Letters From TAPS: From Survivor Seminar Programs

Author: Tina Saari

Tina SaariDear TAPS Family,

Summertime! School’s out, but that doesn’t mean that grief disappears. For TAPS children, summertime can be even harder than school time. Now that the kiddos are at home all day, they may slowly start slipping into the summertime blues after their first few weeks of freedom, complete with “I’m bored and there’s nothing to do.” A mom or dad or brother or sister has died while serving in the Armed Forces, so a significant person is no longer here to play catch, make popsicles, or plan a well-earned vacation. And the remaining parent has the entire weight of raising the children all day every day, without a break.  

If your children have found help, hope, and healing in our national and regional Good Grief Camps, why not send them to one of our three USO/TAPS Good Grief Camp Outs this summer? If they just can't get enough of TAPS, and especially if they weren’t able to attend the 18th Annual TAPS National Good Grief Camp over Memorial Day weekend, we would love to see them this summer!

We are excited to partner with the USO again this year to bring you several Regional Survivor Seminars and Good Grief Camps across the country as well as three different outdoor overnight camps. The USO/TAPS overnight camps are designed specifically for children, between the ages of 6 and 18, who have lost a parent or sibling serving in the Armed Forces. This 3 day, 2 night camp experience is filled with traditional and military themed camp activities, in addition to grief education and emotional support. All activities are led by an experienced and trained grief facilitator. In addition, each child is matched with a trained military mentor from the area.

There is something for everyone, whether your children are big campers and very tuned in to the great outdoors or a little more like me and consider a hotel stay to be “camping.” Lodging will be provided in cabins complete with bunk beds, electricity, and indoor plumbing (thankfully).

Campers will find comfort in knowing that there are other children who understand what they are feeling and experiencing. We also provide an opportunity to memorialize each camper’s loved one. The children learn coping skills and develop friendships and support systems that will last long after they have returned home.

There is no charge for the camps; all lodging and meals will be provided but transportation to and from camp is your responsibility. Please go to our calendar of events page, select a camp and register as soon as possible as we can only accommodate 50 campers, and space will fill up fast. This summer we will be coming to the Fort Bragg/Camp Lejeune, North Carolina area, Fort Hood, Texas, and the Camp Pendleton/San Diego, California area.

We hope your children can join us for a weekend of fun, fishing, swimming, hay rides, military static displays, campfires and s’mores, and so much more!

By Tina Saari, Director of Survivor Seminar Programs and Military Installations Support