TAPS Legacy and Military Mentors

During campouts, hiking adventures, regional seminars, and special events, TAPS Youth Programs strives to provide one-on-one mentoring for bereaved military children and teens through the legacy and military mentor program. That’s where you come in.

A military mentor is someone who currently serves in the military or is a veteran and can be a caring companion and a reminder to TAPS kids that the military still cares for them. A legacy mentor is a military survivor who has graduated from Good Grief Camp and is ready to support younger survivors who will follow in their path.

As a mentor, you'll be a buddy to a brave child throughout the event as they share and connect with other surviving kids and learn how to honor their loved ones. You may do art projects and play silly games. You may throw footballs and cheer them on in relays. You'll definitely create lasting memories and feel pride in yourself for the work you've done.

By volunteering as a legacy or military mentor, you can be a source of hope for a TAPS child. 

 

 

Legacy and Military Mentor Registration

To register as a legacy or military mentor, create a mentor account and complete a background check form. Once your background check is approved, you can log into your account to register to volunteer at upcoming camps. You can also visit our calendar of events to find an upcoming event to volunteer at. Select the event you're interested in, and then click on the registration link at the top of the page.

Once registered, you’ll be required to attend a mentor volunteer training prior to the camp. TAPS also provides an optional online Good Grief Camp training course; this course reinforces but doesn't replace the required in-person training. The 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. 

Legacy and Military Mentor Requirements

To become a mentor, you must: 

  • Currently serve in the military, be retired from the military, be an OIF/OEF-era veteran OR be a military survivor who has graduated from Good Grief Camp
  • 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
  • If applying as a legacy mentor, submit an essay and provide two previous group leaders as references
  • Attend the required training prior to the event at which you're volunteering
  • Be on time and ready to participate in all camp activities throughout the event
  • Be willing to be a buddy and companion to a child who has lost a loved one in the military
  • Be present 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're 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 special needs and/or allergies 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 the event nor let it affect your role as a mentor each day
  • Demonstrate good moral and responsible conduct around all children. You shouldn't 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 legacy and military mentor, call 800-959-TAPS (8277) or email mentors@taps.org.