerless, you've also sensed that you are meant to do something big. Team TAPS supports TAPS programs and services through Challenge, Compassion, and Commitment. Team TAPS participates in endurance events from Alaska to Florida, from Germany to Afghanistan; providing opportunities for survivors and athletes of all experience levels to support TAPS. Participating in Sport and Endurance activities releases the grip of grief and provides a way to honor your loved ones through exercise and action. Now, a network of tens of thousands participate in TeamTAPS endurance challenges annually – from running to biking, hiking and swimming, to cycling and ruck-marching – all to support TAPS programs and services. Inner Warrior: Fighting for the lives they wanted us to have. The Inner Warrior program asks you to find and connect with the part of you that’s committed not just to surviving, but to thriving. We’ll build strength, resolve and courage for daily life and exceptional adventures. We’ll reclaim the parts of ourselves that know we make our loved ones proud. Wherever you are in your grief journey, Inner Warrior is about strengthening your own resolve and building your own capacity. When you’re ready to prioritize training, preparation, whole-body wellness, and accountability, join a team of like-minded survivors ready to find what’s waiting when we accept the challenge not just to endure, but to believe. Sessions Offered: May 27: 1:30 - 3:00 pm

Suicide Loss Sharing Group for Parents: Sessions Offered: May 27: 1:30 - 3:00 pm

Mindful Meditation Walk (Erin Jacobson): In grief it is easy to become overwhelmed by the challenge of concentration and being present in the moment. During this session you are invited to learn simple techniques to use your senses, nature and your breath to bring calmness and awareness in your day-to-day life. These tools can help to bring grounding in moments that we feel overcome by the burden of emotion. Although this session will not contain strenuous activity, we will be venturing outside so please bring comfortable shoes and clothing appropriate for the outdoors. Sessions Offered: May 27: 1:30 - 3:00 pm

National Seminar 101: So much to do, so little time … where do I start? (Kim Burditt & Jenn McCollum-Allen: There is so much offered here at the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar. How do you choose what to attend? Come learn more about the schedule and the weekend’s offerings … we’ll help you create a plan for each day so you can get the most out of your weekend here with your TAPS family! Sessions Offered: May 27: 3:30 - 4:30 pm

Reception & Reunion: Our Friday Night Reception and Reunion will offer attendees the time to connect with each other, whether it is for the first time or reuniting with friends from past TAPS events or communities. Light snacks will be provided and many of the weekend’s presenters will be present to get to know you better. Sessions Offered: May 27: 3:00 pm

Making Connections with Granny Squares (Claire Wudowsky): This workshop will help you learn to make one-color granny squares and connect them into a blanket that will be donated to TAPS to benefit someone who needs our support. Information will be provided to help you continue your therapeutic knitting journey after your return home. All the tools and supplies you need will be provided. If you already know how to knit or crochet and want to contribute to this blanket, please drop off 7" x 7" squares of any kind to the Knitters and Crocheters Care area. When you drop off your squares, you can learn how to connect them to help complete this special TAPS blanket. If you simply need more instruction, practice or want to hang out, stop by the knitters and crocheters care area Friday to Monday. Sessions Offered: May 27: 5:00 pm until done

Combined 12 Step Group Meeting: Open to members of any 12-Step Fellowship. The meetings will be conducted based on the 12-Step model first developed by Alcoholics Anonymous and will be chaired by Franklin C., a longtime member of several 12-Step Fellowships. TAPS welcomes anyone attending this weekend's survivor seminar who is a member of a 12-Step Fellowship to attend the meetings, but the meetings are not affiliated with TAPS. Sessions Offered: May 27, 28 & 29: 9:00 pm

Saturday, May 28: Reflect

Sun Salutations Yoga (Lalaine Estella): Get ready to face your day with a gentle yoga practice that will awaken your mind, open your heart and get your body moving. We will use our breath to ease into simple stretches and poses. No yoga experience required. You don't even have to be fully awake to participate! Come join and breathe with us, and together we will rise and shine. Mats provided. Sessions Offered: May 28, 29 & 30: 7:00 – 8:00 am

Get outdoors with the TAPS Inner Warrior Program (Emily Muñoz) Get a jumpstart on your personal health and wellness. Join your fellow Inner Warriors and get outdoors for a morning meet-up as we go along the Mount Vernon trail for 30 minutes of running or walking. Not only will you have the opportunity to work in a morning wellness activity, but we will share stories with other survivors as we strive to be stronger each day. We encourage everyone of all fitness levels to participate. Sessions Offered: May 28 & 29: 7:00 - 8:00 am

1:1 with Dr Blankenship (Charles Blankenship): For those who are ready to ask the tough questions, we will have a medical expert on hand to discuss the physiological aspects of your loved one’s death. Just straight answers in a supportive and loving environment with a one on one half hour session with Dr. Charles Blankenship. If you wish, you can bring along any reports and autopsies for Dr. Blankenship to review and discuss with you. If you would like to connect with Dr. Blankenship prior to the event you can email him directly: charles_blankenship@msn.com. Sessions Offered: May 27: 1:30 – 4:30 pm, May 28 & 29: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm

Artful Grief/Art Studio: The Artful Grief: Open Art Studio is a safe, sacred and quiet space for participants to create their own artwork in response to their personal journey and experience the transformational process of creativity. The studio will serve as an "art making" sanctuary that meets the ongoing needs of attendees throughout the conference. No talent required, only the willingness to be with what is in your heart, for “a picture is worth a thousand words.” As part of the Artful Grief: Open Art Studio experience, Sharon will share her own journey of healing through the creative process of collage making. A few of the collages she created will be on display as she answers questions about the images that arose from her loss. There will be a designated "TAPS Exhibition Space" where participants may display their artwork. These heartfelt images will serve as markers along the path to healing, will stimulate conversation and make sacred the shared journey. Sessions Offered: May 27: 12:30 - 5:00 pm, May 28: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, May 29: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

The Glass House of Grief: Dealing with the Judgment that Comes with Loss (Michelle Steinke Baumgard): Michelle will talk about the inevitable judgment that seems to come with the loss journey and give practical tools to help the survivor move beyond the glass house they now reside in. Sessions Offered: May 28: 9:00 – 10:30 am

Processing Our Grief: Transforming Sorrow, Outrage, Anger & Fear Back Into Love (Ken Druck): In this interactive program, participants will have the opportunity to take personal inventory, map out where they are on their grief journey, identify the key elements on their path to healing, identify “roadblocks” to healing and work on upgrading their self-compassion by summoning a deep sense of gratitude, kindness, patience, encouragement, acceptance and understanding. We will learn about things like “Living Losses” and the “paradoxes of loss” including “Broken and Whole,” “Here and Gone” and “Empty and Full.” Facing into our losses together, we become the better version of ourselves. Sessions Offered: May 28: 9:00 – 10:30 am; 1:30 - 3 pm

Finding New Meaning and Purpose in Your Life after Loss (Kim Ruocco): The death of a loved one turns our world upside down. It can make us question what is important and who we are. This session is designed for survivors who are further out in their grief journey. Together we will explore the various ways that loss changes the way we view the world and how we can use it to live a purposeful life. Sessions Offered: May 28: 9:00 – 10:30 am

Who Am I Without My Sibling (Dr. Heidi Horsley): The sibling bond is an intense, unique relationship – it sustains distance, conflict, and family dynamics. Bereaved siblings experience profound loss, even though the loss is often unrecognized by society. While exploring questions of identity, this workshop will honor your grief, your loss, and your relationship with your sibling. Sessions Offered: May 28: 9:00 – 10:30 am

Sharing Groups: Spouses with Children, Loss of Only Child, Friends/Battle Buddies, My Loved One Died in Combat, Suicide Loss Sharing Group for Spouses. Sessions Offered: May 28: 9:00 – 10:30 am

What Are Your Healing Superpowers? (Paula Stephens): In this session participants will be guided through a ‘work in action’ worksheet that will encourage them to identify the strengths, skills, behaviors and activities that have helped them up to this point. These reflections will be used show how each person has healed in a different way. By recognizing and being aware of these behaviors we can maximize them and learn to integrate them into our lives as our healing evolves and our needs change. Participants are encouraged to share, brain storm and adopt ideas from one another in the workshop. This encourages the concept of asking for support and being open to exploring new ideas. The message is shared that, just like a super hero has specific powers, he/she may also need to enlist other ‘heroes’ to support them. This format also creates an inclusive feel for those who are both newly bereaved and further down the path. Participants will leave feeling empowered by having identified their own healing ‘super-powers’, knowing where they need support, and knowing how to use these to honor their loved ones by how they continue to live. Sessions Offered: May 28: 11:00 am – 12:30 pm, 3:30 - 5:00 pm

Drawing Your Grief-Scape (Heather Stang): This workshop invites participants to use crayons and paper to reflect on the metaphor of “grief as a landscape” in order to gain insight and a new perspective on the experience of grief. Drawing your “landscape of grief” will help you explore the of grief in a new way, which will offer up new perspectives and insights while fostering meaning making and narrative reconstruction. In many cases, this exercise will help you take one step forward on your grief journey. After a brief meditation and mindful movement exercise, you will imagine what grief would look like if it were a physical place. Open-ended questions will allow you to meditate on and tour your “grief-scape” as if it were the first time you visited–reflecting on attributes such as the season, the climate, the time of day, and more. A period of silence will be allowed for you to create the drawing itself. We will be using crayons—one of the least intimidating art mediums, as this exercise is not about creating a work of art, but rather exploring your relationship with your life after loss. There will be ample time allotted for you to share your drawing and reflect on its symbolism with the group. Sessions Offered: May 28: 11:00 am – 12:30 pm, 3:30 - 5:00 pm

A Frank Conversation: Is My Loss Traumatic? (Frank Campbell): Traumatic grief has characteristics different from the more traditional grief associated with death. Dr. Frank Campbell will describe elements that stand out when experiencing traumatic grief that compromise the activities of daily living and impact sleep, physical health and overall well-being. When assumed to be characteristics of "normal" grief many find processing their loss overwhelming resulting in a more difficult grief journey. Participants attending are encouraged to ask questions or share personal experiences they are coping with to gain insights and practical solutions that have helped others cope more effectively. Sessions Offered: May 28: 11:00 am – 12:30 pm, 3:30 - 5:00 pm

Grieving Like A Man (Franklin Cook): This session is for men only. It begins with a brief presentation about men and grief, which will be followed by a facilitated discussion. Participants will be invited to comment on their own experiences as men coping with grief and loss. Sessions Offered: May 28: 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Sharing Groups: Widows: Dating Again?, Spouses without Children, Siblings, Step Parents, Attending the Seminar Alone, Suicide Loss Sharing Group for Siblings Sessions Offered: May 28: 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Exercise for Grief, Anxiety and Mood (Michelle Steinke Baumgard & Keith Baumgard): Exercise is one of the most powerful and underutilized antidepressants, and it’s free. In this session, Michelle will discuss the science behind the power of endorphins and help you start your journey to fitness. Sessions Offered: May 28: 1:30 - 3:00 pm

Who Am I as a Griever? The Power of Vulnerability (Mitch Carmody ): This is a workshop that explores who we are as a griever, our strengths and our weaknesses. Grievers will be introduced to the 5 basic personality archetypes as see through the characters of Milne’s classic Winnie the Pooh. Every person, every journey so unique but yet we can draw to our strong suit, when we know what it is. Other facets of the loss and circumstances around the death than can complicate, delay and that can acerbate the journey will be discussed. We can use the power of vulnerability (open to taking emotional risks) to help heal our broken heart. Sessions Offered: May 28: 1:30 - 3:00 pm

Finding Words for Grief (Diane Ebenal & Carol Sweaney): This workshop is structured around poet-therapist Georgia Roberson’s belief that “people need to find the words for the loss, say the words out loud, and have someone hear them.” Participants need no creative or writing skill - just an open mind and sense that there is something they need to say. Sessions Offered: May 28: 1:30 - 3:00 pm

Peer Mentor and Care Group Facilitator Workshop (Zaneta Gileno & Don Lipstein): All trained Peer Mentors and TAPS Care Group Facilitators are invited to participate in this workshop. We will discuss best practices and provide ongoing training to support you in your valuable roles. Sessions Offered: May 28: 1:30 - 3:00 pm

Stress Management, and Grief Relief through Somatic Integration (Mitch Carmody): The somatic (physical) component of grief will be discussed as it relates to the four pillars of strength of a human being: body, mind, spirit and soul. The synergistic integration of these strengths is crucial to surviving traumatic loss. We will be identifying common stressors experienced in grief and discuss ways to neutralize its toxic effect on our body. A brief guided imagery to introduce the relaxation response will be conducted. Sessions Offered: May 28: 3:00 - 5:00 pm

Sharing Groups: Meet and connect with others of similar background: Significant Others, Multiple Deaths, Grandparents, Accidental Death, Suicide Loss Sharing Group for VILO’s (Very Important Loved Ones) Sessions Offered: May 28: 1:30 - 3:00 pm

Sharing Groups: Meet and connect with others of similar background: Parents, Loss by Friendly Fire, Missing/Unknown, Homicide Loss Sharing Group, Custodial Grandparents, Suicide Loss Sessions Offered: May 28: 3:30 - 5:00 pm

Combined 12 Step Group Meeting: Open to members of any 12-Step Fellowship. The meetings will be conducted based on the 12-Step model first developed by Alcoholics Anonymous and will be chaired by Franklin C., a longtime member of several 12-Step Fellowships. TAPS welcomes anyone attending this weekend's survivor seminar who is a member of a 12-Step Fellowship to attend the meetings, but the meetings are not affiliated with TAPS. Sessions Offered: May 27, 28 & 29: 9:00 pm

Sunday, May 29: Inspire

Sun Salutations Yoga (Lalaine Estella): Get ready to face your day with a gentle yoga practice that will awaken your mind, open your heart and get your body moving. We will use our breath to ease into simple stretches and poses. No yoga experience required. You don't even have to be fully awake to participate! Come join and breathe with us, and together we will rise and shine. Mats provided. Sessions Offered: May 28, 29 & 30: 7:00 – 8:00 am

Get outdoors with the TAPS Inner Warrior Program (Emily Muñoz) Get a jumpstart on your personal health and wellness. Join your fellow Inner Warriors and get outdoors for a morning meet-up as we go along the Mount Vernon trail for 30 minutes of running or walking. Not only will you have the opportunity to work in a morning wellness activity, but we will share stories with other survivors as we strive to be stronger each day. We encourage everyone of all fitness levels to participate. Sessions Offered: May 28 & 29: 7:00 - 8:00 am

1:1 with Dr Blankenship (Charles Blankenship): For those who are ready to ask the tough questions, we will have a medical expert on hand to discuss the physiological aspects of your loved one’s death. Just straight answers in a supportive and loving environment with a one on one half hour session with Dr. Charles Blankenship. If you wish, you can bring along any reports and autopsies for Dr. Blankenship to review and discuss with you. If you would like to connect with Dr. Blankenship prior to the event you can email him directly: charles_blankenship@msn.com. Sessions Offered: May 27: 1:30 – 4:30 pm, May 28 & 29: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm

Artful Grief/Art Studio: The Artful Grief: Open Art Studio is a safe, sacred and quiet space for participants to create their own artwork in response to their personal journey and experience the transformational process of creativity. The studio will serve as an "art making" sanctuary that meets the ongoing needs of attendees throughout the conference. No talent required, only the willingness to be with what is in your heart, for “a picture is worth a thousand words.” As part of the Artful Grief: Open Art Studio experience, Sharon will share her own journey of healing through the creative process of collage making. A few of the collages she created will be on display as she answers questions about the images that arose from her loss. There will be a designated "TAPS Exhibition Space" where participants may display their artwork. These heartfelt images will serve as markers along the path to healing, will stimulate conversation and make sacred the shared journey. Sessions Offered: May 27: 12:30 - 5:00 pm, May 28: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, May 29: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Live on Purpose (Michelle Steinke Baumgard): An inspirational pep talk from Michelle on living your life with great purpose. In this session, Michelle will give actionable tips on finding a new direction and living each step of the way. Expect to be inspired, motivated and renewed for the road ahead. Sessions Offered: May 29: 8:30 - 10:00 am

A Quiet Time for Reflection and Response:Join fellow survivors in a quiet time of reflection and response where you can quietly meditate on your favorite biblical verse, poem and/or sacred writings of your faith that provide you with hope and encouragement to move forward. A Protestant devotional message will be offered at the close of this session for those who wish to stay and fellowship. Prayer will be available upon request. This session will be led by Chaplain Doug Windley, N.C. Army National Guard. Sessions Offered: May 29: 8:30 - 10:00 am

Yoga for Grief (Rayanne Hunter): Trauma and long term stress and anxiety activate the stress response causing chaos in your body. In using yoga you can increase the relaxation response by encouraging a calm breath, reducing muscle tension, creating body awareness, and promoting sound sleep. Allowing you to discover and reverse long term consequences of stress, anxiety, and trauma. Yoga and mindfulness practices can help you to better understand, make peace with, manage, and release emotional triggers and feelings. Teaching you to stay present with intention, which can relieve you from worrying about the future or the past. All of this transfers off the mat, bringing fresh awareness into your everyday experience. Sessions Offered: May 29: 8:30 - 10:00 am, 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Signs, Dreams and Synchronicities…those Continuing Connections (Mitch Carmody): No matter how, when or where our loved one died, there is compelling evidence to support the belief that we can still feel their presence. In this inspirational session we will explore this phenomenon in detail and provide a slide show of extraordinary anecdotal evidence from all over the world that validates the experience for the griever and that you are not crazy. It provides hope for the newly bereaved and a gift of comfort for all bereaved that our loved ones may have survived physical death on some level. Sessions Offered: May 29: 8:30 - 10:00 am

Finding Hope After Loss (Dr. Heidi Horsley): Are you ready to find hope again? This interactive workshop is for those who are ready to transform their losses and find hope, healing and joy again. In this workshop you will learn tips and tools on how to shift your energy and actually feel better during difficult times. Heidi will discuss steps you can take and share research on finding hope after loss that will leave you feeling more energized and more hopeful about your future. Sessions Offered: May 29: 8:30 - 10:00 am

Our Blueprints for Healing Into the Future (Ken Druck): In this program, participants will have the opportunity to map out their own custom version of a positive future and solidify the blueprints for getting there. Each participant will be invited to write a deeply inspirational letter to themselves outlining their plan which they will open in 6 months. Sessions Offered: May 29: 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

God Winks (Bonnie Carroll): Some people call them “God Winks,” some call them signs, messages or after death communication. No matter what we call them, signs from our loved ones can be very present in our lives. Stories and experiences of the presence of our loved ones will be discussed in this open-minded and intimate sharing session. Sessions Offered: May 29: 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Metaphors for Healing (Frank Campbell): This workshop will focus on the benefits of developing accurate metaphors to describe your feelings of loss. This approach to communication when grieving has proven helpful for getting support that is helpful from those who want to be able to provide support and have not had a loss comparable to your loss. This approach allows a different response to "how are you?" than the assumed a "I am fine" phrase many see as an expectation by society. Sessions Offered: May 29: 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Companioning A Griever’s Heart (Zaneta Gileno): Are you ready to help others? Have you wondered how you can give back to the community? In this workshop, we will explore our own caregiving styles and motivations for helping others. We will also discuss different ways to best support the grieving. We'll even look at compassion fatigue and ways to ensure we are in the best position to serve. Join us to explore ways to Companion a Grieving Heart. Sessions Offered: May 29: 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Art and Grief: How Art Communicates the Unspeakable (with Erin Jacobson and Shalan Webb): In grief we often struggle to find the words to express what we feel. The visual arts can communicate the deepest parts of us that when we don’t know how to communicate them. After the death of their fiancé and husband respectively in 2007, survivors Erin Jacobson and Shalan Webb both studied art as part of their healing process. In this session they will give a brief introduction on how to look at art and use it as a tool to heal as well as share specific pieces that that resonated in their grief process. Sessions Offered: May 29: 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Sharing Groups: Meet and connect with others of similar background: Fathers, Parents, LGBTQ Sharing Group, Young Adults (18 - 23), Suicide Loss Sharing Group for Spouses with Children Sessions Offered: May 29: 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Grief Didn’t Come with a Training Plan, Here’s Yours! (Paula Stephens): The focus of this session is to teach the importance of self-care and health in the healing process. After attending this workshop participants will know what action to take that will help them effectively manage the day-to-day stresses of living with loss. The message will include the physical differences in early loss vs more integrated loss. Participants will be able to apply simple self-care strategies they can do starting that day that will increase their energy, decrease stress and improve mood. Participants will learn both the physiological and emotional benefits of integrating health and wellness into their lives, including avoiding secondary losses to quality of life after the loss of a loved one. Sessions Offered: May 29: 1:00 - 2:30 pm

Healthy Parenting After Loss (Kim Ruocco & Carla Stumpf-Patton): This session will help parents and caregivers build a foundation of trust, love and honesty after loss. The session will include specific information about the impact of sudden loss on children, including suicide. It will also offer information and insight gained from the TAPS "Good Grief Camps". Sessions Offered: May 29: 1:00 - 2:30 pm

Role Modeling Self Care for the Next Generation (Frank Campbell): The most challenging concept for many who are struggling to cope with daily demands is self-care. The concept is intended to be a life jacket on a rough sea and yet most assume this is selfish behavior and not worthy of consideration. Once this concept is clearly understood it can be the life saving approach to grief it is intended to be. Participants are encouraged to share what they are struggling with on a daily basis in an effort to normalize some of the common issues surrounding loss while looking for new ways to cope through self-care. Sessions Offered: May 29: 1:00 - 2:30 pm

Who Am I Now? Meditation & Journaling for Post Traumatic Growth (Heather Stang): This workshop will guide participants through an integration meditation and journaling experience designed to help them reflect on their grief experience, acknowledge their personal strengths, and choose how to engage with their life after loss. When a loved one dies, our self-narrative gets thrown off track, our assumptive world get shattered, and we are left asking “Who Am I Now?” An important task on the healing journey is to reconstruct our story and continue to live our life after loss. In time, many bereaved people experience posttraumatic growth, which can be cultivated through self-reflection and story-telling. This workshop begins with a guided meditation exercise that includes breath work and a mindfulness-based body scan designed to help you transition from “thinking mind” into “creative mind.” You will learn the guidelines for stream of consciousness journaling, and be offered writing prompts based on the Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy Integration meditation process. This process will allow you to explore the bridge between your grief experience up until this point and your life moving forward. You will be inspired to create a personal affirmation that is a symbol of your inner strength, and commit to a small, doable and time-bound action that will help you move forward in your own personal narrative. Time will be available at the end of the workshop for those who wish to share their affirmation and action step with the group. Sessions Offered: May 29: 1:00 - 2:30 pm

Making It Clear: Answers to your questions about DoD and VA Benefits, Education Benefits and How Casework and Advocacy Can Work For You (Ashlynne Haycock, Brittany Bonin-Bruder, Kathy Moakler): Have questions about your DoD and VA benefits? Are you or your child headed to college soon and looking for financial aid? Want to learn how you can help make survivor benefits better by working with your member of Congress? In this 90 minute session you will: learn about the TAPS education portal and how to make it work for you and your family, find out more about the TAPS Casework department and how they help you when problems arise and you can’t go it alone, and hear about legislation that has been introduced in Congress this year and how it affects survivor benefits. Be sure to bring your questions and your ideas. Sessions Offered: May 29: 1:00 - 2:30 pm

Sharing Groups: Meet and connect with others of similar background: Mothers, Adult Children, Spanish Speaking, “I Love and Care for a Survivor” Sharing Group (Keith Baumgard), Suicide Loss Sharing Group for Spouses without Children Sessions Offered: May 29: 1:00 - 2:30 pm

Getting Started on your Fitness and Nutrition Journey (Michelle Steinke Baumgard & Keith Baumgard) :In this session, Coach Michelle and Keith will talk about the importance of smart fitness and how getting started is not nearly as complicated as we make it. Practical tips will be given to get the survivor up and moving towards a healthy life. Sessions Offered: May 29: 3:00 - 4:00 pm

Updates on the National Military Family Bereavement Study (Dr.Stephen Cozza) :This presentation will provide information about the National Military Family Bereavement Study (NMFBS), discuss current study progress, preliminary findings and future directions. The NMFBS is the first large scientific study of the impact of a U.S. service member death on surviving family members. The research is being conducted by Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS) in Bethesda, Maryland. Since its inception in 2011, the NMFBS has collected information from over 2250 adult and child family members of military service members who have died serving on active status in any branch of the military since September 11, 2001. The study has collected baseline self-report surveys, focus group information and saliva samples (for genetic testing) from participants (including parents, spouses/partners, siblings and children). In addition, nearly 1000 adults and children are participating in three yearly interviews to provide information about changes in bereavement outcomes over time. Data analyses will continue during the next several years and official reports will be published in the scientific literature. Preliminary findings identify continued needs in this population of bereaved military family members. These findings and the future direction of the project will be discussed. Sessions Offered: May 29: 3:00 - 4:00 pm

Turning Loss To Legacy, Proactive Grieving (Mitch Carmody) :This workshop looks at “now what?” where do I go from here? This session is designed to help you pack your toolbox for the future. Empowering oneself to become an intentional survivor, to not only find ways to seek and bring joy back into our lives, but keep our loved one present in the world by doing so. To proactively create a legacy for our loved one who died; finding ways to re-purpose our broken heart in a positive manner that not only honors their life, invigorates ours but makes a difference in the world in their name. Our loved one dies a second time when no one speaks their name, so we create a legacy, saying their name loud and proud. They served; they died, but will never be forgotten. Sessions Offered: May 29: 3:00 - 4:00 pm

Becoming a Contributing Writer for TAPS (Bevin Landrum & Carol Lane): Designed for survivors who use writing as a way to express their feelings and experiences after loss, this workshop will focus on writers two or more years after loss who wish to refine their writing skills and learn more about the writing opportunities TAPS offers. We will focus on writing, peer review, TAPS editing and style guidelines, and how to develop content for assigned topics. This is an excellent way to honor your loved one and share lessons learned in broad ways that apply to your TAPS family. Sessions Offered: May 29: 3:00 - 4:00 pm

Sharing Groups: Meet and connect with others of similar background: Spiritual Questions After Loss, Very Important Loved Ones, Loss to Illness, Our Child was born after My Loved One Died, Suicide Loss Sharing Group for Siblings Sessions Offered: May 29: 2:30 - 4:00 pm

Lessons in Life & Purposeful  Movement from a Navy SEAL(William Wagasy): Explore the link between physical challenges and emotional obstacles with one of our nation’s most skilled special operators. Appropriate for all physical fitness levels, this workshop will ask participants to believe that it matters to try - that understanding our own strengths and weaknesses informs not only our own grief journeys, but helps us learn how to support others along the way. Sessions Offered: May 29: 10:30 - 1:00 pm

Combined 12 Step Group Meeting: Open to members of any 12-Step Fellowship. The meetings will be conducted based on the 12-Step model first developed by Alcoholics Anonymous and will be chaired by Franklin C., a longtime member of several 12-Step Fellowships. TAPS welcomes anyone attending this weekend's survivor seminar who is a member of a 12-Step Fellowship to attend the meetings, but the meetings are not affiliated with TAPS. Sessions Offered: May 27, 28 & 29: 9:00 pm

Monday, May 30: Inspire

Sun Salutations Yoga (Lalaine Estella): Get ready to face your day with a gentle yoga practice that will awaken your mind, open your heart and get your body moving. We will use our breath to ease into simple stretches and poses. No yoga experience required. You don't even have to be fully awake to participate! Come join and breathe with us, and together we will rise and shine. Mats provided. Sessions Offered: May 28, 29 & 30: 7:00 – 8:00 am

Keynote Speakers

Bonnie Carroll is President and Founder of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), America’s frontline resource offering compassionate care for all those grieving a death in the armed forces and serving more than 55,000 survivors with 24/7 support services and programs. Ms. Carroll founded TAPS in 1994 following the death of her husband, Brigadier General Tom Carroll, in an Army aviation crash. Ms. Carroll is a veteran of the United States Air Force with over 30-years of service in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. In her professional career, she worked as a Defense consultant on Capitol Hill, a senior appointee in the Reagan and both Bush Administrations, and as Deputy Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Communications in Baghdad, Iraq. She currently serves on the Defense Health Board and is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Association of Death Education and Counseling Clinical Practice Award. She is the co-author of "Healing Your Grieving Military Heart" and numerous articles on coping with traumatic grief. Ms. Carroll holds degrees in Public Administration and Political Science from the American University. She makes her home both in Arlington, VA and Anchorage, Alaska.

Emily Muñoz has been a familiar face in the TAPS community since she began outfitting 7-year-olds at Good Grief Camps with capes, glitter and crazy, awesome coping skills in 2007. She began working full time for TAPS in 2014 and has since applied her creative energy to workshops, presenting at regional Seminars and spearheading strategic and programming initiatives.

 

She joined TAPS from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where she served as a political and business liaison for the Hiring Our Heroes program. Prior to her work with veteran and military employment initiatives, she served as Program Officer for Translational Research in Mental Health and a site administrator for the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. She has extensive experience working with national security and military policy issues, including strategic, capabilities and force planning; family readiness; and casualty support. She has held analyst positions at numerous think tanks and defense contracting firms, where she worked primarily on domestic and international force structure and counterterrorism issues. She received a B.A. cum laude in International Relations from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and studied National Security Policy at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. An energetic presence in the military community, she served as an outreach liaison for the U.S. Army Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and on the Board of Directors for Special Ops Survivors (formerly the United Warrior Survivor Foundation), a nonprofit organization for families of fallen special operations soldiers.

 

Emily resides in Boston, Massachusetts, where she lives in constant gratitude for the life of her late husband, Capt. Gil Muñoz, who served as a detachment commander with 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) until his death of combat-related illness in 2005. She believes in the healing power of dance parties, the commitment to courageous grieving and courageous living, and the imperative to use the power of joy and sorrow in service to something greater than ourselves. Most importantly, laughter through tears is her favorite emotion.

Professional Presenters (In Alphabetical Order)

Karen E Anderson has been facilitating art therapy-based workshops since 2012. She is a graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Master’s Art Therapy program. Presently she gives monthly groups for self awareness, codependency and life’s challenges. Karen has been a presenter at both national seminars for TAPS for the past three years. Additionally, she is a part of Sharon Strouse’s team at the Artful Grief Studio. Karen completed the certification program for Grief Counseling from the American Institute of Health Care Professionals in April 2013.

Keith Baumgard is the co-founder of My1FitLife and Live the List. Fitness has been a lifelong passion for Keith starting from a very young age and he knows firsthand the important role fitness can play in grief after the loss of his best friend in a 2004 plane crash. Keith has a degree in Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, which has allowed him to extensively learn and study the anatomy and physiology of the body. Keith’s goal as a coach is to help provide people with their best life through smart programming that includes flexibility, mobility and building your best body.

Michelle Steinke Baumgard is the co-founder of My1FitLife, One Fit Widow and the Live the List nonprofit. After losing her husband in 2009, she became engrossed in fitness not only as a lifestyle but also as a profession. Her dream is to help as many people as possible find stress relief and renewal of life through health and fitness. Today, Michelle’s coaching portal, My1FitLife has over 2,000 members reaching all over the world and the Live the List nonprofit is helping the widowed live out their dreams so they can make deliberate steps forward with their life. She is an IFPA Certified Personal Trainer, IFPA Certified Sports Nutrition Specialist, and IFPA Certified Physical Fitness and Wellness Specialist.

Captain Charles Blankenship, MD (Ret) was a surgeon at the National Naval Medical Center. As a naval officer, he has served in many capacities over more than three decades; as ship’s surgeon and staff surgeon in a number of hospitals, as well as deploying during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

Frank R. Campbell, Ph.D., LCSW, CT is the former Executive Director of the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center and the Crisis Center Foundation in Lousiana. He is currently the Senior Consultant, for Campbell and Associates Consulting, where he consults with communities on Forensic Suicidology cases. It was due to his more than twenty years of working with those bereaved by suicide that he introduced his Active Postvention Model (APM), most commonly known as the LOSS Team (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors). His work with survivors and victims of trauma has been featured in three Discovery Channel documentaries.

Mitch Carmody, GSP, CCP is the author of “Letters To My Son, turning loss to legacy” and the prognosticator of Proactive Grieving® seminars that features the S.T.A.I.R.S.™ model of grief processing. Mitch is the host of his own radio show “Grief Chat” and longtime friend and presenter with TAPS. His Proactive Grieving® seminars are reaching grievers worldwide; an organic, holistic approach focusing on the mind, body, soul and spirit connection empowering grievers everywhere to take charge of their own grief journey. He believes that through the power of vulnerability and resiliency one can repurpose a broken heart and turn loss to legacy by becoming an intentional survivor.

Franklin Cook, MA, CPC, began his career in developing and implementing peer support models of care as a peer helper in addiction recovery in 1981 and in suicide grief support in 1999. He has been a professional in the fields of community-based suicide prevention and postvention (support in the aftermath of suicide) since 2001 and presently speaks, presents, trains, and advocates nationally on behalf of people bereaved by suicide. His knowledge and expertise covers both grief after suicide and grief after other kinds of traumatic death, and he is a Certified Professional Coach and founder of Personal Grief Coaching, a telephone support service for bereaved people after a traumatic loss. Franklin is a longtime member of the Loss Survivor Division of the American Association of Suicidology-and was named AAS Survivor of the Year in 2013. He has been a member of the Consumer-Survivor Subcommittee of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK/8255) since 2005. He maintains the After a Suicide Resource Directory (bit.ly/afterasuicide), and is co-lead of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Survivors of Suicide Loss Task Force, which created community guidelines titled Responding to Grief, Trauma, and Distress After a Suicide (bit.ly/supportpriority). He currently serves on the board of directors of the Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors (bit.ly/hopeall), and he manages a statewide men's suicide prevention project (MassMen.org) for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. He created a full-day suicide prevention training for people working in substance abuse treatment, which he delivers nationally. He blogs at Grief after Suicide (bit.ly/suicidegriefblog) and is a survivor of his father's suicide in 1978 (bit.ly/joecook).

Stephen J. Cozza, MD is a Professor of Psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University where he serves as Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy.. He received his medical degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Cozza served 25 years in the U.S. Army Medical Corps before his retirement in 2006. Under his leadership, the Walter Reed Department of Psychiatry spearheaded the initiative to provide mental health services, support and follow-up to combat-injured service members, their families and their children who receive medical treatment. Dr. Cozza’s academic and research interests have been in the areas of clinical and community response to trauma and the impact of deployment and combat injury, illness and death on military service members and their families. Dr. Cozza is published and has presented on these topics at multiple national and international scientific meetings. Dr. Cozza serves as a scientific advisor to several national organizations that focus on the needs of military children and families.

Dr. Ken Druck has earned accolades as an author, speaker, community leader, executive coach/consultant and master facilitator. A true pioneer in the field of psychology, for which he earned his doctorate, Dr. Druck is the recipient of the prestigious "Distinguished Contribution to Psychology" and "Visionary Leadership" awards. His books, talks and innovative programs on resilience, and his work with countless families after some of our nation's greatest tragedies, including 9-11, Columbine, Katrina, Boston and Sandy Hook, have established him as an international authority on resilience. After the death of his eldest daughter, Jenna, in 1996, Ken honored her life and spirit by founding The Jenna Druck Center. The Center's two highly acclaimed, award-winning programs, Families Helping Families (helping bereaved families) and Spirit of Leadership (a program Jenna created for teen girls at age 16), have directly helped over 7,500 grieving families and 18,000 young women. Ken's pioneering work in executive coaching and organizational effectiveness through Druck Enterprises Inc., have established him as one of the most sought-after coaches and consultants by some of the nation's top CEOs, executive management teams and boards. His clients have included Microsoft, Pfizer, Sempra Energy, The YMCA and San Diego Schools. Ken Druck's breakthrough books like The Secrets Men Keep, How to Talk to Your Kids, Healing Your Life After the Loss of a Loved One and his latest, The Real Rules of Life: Balancing Life's Terms with Your Own have been featured regularly in national media, including regular appearances on CNN and a national PBS Special in 2015. Ken Druck has helped the general public understand how to transform adversity, from day-to-day challenges we all face to horrific tragedies (such as Malaysia Flight 370) into opportunities to become "our better selves." As a keynote speaker, he inspires audiences around the world at organizations like The Harvard School of Public Health, Young Presidents Organization, Million-Dollar Roundtable and countless international conferences. His programs on resilience, self-care, transformation, visionary leadership and most recently, The Courage to Age, have made him a top-tier conference speaker. Dr. Ken Druck's "Small Print of Life" blog, press interviews, social media and news articles are published globally and can be found on kendruck.com. His schedule of appearances and writings can also be found at facebook.com/kendruck.  Druck Enterprises is based in San Diego, CA, USA.

Heidi Horsley, PsyD, LMSW, MS, is a survivor of sibling loss and the Executive Director for the Open to Hope Foundation, www.opentohope.com, an organization committed to helping people find hope after loss. She is a licensed psychologist and social worker and an adjunct professor at Columbia University. Heidi hosts a weekly award-winning cable TV and Internet radio show called “Open to Hope” and has a private practice in New York City. She serves on the National Board of Directors for The Compassionate Friends and is the author of eight books.

Rayanne Hunter is the surviving spouse of Staff Sergeant Wesley Hunter. A yoga enthusiast for 18 years, she officially certified as a yoga instructor in 2011. In addition to teaching yoga and body movement, Rayanne also received specialized training in yoga for post-traumatic stress.

Donna Naslund has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Maryland.  She has fifteen years of experience in Surgical Intensive Care and Emergency Room settings. Donna  has been a  volunteer at Gilchrist Hospice for the past five years. Roles include: End of Life Doula, Monthly Bereavement Calls, Bereavement Support Group and Workshop Facilitator for numerous types of groups. Her personal experiences with loss include: Widowed at the age of twenty-seven, death of a child at birth, and suicide of niece.

Glenna C. Orr has been an educator for over 30 years. She is a Reading Specialist with two master's degrees, has taught school in five states and the Department of Defense School system. She currently serves as a board member for Reading is Fundamental in Northern Virginia. She is renowned for establishing after-school intergenerational program activities between her students and the residents of retirement centers, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Glenna is the Founder and Director of The Kind Kids Inc. The organization is a nonprofit 501(c)3 that instills volunteerism in community activities and promotes literacy for people of all ages. Her books: "Open Mind – Open Hearts, A Journey With The Age;” "Hearts Always Open;” "Memories With The Heart" and "Friendships With The Heart" are books written to complement The Kind Kids, Inc.

Heather Stang is a thanatologist, mindfulness speaker and author of the grief book "Mindfulness & Grief: With Guided Meditations To Calm Your Mind & Restore Your Spirit." Her focus on teaching others to use mindfulness-based techniques to reduce stress, cope with grief, and cultivate personal growth is inspired by her own journey of love, loss and post-traumatic growth. She is best known for using present-moment awareness to relieve suffering, cope with and eventually reengage with life after loss. She has a Master's in Thanatology (death, dying and bereavement expert) from Hood College, which she earned in 2010. She lives on South Mountain overlooking Maryland’s Middletown Valley with her husband and is the founder of the Frederick Meditation Center. Learn more about meditation for grief, read articles and contact Heather at www.mindfulnessandgrief.com.

Paula Stephens has a Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology and currently teaches in the Human Performance & Sports Department at Metro State University in Denver. She is a Certified Wellness Coach and 200-hour RYT Yoga Instructor. She also teaches Yoga for Grief workshops at conferences and other events. Paula is a sought-after inspirational speaker on the topic of personal growth, resilience and grief as well as many health and wellness topics. She has presented at the national level for the American College of Sports Medicine, the Compassionate Friends National Conference and Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. Her authentic, humble and humorous style endear her to all types of audiences. An avid runner, Paula qualified for and ran the Boston Marathon in 2007. She also enjoys mountain biking, skiing, camping and good craft beer. Paula also loves time with her three sons as they encourage her to push the edge of adventure.

Sharon Strouse, MA, ATR-BC, LCPAT is a board certified Art Therapist and licensed clinical professional Art Therapist, author, teacher, facilitator, speaker and survivor. Her world dramatically changed on October 11, 2001 when her seventeen year-old daughter Kristin ended her own life. Sharon's own process of meditation and collage making, in response to the trauma of loss became a template for her work with others. She is a grief and bereavement specialist and national workshop presenter for TAPS. Sharon is co-founder of The Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation (www.krsf.com) a non-profit dedicated to supporting programs that increase awareness of Mental Health through education and the arts. (www.krsf.com) She is author of Artful Grief: A Diary of Healing.(www.artfulgrief.com).

Carol Sweaney continues a legacy of service and survivorship as a facilitator for the “Finding Words For Grief” workshop at the TAPS National Seminar, as an area leader in Blue Star Mothers and other military advocacy organizations, and as a hospice volunteer. She is the surviving spouse of Keith Sweaney, U.S. Marine Corps.

William Wagasy grew up in Missouri. A former player for Notre Dame under Coach Lou Holtz,, he graduated with an accounting degree and a second major in philosophy in 1996. He went on to receive his Juris Doctorate from Pepperdine University in 2000 and his Master’s Degree in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine in 2001. Following the attacks of 9/11, he enlisted in the Navy and became a U.S. Navy SEAL in 2003. He completed four combat tours from 2004 to 2011 to Iraq and Afghanistan. After his time in the Navy, he served as the Director of Veteran's Outreach for the Gary Sinise Foundation for 18 months and continues to be an ambassador for the foundation. Today he is the Vice President of National Sales, National Commercial Services for Commonwealth Land Title Company as well as for Fidelity National Title Group for Home Builder Services.

Wildefire (with Tony David, Kerry Edwards & Lindsay Solonycze) offers a wide variety of music from the big band sounds of the 40s, 50s old-time rock ‘n’ roll sock hop, classic rock, country and American standards. They perform the songs the way they were intended by the original artists, mixing it up for all types of listeners young and old. Visit their website at www.tonyentertains.com for more details.

Kerry Edwards is a native of Salt Lake City. He performed in musical theater productions and has been singing professionally since 1972. Kerry has played with a variety of rock and jazz bands and has a vocal range and diversity that connects him to his audience. His energy and professionalism enable him to perform a variety of materials to keep the evening entertaining.

Tony David was born in Jackson, Tennessee, and has performed all over Colorado and on stage with many highly acclaimed singers and songwriters from Nashville and New York to Hollywood in front of tens of thousands over the last 20 years. He has been an active board member for ten years for the Colorado Celebrity Classic golf tournament to benefit TAPS. Visit their website at www.tonyentertains.com for more details.

Lindsay Solonycze lights up any room with her blue eyes and a smile as big as the New York skyline. Her music and style are magnified by world-class music training in opera and vocal performance. Raised in Arkansas, Lindsay was drawn to all things music and started singing in her church choir at age nine. After graduating high school, she studied vocal performance and opera at the University of Colorado, where she was awarded the Julia Holbeck scholarship. She broadened her musical perspective by completing a study abroad program in Novafeltria, Italy. She is currently working with songwriters in Los Angeles and hopes to continue inspiring listeners and giving back through her music.

Claire Wudowsky - and her charitable organization, Knitters and Crocheters Care, have donated hand-crafted items and taught knitting and crochet at TAPS since 2001. Claire is honored to be included in the TAPS National Survivor Seminar again this year and looks forward to working with the TAPS family.

TAPS Staff Presenters (In Alphabetical Order)

Audri Beugelsdijk came to TAPS as a Navy widow in 1997 after her husband Jason was lost at sea. A Navy veteran herself, she has completed Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Psychology, in addition to advanced training in death, dying and bereavement through the Center for Loss & Life Transition, as well as the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC). She currently serves as the TAPS Survivor Care Team Manager, overseeing a team of 13 survivor professionals in providing peer support and conducting outreach nationally and internationally to bereaved military families. Audri strives to support survivors as a grief support facilitator where she focuses on self-care, empowerment, meaning-making after loss and recognizing symptoms of grief within the core dimensions of wellness.

Brittany Bonin-Bruder, Manager of the Casework Department, has been with TAPS since 2013. Using her experience as a Constituent Advocate of Military and Veteran Affairs with U.S. Senator John McCain, her Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on American Public Policy and Public Administration, and her time at TAPS, Brittany has been the lead in Casework. In her role at TAPS, she and her team of casework advocates work diligently to address a multitude of survivor issues, often acting as an advocate on behalf of the individual and engaging various government agencies including the Department of Defense, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and many more as well as private resources. Brittany is committed to helping surviving families with immediate needs as well as ensuring they receive the benefits and privileges they are entitled to and deserve.

Kim Burditt has been working with TAPS since 2013, when she joined the Survivor Care Team providing outreach to military suicide loss survivors. In her current role as Project Manager, Suicide Postvention Programs, Kim is thrilled to work with the Programs team, providing event planning and on-site support for suicide loss survivors at our Regional seminars and our National Military Survivor Seminar. Kim is also honored to help plan the TAPS National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar each fall. Kim has a BS in Communications and prior to TAPS, was providing older adult suicide prevention trainings around the state of Massachusetts with a local suicide pre-and-postvention agency. After the suicide death of her only sibling, USMC veteran Jon Hoffman in 2010, Kim’s heart is in caring for and walking alongside all loss survivors, especially those touched by suicide.

Diane Ebenal is the surviving spouse of Master Gunnery Sgt. Douglas Ebenal, U.S. Marine Corps. She had previously worked as a Level 1 Bereavement Counselor with Mary Washington Hospice for six years. TAPS is proud to have Diane on staff now as part of our Survivor Helpline team.

Lalaine Estella has been with TAPS for nearly three years. She first came to TAPS as a volunteer at the National Military Survivor Seminar and then came on board to staff the National Military Survivor Helpline before joining the Community Based Care team. She is a surviving daughter of Petty Officer 1st Class Francisco Estella, U.S. Navy. She walks her dog daily, practices yoga a few times a week and enjoys running with Team TAPS. She is a yoga instructor and has recently completed additional training to lead yoga for trauma survivors.

Zaneta M. Gileno, LMSW, CT, began her social work career as a professional in the child welfare system. Her efforts to reunite families and empower parents helped shape her as a practitioner. A graduate of Columbia University School of Social Work, Zaneta now serves as Director of Community Based Care for TAPS. As a grief professional, she offers direct survivor support, ensures the TAPS community of survivors is connected to grief counseling and support groups, and establishes and maintains the network of TAPS own support group model. In addition, she oversees internal professional education as well as TAPS professional development offerings. She is also the liaison for the TAPS Clinical Advisory Board.

Ashlynne Haycock is the Education Services Coordinator for TAPS where she works with hundreds of survivors of military loss to connect them to education benefits and resources to further their goals. She helped facilitate a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between TAPS and the Department of Veterans Affairs that allows TAPS to make it easier for survivors to access their benefits. Ashlynne is the surviving daughter of Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Haycock, who died while training to deploy in 2002, and Senior Airman Nichole Haycock, who died by suicide in 2011. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the American University in 2013.

Erin Jacobson, Director of Survivor Programs, has been with TAPS since 2011 after her fiancé, Army Ranger, Cpl. Jason Kessler was killed in Mosul, Iraq. Prior to joining TAPS, Erin was employed as a counselor for at-risk youth and had a career in marketing, event planning and graphic design. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling and has completed post-baccalaureate studies in Art History and Fine Arts. She is originally from Seattle, Washington, and currently resides in New York City.

Bevin Landrum, MA is the TAPS Magazine Editor. She also serves as the Cyclical Communications Manager where she guides planning, messaging and content for TAPS across multiple platforms for survivor and donor communications. She is the surviving daughter of a World War II and Korea veteran and an Army wife and mother. Her family's commitment to service and sacrifice led her to TAPS in 2015 where she is now honored to help shape the TAPS story in words and images. Bevin has a Masters in Public Relations and has completed Department of the Army Public Affairs Civil Engagement training.

Carol Lane is the surviving mother of Sgt. Bryon Lane who died with two other Marines in a helicopter accident at Camp Lejeune in 2001 while training for night flights. He needed the night training because he had just finished four years with the presidential helicopter squad, which doesn’t fly at night, and he was preparing to deploy on one of the two ships that responded after the 9/11 tragedy. Carol is a retired teacher who works part time in the TAPS Online Community moderating chats, compiling the weekly Saturday Morning Message and monthly Writers’ Group Newsletter.

Don Lipstein , TAPS Peer Mentor Support and Training Coordinator, works with the TAPS Survivor Care Team and the Peer Mentor Program developing relationships with survivors. He helps identify those with Peer Mentor capabilities, and then provides them with training and the tools needed to be successful volunteer supporters. He carefully matches those trained, with newly grieved survivors. Don is passionate about his work, as he has found comfort and healing from TAPS after the suicide of his 23 year old son, Joshua, who proudly served with the US Navy as a Petty Officer in the Riverine Squadron 1. He joined TAPS in July of 2012 after 30 plus years in hospitality management, focused on training and development. He received his Nonprofit Management Certification from The University of Delaware in May of 2012. With TAPS support, he has been publicly advocating for change in the military, focused primarily on mental health. Don is devoting the remainder of his life to speaking out for the prevention of suicide, and to eliminate the stigma of mental illness.

Jenn McCollum-Allen is the TAPS Seminars Manager and has been working for TAPS since the summer of 2014. In addition to the National Seminar, Jenn and the Seminars Team plan and coordinate TAPS Regional Seminars. Jenn is the surviving spouse of Captain Dan McCollum, USMC and, since her husband’s death, has engaged in opportunities to serve the military survivor community. Particularly, she has been a voice for survivors through legislative and advocacy opportunities. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Virginia Tech in Family and Child Development with a concentration in Play Therapy.

Kathy Moakler is the TAPS Director of External Relations and Policy Analysis. In this role, she works with congressional staffers, DOD officials and other military family and veteran organizations to make sure surviving families have the benefits they deserve. With over 20 years experience in the advocacy field, she makes sure your voice and your concerns can be heard by national policymakers.

Gabriel Rao, TAPS Expeditions Project Manager, joined TAPS in August 2013. In his current role, he facilitates the TAPS Expeditions and Mens Programs for military survivors. These programs utilize outdoor experiences to promote healing. Gabriel came to TAPS as a survivor shortly after his family received the dreaded knock on the door. Gabriel's brother, Elijah Rao, was killed in Afghanistan on Dec. 5, 2009. Through his experiences at the TAPS National Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp, and several sibling retreats, he realized his calling was working alongside fellow survivors.

Kim Ruocco is the Chief External Relations Officer for Suicide Prevention and Postvention for TAPS. Kim is an international public speaker who has a unique combination of personal and professional experience, education and training that provides a comprehensive understanding of suicide prevention and postvention. Kim has been instrumental in raising awareness using the voices of military suicide survivors. She developed suicide survivor panels that testified in multiple venues including the DOD/VA suicide prevention task force, the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference and DOD/VA suicide prevention conferences. She assisted in the development of the Department of Defense Suicide prevention Office (DSPO) Postvention Toolkit, and was a reviewer for the current national strategy for postvention. In her role as Director of Postvention programs for TAPS, Ms. Ruocco developed comprehensive, peer-based programs that provided specific care to all those grieving a death by suicide in the military. The most impactful of these services is the TAPS Annual Survivors of Suicide Loss Conference, which offers hope and healing to thousands of adult survivors, and a camp for children grieving a death by suicide. Ms. Ruocco is currently the co-lead on the National Action Alliance Military and Family Task force and an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST) trainer. Kim holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services and Psychology from the University of Massachusetts and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from Boston University. She is also the surviving wife of Marine Corp Maj. John Ruocco, who died by suicide in 2005.

Kat Stanley is currently the TAPS Retreat Team Manager. She first came to TAPS in August 2010 after her older brother, Richard, passed away from brain cancer. He was an active duty Marine. Soon after her loss, TAPS reached out to Kat’s family offering support. In August 2011, her sister-in-law attended a TAPS Widows Retreat in Alaska and told Kat that she "had to attend one, too." Kat attended her first Siblings Retreat in April 2012. The experience and people she met forever changed her life. She joined the TAPS staff in July 2014 and could not be more honored to be part of such a special organization. Knowing what a difference retreats made in her grief journey, she is very passionate about creating safe and healing spaces for survivors.

Dr. Carla Stumpf Patton, EdD, LMHC, NCC, FT, CCTP serves as the Suicide Survivor Services Manager at TAPS. In this position, she provides the outreach and care to families after the traumatic loss of a service member, supports survivors who may be experiencing emotional crisis, and supervises the Suicide Survivor Care Team who provides long-term, peer-based support to surviving families. As a subject matter expert concerning issues surrounding grief, trauma, and/or suicide, she consults with civilian providers and military leaders in providing effective outreach with military personnel, veterans, and military families. Her credentials include a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and a Doctorate of Education as a Counseling Psychologist, with dissertation research on military families bereaved by suicide. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Thanatologist, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional and counseling educator in higher academia. Carla is the surviving spouse of Marine Corps Drill Instructor Sgt. Richard Stumpf who died by suicide in 1994.

Craig Wilhelm graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1993 and served in various command and leadership roles with the U.S. Army. Craig left the Army at the rank of major in 2006, after completing a successful command assignment with F/159th Aviation Regiment in Iraq and Afghanistan. Craig has a Masters of Business Administration from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Craig most recently was Vice President, Business Development for RRT Global Ltd. and President and part-owner of RRT American Services. Craig is the Founder and Board President of the Windy25 Memorial Fund, a nonprofit organization honoring the memory and sacrifice of his unit’s five crewmembers and the 13 passengers of Windy25 (call-sign of the aircraft) who gave their lives in combat in Afghanistan.  Craig joined TAPS in February 2016 to help continue to build the Team TAPS sports and endurance program. Craig currently resides in Bend, Oregon, and enjoys traveling, running, biking, swimming and snow skiing.

Doug Windley works with families who lost their loved ones serving in the Armed Forces. He believes in “refuge for movement” through the disciplines of listening, respect and hospitality. He understands that providing sanctuary and steps toward healing are critical components toward embracing the next day or just taking that next breath. Doug enjoys discussions on faith, grief and God when he is invited to do so. In addition to working with TAPS, Doug serves as a Chaplain in the Army National Guard and has served in El Salvador, Kuwait, Qatar and Afghanistan. He graduated from Western University with a Bachelor's in Business Administration. He received his Master's in Theological Studies and Masters of Divinity in Biblical Studies from Carolina Graduate School of Theology and Clinical Pastoral Education from the Durham VA Hospital. Doug resides in North Carolina with his wife and three children and enjoys speaking at events and churches, sharing his passion for his faith, his love for military servicemembers and veterans and his heart for families of the fallen.

Friday, May 27, 2016

  • Mindful Meditation Walk ~ 1:30 p.m.
    In grief it is easy to become overwhelmed by the challenge of concentration and being present in the moment. During this session you are invited to learn simple techniques to use your senses, nature and your breath to bring calmness and awareness in your day-to-day life. These tools can help to bring grounding in moments that we feel overcome by the burden of emotion. Although this session will not contain strenuous activity, we will be venturing outside so please bring comfortable shoes and clothing appropriate for the outdoors.

  • Pentagon VIP Tour ~ 4:30 p.m.
    This special VIP tour is offered after hours for our TAPS families. You will get to tour the building that houses all our Nation’s most important defense systems. You will be guided through the building learning the history of the Pentagon, getting to see how it looked in its early years, while walking the halls of some of the U.S’s greatest military leaders.
    Dress:Dress casually, and wear comfortable shoes. Due to building security, no weapons or large bags are allowed, and no food or drink is allowed during the tour. *Note - this is a walking tour for 1.5 miles. We can accommodate those with canes, walkers, and wheelchairs, but we will need to know prior to the event so the Pentagon can provide any special services for the tour.
    Dinner: Served on buses
    Security Screening: 4:30 p.m. Depart: 5:30 p.m., Return: upon conclusion of the tour. We estimate arrival back at the hotel at 9:00 p.m.
    Special note: Personal items will not be permitted to leave on the bus.
  • Pentagon Experience ~ 4:30 p.m.
    This amazing and exclusive to TAPS families only festival-style open house will honor your family in a relaxed, interactive experience including activities for all who attend. Each branch of the service will be represented and this fun evening is sure to be a treasured memory of your 2016 National Military Survivor Seminar trip!
    Dress: Dress casually, and wear comfortable shoes. Due to building security, no weapons or large bags are allowed, and no food or drink is allowed during the tour.
    Dinner: Served on buses
    Security Screening: 5:00 p.m. Depart: 5:30 p.m., Return: upon conclusion of the tour. We estimate arrival back at the hotel at 9:00 p.m.
    Special note: Personal items will not be permitted to leave on the bus.
  • An Evening with the Stars at Madame Tussauds ~- 5:30 p.m.
    Madame Tussauds combines the glamour and glitter of the world’s most famous faces with an unforgettable, interactive experience. Journey through America’s history as your wind your way through several iconic exhibits. Participate in a scavenger hunt to add additional fun and excitement to this experiences. As a guest of TAPS, you will enjoy a private room at the end of the tour, with a pizza party to sweeten the deal. Survivors will be able to tour the wax museum on their own. The museum will remain open to outside guest, but the pizza party will be in a location within the museum reserved just for our families.
    Special note: Personal items will not be permitted to be left on the bus.

     
  • Potomac River Cruise ~ 5:45 p.m.
    You will have the opportunity to see the city like no other. On this river cruise, you will get to see amazing historical sights from the waters of the famous Potomac river.
    Survivors will mingle amongst themselves while the captain highlights several sites along the tour. Sites like: the Kennedy Center, the Lincoln Memorial, The Jefferson Memorial, and so much more.
    Dress: Wear comfortable clothing, and bring layers as it can get a little chilly on the water.
    Special note: Personal items will not be permitted to be left on the bus.

  • Washington Nationals Baseball Game ~ 5:45 p.m.
    This event is perfect for those sports enthusiasts who want to see the Washington Nationals play the St. Louis Cardinals. Come prepared to root for the home team, and don’t forget the weather could get a little wet, or a little cold, so wear/bring appropriate attire.
    Special note: Personal items will not be permitted to be left on the bus.

  • Moonlight Bus Tour of DC -6:30 p.m.
    On this bus tour of Washington DC, led by expert guides, you will learn about the amazing monuments and memorial located in our Nation's capital. Sights will include the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the WWII Memorial, the White House, the Iwo Jima Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial.
    Dress: Bring your cameras to capture the moments as you see and learn all about Our Nation’s Capital and its cherished architecture.

  • Bus and Walking Tour of DC ~ 6:30 p.m.
    On this bus tour of Washington DC, led by expert guides, you will learn about the amazing monuments and memorials located in our Nation's capital. Sights and walking opportunities will include the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Wall, The Korean War Memorial, the Washington Monument, the WWII Memorial, and the White House.
    Dress: Bring your cameras, and wear comfortable shoes as you walk among our Nation’s most cherished and sacred places.

     
  • The United States Marine Corps Evening Parade ~ 6:30 p.m.
    A one hour and fifteen minute performance of music and precision marching, the Evening Parade features "The President's Own" United States Marine Band, "The Commandant's Own" The United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, the Marine Corps Color Guard, the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, Ceremonial Marchers, and LCpl. Chesty XIII, the official mascot of Marine Barracks Washington. The Evening Parade, held every Friday evening during the summer, has become a universal symbol of the professionalism, discipline, and Esprit de Corps of the United States Marines.
    Dress: Due to high security, no weapons of any kind are allowed within the Barracks premises. No food or beverages are permitted with the exception of water and baby food/bottles. Dress however you’d like, and remember to prepare to be outdoors, whether that means rain ponchos, sweaters and blankets or sunscreen
    Return: upon conclusion of the Parade – this may be as late as 10:30 p.m. Your bus captain will give you specific instructions about where to board the bus following the event.
    Special note: Personal items will not be permitted to be left on the bus.
    We must arrive early to receive our seating and wait for the parade to begin. As entertainment in this interim, the Marine Corps members will provide a brief history of the Marine Corps Barracks, the Band, and Drum and Bugle Corps.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

  • Sun Salutations Yoga ~ 7:00am - 8:00am
    Get ready to face your day with a gentle yoga practice that will awaken your mind, open your heart and get your body moving. We will use our breath to ease into simple stretches and poses. No yoga experience required. You don't even have to be fully awake to participate! Come join and breathe with us, and together we will rise and shine. Mats provided.
  • Get outdoors with the TAPS Inner Warrior Program ~ 7:00am - 8:00am  Get a jumpstart on your personal health and wellness. Join your fellow Inner Warriors and get outdoors for a morning meet-up as we go along the Mount Vernon trail for 30 minutes of running or walking. Not only will you have the opportunity to work in a morning wellness activity, but we will share stories with other survivors as we strive to be stronger each day. We encourage everyone of all fitness levels to participate.

  • Saturday's Grand Banquet ~ 6:00 - 9:00 p.m., Arlington Ballroom
    This will be a TAPS Family Celebration honoring our connections and our journeys. We will have a red carpet entrance, special star speakers and entertainment.
    Dress: We want you to enjoy a special evening so please wear what is most comfortable to you.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

  • Sun Salutations Yoga ~ 7:00am - 8:00am
    Get ready to face your day with a gentle yoga practice that will awaken your mind, open your heart and get your body moving. We will use our breath to ease into simple stretches and poses. No yoga experience required. You don't even have to be fully awake to participate! Come join and breathe with us, and together we will rise and shine. Mats provided.
  • Get outdoors with the TAPS Inner Warrior Program ~ 7:00am - 8:00am  Get a jumpstart on your personal health and wellness. Join your fellow Inner Warriors and get outdoors for a morning meet-up as we go along the Mount Vernon trail for 30 minutes of running or walking. Not only will you have the opportunity to work in a morning wellness activity, but we will share stories with other survivors as we strive to be stronger each day. We encourage everyone of all fitness levels to participate.

  • A Quiet Time for Reflection and Response ~ 8:30am - 10:00am
    Join fellow survivors in a quiet time of reflection and response where you can quietly meditate on your favorite biblical verse, poem and/or sacred writings of your faith that provide you with hope and encouragement to move forward. A Protestant devotional message will be offered at the close of this session for those who wish to stay and fellowship. Prayer will be available upon request. This session will be led by Chaplain Doug Windley, N.C. Army National Guard.

  • Yoga for Stress and Anxiety with Rayanne ~ 8:30am - 10:00am and 3:00pm - 4:00pm
    Trauma and long term stress and anxiety activate the stress response causing chaos in your body. In using yoga you can increase the relaxation response by encouraging a calm breath, reducing muscle tension, creating body awareness, and promoting sound sleep. Allowing you to discover and reverse long term consequences of stress, anxiety, and trauma. Yoga and mindfulness practices can help you to better understand, make peace with, manage, and release emotional triggers and feelings. Teaching you to stay present with intention, which can relieve you from worrying about the future or the past. All of this transfers off the mat, bringing fresh awareness into your everyday experience.

  • Washington Nationals Baseball Game ~ 12:30 p.m.
    This event is perfect for those sports enthusiasts who want to see the Washington Nationals play the St. Louis Cardinals.
    Come prepared to root for the home team, and don’t forget the weather could get a little wet, or a little cold, so wear/bring appropriate attire.
    If you have children in the Good Grief Camp, please know you will not be back to the hotel in time to pick up your child from camp.
    Special note: Personal items will not be permitted to be left on the bus.

  • National Memorial Day Choral Festival ~ 2:00 p.m.
    Music Celebrations is pleased to be associated with a joint venture by the American Veterans Center and Music Celebrations International to attract greater attention to the true meaning of the Memorial Day. During this performance, we remember our heroes through song in our Nation's Capital. Choirs from across the United States will join in this commemoration in the Concert Hall of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
    Special notes: If you have children in the Good Grief Camp, please know you will not be back to the hotel in time to pick up your child from camp. Personal items will not be permitted to be left on the bus.

  • TAPS Family BBQ - with Entertainment by Wildefire. Picnic Style BBQ ~ 5:00pm
    This will be an evening with our entire TAPS Family! Thematically based on the traditional backyard BBQ’s our nation uses to connect and reflect with close family and friends, we will enjoy a meal from Mission BBQ and additional entertainment. This evening is sure to bring smiles and laughter to all!
    We will NOT be providing transportation to the PBS hosted Memorial Day Concert on the Capitol. We will also NOT be broadcasting the event at the hotel. If you would like to attend this event, maps to get there may be found through the hotel’s concierge.

Monday, Memorial Day, May 30, 2016

  • Sun Salutations Yoga ~ 7:00am - 8:00am
    Get ready to face your day with a gentle yoga practice that will awaken your mind, open your heart and get your body moving. We will use our breath to ease into simple stretches and poses. No yoga experience required. You don't even have to be fully awake to participate! Come join and breathe with us, and together we will rise and shine. Mats provided.

  • Arlington National Cemetery, Memorial Day Service ~ 7:15 a.m. - 2 p.m.
    The annual Memorial Day tribute is one of the only three ceremonies open to the public each year at Arlington National Cemetery. A concert preludes the Wreath Laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at 10:30 a.m. by President Barack Obama. This somber and powerful event is followed by the remembrance ceremony at 11:00 a.m., affording us the opportunity to honor the service and sacrifice of our loved ones. There will be a chance for you to watch the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier before the ceremony.
    Dress: You can wear whatever is most comfortable to you, whether that be your Sunday best or your TAPS shirt! Please remember, though, that we will be sitting outside for the duration of the event. Please bring sunscreen and dress for the weather. TAPS will provide paddle fans and water for you, as well as bus transportation to and from the ceremony.
    Buses load: 6:45 a.m., Depart: 7:15 a.m., Return: between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Your bus captain will give you specific instructions about where to meet the bus following the ceremonies at Arlington.
    Special note: Personal items will not be permitted to be left on the bus. Attendees will be required to pass through a security checkpoint to gain access to the ceremony. Prohibited items include: large bags or backpacks, firearms and weapons of any type, laser pointers, aerosol containers, soda cans, umbrellas, coolers, picnic baskets, tripods, lighters, personal protection sprays, and insulated beverage containers.

  • National Memorial Day Parade ~ 12:15 - 5 p.m.
    The National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, DC is a flag-waving event with patriotic marches and floats. The Parade is sponsored by the WWII Veterans Committee and is an annual tradition for Americans to come together to honor those who have sacrificed so much in service to our country. You will be able to see some of your own TAPS family riding the float in the parade, and others walking alongside it as a tribute to the path that we’re walking together. Spend this sacred afternoon in celebrating the lives of our heroes in the company of a small group of TAPS loved ones.
    Dress: Wear your TAPS t-shirt and comfortable shoes. Buses will be available to get you to and from the parade. Dress for the weather, since we’ll be outside, and don’t forget sunscreen! We will have water on the buses, but we encourage you to bring your TAPS water bottles.
    Your bus captain will give you specific details about where the bus will be waiting at the venue.
    Special note: Personal items will not be permitted to be left on the bus.

Offsite Adventures

How to sign-up for an adventure: Offsite Adventures are open to everyone. For those interested, pre-registration information will be available in our final newsletter sent in May. We ask that everyone sign up for only one offsite adventure. If space is still available, there will also be opportunity to register at check-in Thursday, May 26th at the Offsite Adventures table!

Saturday, May 28

  • Hike ~ Reflective low intensity 3 mile hike through Rock Creek Park ~ 9am - 12:15pm
    “Go Outside: Get Lost and Find Yourself”
    Take a breath of fresh air and walk with us on this guided journey through nature and grief- where both life and death exist beautifully together.

  • Equine Assisted Learning ~ 9am - 4pm
    “Befriending the Giant: Gaining Confidence to Overcome Fears and Build Healthy Relationships”
    A focused, interactive equine experience in which emotions can be felt and processed as they happen in a fun and safe setting. Led by qualified mental health professionals. Horses will not be ridden.

  • Kayaking ~ Kayak on the Potomac River ~ 1:30pm - 4:45pm
    “Lifeboat: Strength, Persistence & Teamwork on the Water”
    Don’t let the tides of grief decide where you are going. Join us as we work together to move forward with real intent down the river of hope and healing.

  • National Portrait Gallery ~ 1:30pm - 4:45pm
    "Being Seen: Perceptions on Self and Grief"
    Exploring our masks, our game faces and what’s underneath as we explore the National Portrait Gallery together.

Sunday, May 29

  • Trapeze School of New York ~ 7:30am - 10:30am; 9:45am - 12:30pm
    "This Could be the Day that You Fly"
    Leave your cares behind and take healing to new heights. Lean on the literal and metaphorical support of your peers as you reach outside your comfort zone and discover where life begins again.

  • Indoor Rock Climbing at Sportrock Alexandria ~ 1:00pm - 3:30pm
    "Finding a Foothold, Reaching Out"
    Explore strength from within, your own "help on the ground," and the relationships between choices and meaningful movement while rock climbing

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