Young Survivors Find Hope and Friendship
At TAPS, we want every child who has lost a fallen hero to know they don't have to grow up alone. Their TAPS family is always here for them, to offer comfort during the hard times and to celebrate life's happy moments. Led by experts in the fields of child development, mental health and education, TAPS Youth Programs provide safe spaces for exploring grief and embracing healing.
In 2016, Youth Programs welcomed 1,600 TAPS kiddos at 11 Good Grief Camps, two Good Grief Campouts and two family retreats. These events took place all across the country from California to Texas to South Carolina. More than 1,400 military mentors paired with our children to let them know the military hasn't forgotten their fallen heroes.
At our Good Grief Camps, Campouts and family retreats, TAPS kids are able to share, heal and have fun in a loving, supportive environment. Our living legacies learn how to honor and remember their loved ones. Lasting friendships are made among kids who have experienced the same loss.
"Good Grief Camp is a beautiful gift for these children," said one mom about her child's experience at Good Grief Camp. "The entire atmosphere teaches love and compassion and offers parents and other adults the opportunity to let go and 'be.' Already, the children are seeing and making lifelong friendships."
In 2017, we'll be expanding our programming and offering events for the 18- to 22-year-old crowd with our new Young Adult programming. We are also excited to begin offering smaller, overnight experiences for our kids throughout the country in unique venues - think zoos, aquariums and Navy ships! We are also working to develop the National Military Mentor Program to pair TAPS families with mentors whether or not they attend an event.
All of of us the Youth Program team are so grateful to accompany the TAPS youth on their journey. We look forward to even more opportunities to work with the TAPS youth to remember their heroes and tell their stories in 2017!