TAPS Good Grief Camp Mentors
Besides the obstacle courses, marshmallow crafts, face painting and endless football throwing, the hallmark of Good Grief Camp is our military mentor volunteer program — which is also one of the most meaningful volunteer opportunities we offer at TAPS.
During campouts, hiking adventures, regional seminars and special events, TAPS Youth Programs strives to provide one-on-one mentoring for bereaved military children and young adults. That’s where you come in.
It can be a little intimidating to think about “mentoring a grieving child,” and you’ll get training before zero hour. But really, you’re going to be a listening ear and a buddy to a brave surviving military child. There are games, ziplines, dance-offs, limbo contests, special events and sometimes even nap time. Most importantly, you keep the battlefield promise by showing up for our youngest survivors.
Good Grief Camp Mentor Registration
To become a TAPS Good Grief Camp Mentor, visit our calendar of events to find upcoming TAPS Good Grief Camps and Campouts. Click on the event you’re interested in to register as a mentor volunteer.
Once registered, you’ll be required to attend TAPS Good Grief Camp Mentor training prior to the camp. TAPS also provides an optional online Good Grief Camp training course; this course reinforces but does not replace the required in-person training. The TAPS Good Grief Camp Mentor volunteer training is designed to help you navigate being a mentor to a surviving military child and ensure you and your buddy have the best experience possible.
Good Grief Camp Mentor Requirements
Each Good Grief Camp Mentor must:
- Currently serve in the military (active/guard/reserve status), be retired from the military, or be a OIF/OEF era veteran.
- Be at least 20 years old (exceptions to age requirement for military personnel and teen survivors are considered)
- Complete and pass a security background check
- Attend the required training prior to the start of the event
- Be on time and ready to participate in all Good Grief Camp scheduled events and functions throughout the event
- Be willing to be a "big brother" or "big sister" to a child who has lost a loved one in the military
- Be present and companion a child while also being cognizant of your own grief and loss of a military friend or family member
- Show empathy toward children and surviving families as they are grieving
- Use good judgment when assessing safety for children
- Set and enforce good boundaries with your mentee
- Create a safe place and an environment of trust and acceptance for your mentee
- Identify your mentee’s allergies and/or special needs from the intake form
- Not fraternize with fellow mentors, mentees, TAPS staff or adult survivors during the event. Your focus should be on your mentee and his or her well-being.
- Intervene when necessary and keep group leaders informed if there are concerns
- Honor time constraints
- Follow directions from group leaders and TAPS staff
- Not partake in alcohol during Good Grief Camp nor let it affect your role as a mentor each day
- Demonstrate good moral and responsible conduct around all children. You should not use profanity, tell “drinking" stories” or make inappropriate comments.
- Be willing to withhold any personal political views as this may complicate the grieving process for children. No anti-war comments will be tolerated.
- Be willing to continue the mentor role throughout the rest of the year for the child’s birthday, special events or holidays
For questions about becoming a Good Grief Camp mentor, call 800-959-TAPS (8277) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.