You are Warmly Welcome to Join Us on Memorial Day Weekend 2019
Just as the stars brighten the night, our TAPS family brings light into the darkness of grief. At the 25th Annual TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp, we’ll focus on the light of the love we have shared and continue to share. We’ll look more deeply into our own processes, reflect on our strengths, learn how we can give and accept support, and contemplate how we’ll approach the next part of our grief journeys.
Knowing the relief of being understood, we’ll look to each other with empathy and open hearts. Our programming will encourage meaningful connections, cultivate strength for exploring emotions and resources, and lift your spirits.
Photo: Noreen Doloughty
Photo: TAPS Archives
PLAN TO BE WITH TAPS OVER MEMORIAL DAY
Registration for the event is online. For this year only, in celebration of 25 years of care, the registration fee for all attendees is $25 (adult or child).
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE
Plan to arrive Thursday for early registration or early Friday morning for our opening sessions. Friday morning check-in will be available, but we want you to have as much time with your TAPS family as possible before our opening session and keynote address. Our event concludes Monday afternoon after attending the National Memorial Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery or the National Memorial Day Parade.
YOUR HOME FOR MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
All events and workshops for the 25th Annual TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp take place in, or depart from, the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. The closest airport is Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA), and free shuttles to the hotel are available.
To make your hotel reservation, visit the seminar lodging page to get our special conference rate of $145 per night. The last day you can register for the seminar and reserve a room at this guaranteed rate is Friday, April 26, 2019.
A limited number of scholarships are available for those who have financial need. Check out the scholarship information page or call TAPS at 800-959-TAPS (8277) for details.
PEER MENTOR TRAINING
We welcome those who are at least 18 months beyond their own loss to become a TAPS Peer Mentor. TAPS provides a full day of instruction to prepare you, and ongoing guidance to support you as you offer your care and experience to a newly bereaved survivor. If you are interested, please register for the Peer Mentor Training as a part of general registration.
NEW TO TAPS
Whether your loss is recent or you are new to TAPS, you will be welcomed with open arms to our national event. A special orientation will be available on Friday morning to provide an overview of the seminar as well as information on other newcomer groups that will meet throughout the weekend. TAPS staff and Peer Mentors will be on hand to guide you and surround you with the loving care of your new TAPS family.
Even if you’re some years out from your loss, prioritizing these “first-timer” sessions will help you feel grounded and connected. You’ll have a chance to meet others who have just found their way to TAPS and start to pick out familiar faces. You’ll make new friends and meet staff who will be present for you during the weekend.
Returning survivors are able to take advantage of new programming options as well as some of our important traditional workshops, all tailored to the various stages of the grief journey. In addition to familiar topics such as understanding complicated grief and coping with family dynamics, we will introduce you to new speakers and workshops. As grief changes, so do our perspectives. We also encourage you to experience familiar speakers and workshop leaders from changing vantage points — what didn’t speak to you one year might resonate the next.
TAPS Good Grief Camp for young survivors is America’s premier program for children and teens whose parent or sibling has died in military service. In our unique model, children are paired with trained mentors who support them as they explore their feelings, learn coping skills, and have fun in a place where they feel connected with other children who experienced a similar loss. Because each developmental stage presents new perspectives and different challenges, young survivors (ages 4 to 19) are encouraged to attend. The very youngest members of our TAPS family (0-3 years) will be cared for by loving childcare professionals.
Photo: TAPS Archives
Photo: Catherine Carbullido
To fill the gap between Good Grief Camp and adult programming, TAPS has developed an insightful, fun and comforting curriculum for young adults between 18 and 25 years old. Young adults will come together to strengthen bonds, share experiences, and learn ways to develop sustainable, balanced lifestyles all while honoring their heroes.
Small sharing groups offer gentle, supportive discussions. Some groups are topic based, while others are reserved for specific relationships. Regardless of the topic or structure, these sessions are led by trained facilitators. The guiding principles for sharing groups include receptive sharing, listening and respectful peer support.
Workshops designed by men, for men provide an opportunity to come together to explore the unique challenges of grieving and supporting when there isn’t an easy fix.
As time goes on, the effects of grief can change. We often find that we have not only lost our loved ones; we may also have lost our sense of self. In this three-part workshop series designed for surviving women at least two years out from loss, we will use a variety of activities and discussion tools to explore the lessons of the past, identify where we are in the present, and step forward into the future with intention. Over the course of the Seminar, a sisterhood will emerge, and we will leave Memorial Day weekend more empowered to live lives of meaning and joy.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
We are excited to bring you an expanded suite of programming designed to address how grief and emotional stress affect body and mind. Deep inside each of us is our Inner Warrior — the voice that urges us to keep trying, the fighter that chooses to get stronger every day. The TAPS Health and Wellness staff, collaborating with other experts in the field, invites you to workshops designed to help you resolve pain, build confidence, and lean into the difference between “good tired” and “grief tired.”
REFLECTIONS AND CREATIVE EXPRESSION
If grief, trauma, or exhaustion seems to have wrung everything from you, you’re not alone. Numbness, detachment and fear for the future can feel overwhelming in early grief and persistent or surprising when we’re further along. It’s not uncommon to feel a void — a spiritual or emotional blank space. Yet, there are many powerful ways to honor this emptiness through art, writing, music, meditation and yoga (to name a few). At our national seminar, these sessions help you find creative release, guide you on your journey, and soothe your spirit.
Special events in Washington, D.C., and Arlington offer enriched ways to experience military traditions, remembrance ceremonies, musical and sporting events against the landscape of the nation’s capital. Friday night special events include the Marine Corps Evening Parade, Nationals Baseball Game, and Moonlight Monuments Tour, as well as memorable opportunities closer to the hotel. On Monday, TAPS families are guests of honor at the National Memorial Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery, and a limited number of slots are available for those who want to walk in the National Memorial Day Parade. Space for many of these activities is limited, so register early.
The Survivor Sanctuary, set aside as a quiet place for adults, is a retreat for sitting, reflecting, and processing — a space to take a break and draw apart for a time to renew your spirit and find balance.