TAPS Good Grief Camp for Young Survivors
Thank you for your interest in the TAPS Good Grief Camp for Young Survivors!
The mission of the Good Grief Camp is to provide support and comfort for children and teens facing the loss of a loved one in military service. We promote an atmosphere whereby camp attendees can feel safe with their peers to express their deepest thoughts and verbalize their feelings of grief.
We support those children and teens who have lost someone extremely close to them by providing helpful coping skills and normalizing their emotions.
Through interactions with others, they discover they are not alone in their grief and build a support network and lasting friendships. Each Good Grief Camp participant has a military mentor who serves as a companion throughout the weekend, providing them with special one-on-one attention and showing them that the military has not forgotten about them.
The camp provides a well rounded experience for those who attend. Children and teens are provided time to do important grief work, and they also have supplemental activities to provide breaks from that grief work. These include field trips, where they can discover how America honors our heroes and activities that allow them to relax and have fun!
Our number one priority is to ensure the camps are a place of comfort, support and compassion for children and teens as they cope with the loss of a loved one. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. TAPS is here to support you and your children along the grief journey.
Letter to Parents
DEAR TAPS GOOD GRIEF CAMP PARENT,
We want to begin by letting you know how sorry we are for your loss that brought you here to TAPS, but we are grateful that you are reaching out for your children. We are here to support you and your child…and to remind you that you are not alone in your grief.
At the TAPS National Good Grief Camp, children and teens between the ages of 4-19 come from across the nation to join together for a weekend of activities. Each participant has experienced the lost a loved one serving in the military. The loss can be a loved one who died while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, in a training or motorcycle accident, suffered a heart attack, or completed suicide. Whatever the circumstance, our arms are open to you. We honor the life and the service of those they loved.
The Annual National Good Grief Camp is facilitated by volunteers who are trained in grief and how to work with children. Your child will be assigned a mentor, most who are military service members that volunteer over the long weekend to be a companion to your child, offering their time and a shoulder of support. Many of these volunteers are members of the Honor Guard at Arlington National Cemetery. Participants will be grouped by age, and within those groups, along with the military mentor, there will be a mental health/education professional leader and an experienced TAPS military mentor who will lead the group.
While our primary focus is on grief activities, we also have an incredible time – many parents have said they haven’t seen their child laugh this much in a long time. It is amazing how these children open up and encourage each other…and learn to have fun again reminding all of us that it is okay to laugh! We also tour sites in and around our nation’s capital providing evidence of how our nation honors those who have lost their lives while serving our country. One of the favorite events is eating at the "chow hall" on Ft. Meyer on Saturday and meeting the caisson horses on post.
The camp concludes Sunday afternoon, and you will then have the option of attending, as a family, the Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery. A few children from the camp participate in the procession of flags during the ceremony and also in the laying of a special wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. This wreath is handcrafted by the children during camp.
TAPS Good Grief Camps offer support for your children found nowhere else. They learn they are not alone and learn valuable coping skills to help them in their day to day lives. They will find a sense of belonging and a safe haven for expressing their grief with new found friends.
We encourage you to join us over Memorial Day weekend. The TAPS Seminar and Good Grief Camp will allow you, as a parent, to have time to concentrate on your personal grief journey and share with others facing similar loss, and you can be comfortable knowing your child will receive support in a safe and caring environment.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. We are always here for you and your family.
TAPS Youth Programs Staff