TAPS Family Campouts: Everything You Need to Know
Perhaps you see the word “camp” and think of sleeping outdoors in tents, collecting water from a stream, or cooking over an open flame.
We would like to invite you to rethink that image. TAPS Family Campouts include many wonderful features, including air-conditioned cabins, home-cooked meals, and hot showers.
Family Campouts offer an opportunity for you and your family to find comfort and support while surrounded by the healing power of nature. At these events, your family can step away from the stresses of daily life and learn about your individual grief journey and how to grieve as a family with the tools we provide for the path ahead.
TAPS Family Campouts are intended for children, teens, and young adults who have experienced the death of a parent or sibling. Children can attend camp accompanied by up to two primary caregivers, which can include a guardian, grandparent, or older sibling up to and including age 25.
Each day at camp includes separate programming for children and adults. Volunteer group leaders and military mentors lead children through an age-appropriate and grief-related curriculum while adults participate in their own programming. For adult siblings, there is a young adults group.
The days at a TAPS Family Campout are also filled with outdoor and indoor activities for the whole family. We explore nature, practice relationship building, and show support for one other while intentionally remembering our loved one through rituals. Camp activities, like rope courses, swimming, and nature walks, provide the backdrop for family time and group time. Survivors learn coping skills, communication skills, and ways to enrich the family unit.
Since camp activities are designed for people of all ages, advance physical training or exemplary outdoor skills are not required. Activities are designed to complement what was learned within the camp’s groups. If a family nature walk will take place in the afternoon, for example, group leaders may spend the morning engaging their group in an age-appropriate activity about how family relationships are different after the death of their loved one and exploring ways to constructively contribute within their family unit as everyone works together to find a new normal.
For survivors who are younger than age 6, onsite childcare is available. While childcare operates when campers are in groups and during the day’s activities, the whole family comes together for meals and special times to honor and remember our loved ones.
This year, TAPS is offering three Family Campouts: in Bolivar, Tennessee, from July 30 to August 2; Bandera, Texas, from August 31-September 2; and Bainbridge, Washington, from November 16-19. Join us!