Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Thank you for your interest in the 22nd Annual T*A*P*S National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp for Young Survivors! We hope the following will assist you as you prepare to join us.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

SURVIVORS: If you are grieving the death of a loved one in the military, whether a family member, friend or fellow service member, you are invited and encouraged to attend TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar. You will meet and connect with other survivors who are also facing similar loss and discover you are not alone. You will be provided opportunities to attend workshops designed to help you cope with life after loss.

CAREGIVERS: TAPS offers the most current information and instruction for professionals working with military survivors. This seminar is essential for chaplains, casualty/mortuary staff, family support, commanders and their spouses, medical and mental health professionals, funeral directors and therapists.

CHILDREN: The TAPS Good Grief Camp is America's first established program for children who have lost a parent, sibling or very close loved one in military service. Our youth have a chance to share and learn coping skills in a fun and supportive environment. Managed by some of America's finest adolescent grief and trauma experts, the young survivors forge lasting friendships with other young survivors and military mentors.

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WHEN DOES THE EVENT TAKE PLACE?
The 22nd Annual TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp will take place from Friday, May 27 - Monday, May 30, 2016.  Early Check in begins on Thursday evening and the conclusion occurs on Monday following the Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Day ceremonies and the National Memorial Day Parade.

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LOCATION?
All workshops and events for adults take place in, or depart from, the Crystal Gateway Marriott at 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Virginia.

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HOW DO I SIGN UP TO ATTEND?
From our home page, click on the "2016 National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp" link for general information, registration and hotel reservations. The link to register can be found on the home page in the red and gold box to the right labeled, Seminar and Camp.

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FEES
The registration fee of $195.00 per adult assists TAPS in covering the cost of selected meals, workshops, materials and transportation to all off-site events during the four-day seminar. The registration fee of $75 for children attending Good Grief Camp assists with the cost of meals, transportation and other camp materials.  In addition, the $75.00 assists in providing daycare services for our youngest survivors.

Registration fees are refundable until April 26, 2016 by 5:00 pm Eastern.

Note: A limited number of scholarships are available if you are facing financial challenges. See the fees section for more information about how to apply for a scholarship or call TAPS at 800-959-8277. 

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TRAVEL
You should arrive on or before 10:30 am Friday, May 27 for attendance at our Opening Session.  If you have a child attending the Good Grief Camp, note that it begins also begins at 9:00 am Friday. Departures should be scheduled after 3:00 pm on Monday, May 30, to allow for our return from Arlington National Cemetery. If you choose to attend the National Memorial Day Parade, departures should be scheduled on Tuesday morning, May 31.

  • If you are flying in, please arrange your travels to arrive in the DCA Reagan National Airport, where a shuttle from Crystal Gateway Marriott will pick you up and bring you to the hotel.  To secure a shuttle, please make arrangements with Crystal Gateway Marriott at 703-920-3230.  Dulles (IAD) and Baltimore (BWI) airports DO NOT have shuttle service to the hotel. 
  • If you are planning on driving to the event, parking is available for a fee of $13 hourly or $27 daily and valet parking is $37 daily.  Clearance for the garage is a height of 6'3".
  • If you are travelling with Hero Miles, please see our Flights page, accessible through the homepage menu.

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WHAT EVENTS WILL THERE BE DURING THE WEEKEND SEMINAR?

Friday Night Activities:

  • Pentagon VIP Tour, The Pentagon Experience, An Evening with the Stars at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, Evening Tour of Washington D.C., Walking Monuments Tour, United States Marine Corps Evening Parade at 8th & I, TAPS Spa Experience at the Marriott, and Top Golf 

Saturday Night Activities:

  • TAPS Grand Banquet Event: Join us for an elegant, Red Carpet experience like no other. Our dinner banquet will begin at 6:00 pm. Special music has been arranged for your enjoyment. Be prepared for a few special guests to join us for the evening. We will enjoy a lovely three course meal with a special dessert made just for TAPS. The attire is semi-formal, but you are more than welcome to wear what is comfortable. Attire ranges from semi-formal cocktail attire, to our lovely TAPS t-shirts and slacks.

Sunday Night Activities:

  • TAPS Family Backyard BBQ

Monday, Memorial Day:

  • Arlington National Cemetery, Memorial Day Service: The annual Memorial Day tribute is one of the only three ceremonies open to the public each year at Arlington National Cemetery. A concert preludes the Wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at 10:30 am by President Barrack Obama, followed by the remembrance ceremony at 11:00 am, affording us the opportunity to honor the service and sacrifice of our loved ones. There will be a chance for you to watch the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier before the ceremony. You can wear whatever is most comfortable to you whether that be your Sunday best or your TAPS t-shirt. We will be sitting outside so please bring sunscreen. TAPS will provide paddle fans and water for you, as well as bus transportation to and from the ceremony.
  • National Memorial Day Parade: The National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, DC is a flag-waving event with patriotic marches and floats. The Parade is sponsored by the WWII Veterans Committee and is an annual tradition for Americans to come together to honor those who have sacrificed so much in service to our country. The Parade starts at 2:00 pm after musical performances and ceremonies at the reviewing stand at 1:00 pm, at the National Archives.

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WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
Most of our events, including workshops and activities are casual. Hotel meeting rooms, despite our best efforts, can range in temperature, so you may wish to bring a light sweater for your own comfort level.

Our Saturday evening banquet this year will be semi-formal affair, however, you may wear whatever is most comfortable, from cocktail attire, to Sunday's best, to your TAPS t-shirt.

For our visit to Arlington National Cemetery, we suggest you wear clothes that are appropriate for warm weather and lots of sunscreen. We suggest your TAPS t-shirt and comfortable shoes, and remind everyone that Arlington Cemetery is sacred ground.

Keep in mind, weather can vary, so bring clothes that will protect you in cold, rain or hot sunshine (you can visit www.weather.com and enter our hotel zip code, 22202 for up to the minute forecasts).

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WHAT ELSE SHOULD I BRING?
If you would like to swim during the weekend, you may wish to bring a bathing suit as there is a pool located at the hotel. Also a camera can be helpful to document the special events and the highlights of the event!

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IS CHILD CARE OFFERED?

We have professional child care available for children ages 3 years old and under, as the Good Grief Camp supports those children ages 4-19 years old. Care is provided Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 am until 10:00 pm. After 10:00 pm late fees will apply. Child care is provided on Thursday for those attending the Peer Mentor training. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be served in the childcare rooms. The staff of Munchkin Care will provide care for your young children while you participate in the Seminar and have been an incredible comfort and support for our youngest survivors (and parents) since 2005! If you have questions about the childcare offered, please contact Vanessa Daley, Project Manager, Youth Programs, at 800-959-TAPS (8277).

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EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBER?
If you need to provide your family back home an emergency contact number, you may provide them the direct TAPS number of 800-959-TAPS(8277) or 202-588-TAPS(8277). You may also utilize this number in the event you are stranded at the airport in D.C. and need to contact someone.

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DO I HAVE TO SELECT WORKSHOPS PRIOR TO ATTENDING?
Workshop attendance is flexible; you may choose which sessions to attend at your leisure and if you get into a workshop and find it is not what you expected, you are welcome to slip out and join another workshop.

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WILL THERE BE OPPORTUNITIES TO SIGHTSEE WHILE IN WASHINGTON?
We have optional activities planned during the weekend including a nighttime tour of DC along with our attendance at the Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery. To have additional time to visit the city, you may wish to arrive a day early or depart a day later after the seminar concludes. Keep in mind our hotel room rate are only for Thursday, May 26 to Monday, May 30. Let us know how we can help you plan your activities.

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GOOD GRIEF CAMP - SHOULD MY CHILDREN ATTEND? WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE PLANNED?

The TAPS Good Grief Camp for Young Survivors is a wonderful experience for children of all ages. They will:

  • Find comfort in knowing that there are other children just like them
  • Share as much or as little as they want
  • Develop coping skills they can use after they've left GGC
  • Learn how America honors those who died while serving in the military
  • Discover they have a new group of friends their age who will be there for them and who understand
  • Realize that they are still a part of the military family as the Good Grief Camp Mentors stand by ready to assist and be a "big brother/big sister" to your child

Helpful information for parents whose children will be attending the Good Grief Camp:

  • 4 year olds MUST be potty trained prior to attending the Good Grief Camp (we do understand occasional accidents).
  • If your child's school requires an excused absence letter from TAPS please email vanessa@taps.orgor call 800-959-8277 with their name and the days they will miss.
  • We will have specific hours set on the agenda. Please make sure your child comes to his/her group ON TIME, but not earlier than the start of camp, as this time is set aside for mentors and group leaders to meet to discuss the activities of the day.
  • Please ensure your child is picked up promptly at the close of the sessions for the day.
  • As requested by many, we have allowed more family time within our schedule for Friday evening! There are many options of activities or just "hanging" with your children in the room, at the pool, or around DC on your own!
  • We understand your concern for your children. However it can be disrupting to others if you enter their group room, and can be upsetting to the child if they think you are concerned for their well-being. If you need something or it is imperative to speak to your child, please go to the GGC Office in Salon D and we will be happy to help. We have a discreet system for interrupting the group if required!
  • Children are allowed to have cell phones as long as they are on silent (not vibrate). We understand that having them can be a source of comfort for both you and your child. However, neither calls nor text messaging will be allowed during our group sessions. If you need to speak to your child, please contact the GGC office.
  • Your child will be given 2 TAPS t-shirts for the Good Grief Camp. Please have them wear it every morning as this helps us easily identify children within the TAPS group! Dress should be cool and comfortable. Shorts and tennis shoes are great since there will be a lot of activities and walking. They will also be given a TAPS backpack and a workbook! If your child has attended a Good Grief Camp before and you would like to bring their backpack or workbook from a previous camp, please feel free to do so!

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VOLUNTEER AT THE 2016 NATIONAL SEMINAR
To volunteer at the National Seminar (in a capacity other than a Peer Mentor or Good Grief Camp Mentor) please register in our Volunteer Information Center. No fees apply. If you are a survivor and wish to participate in the event and volunteer, you will still need to register through the Seminar Registration, where a fee is required. Scholarships are available to help cover the cost if applicable. Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the National Seminar!

Any questions, please email volunteer@taps.org.

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