Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for your interest in attending the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp! We hope the following FAQS will help you as you prepare to join us in Washington, D.C.

Who should attend?
When does the event take place?
Where does the event take place?
How do I sign up to attend?
What are the fees to attend?
What is the recommended travel schedule?
What activities will be offered during the seminar?
What should I pack?
Do I have to select workshops prior to attending?
Will there be opportunities to sightsee while in Washington?
Is child care offered?
Should my child attend Good Grief Camp? What activities are planned?

 

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.

Children: TAPS Good Grief Camp for children and teens provides a safe and supportive atmosphere to conduct activities and opportunities to learn coping skills, establish and identify support systems and create awareness that they are not alone in the grief of their loved one. Children and teens meet others of their own age group to share and learn together.

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When does the event take place?

The 23rd Annual TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp will take place on Friday, May 25, through Monday, May 29, 2017. Early check-in begins on Thursday evening, and the event concludes on Monday following the Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Day ceremonies and the National Memorial Day Parade.

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Where does the event take place?

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

If you are flying in, please arrange your travels to arrive at the Reagan National Airport (DCA). We will have airport greeters who will guide you to a free airport shuttle that will take you to the Crystal Gateway Marriott and the Crystal City Marriott.

Dulles (IAD) and Baltimore (BWI) airports DO NOT have shuttle service to the hotel and will require transportation by taxi or SuperShuttle with fares ranging from $45 to $70. 

If you are planning on driving to the event, parking is available for a fee of $15 hourly or $29 daily, and valet parking is $34 daily. Clearance for the garage is a height of 6'3". Visit the hotel website for driving directions. 

If you're arriving via train from the north, get off at Union Station and you can take the metro system to the Crystal City stop (directly under the hotel).

If you're arriving via train from the south, get off at the King Street Station, and you can take the metro directly to the Crystal City stop as well.

TAPS will provide transportation to all off-site activities and events during the seminar.

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How do I sign up to attend?

Click here to register for the adult seminar and Good Grief Camp. You will receive a confirmation email once you have submitted your registration.

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What are the fees to attend?

There is a registration fee of $195 per adult, which 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. For children younger than 4, the $75 fee assists in providing daycare services for our youngest survivors.

Registration fees are refundable until Monday, May 1, by 5 p.m. EST.

Note: Scholarships are available if you are facing financial challenges. See the Fees and Scholarships page for more information about how to apply for a scholarship or call TAPS at 800-959-8277.

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What is the recommended travel schedule?

You should arrive on or before 10:30 a.m. Friday, May 26, to attend our opening session. If you have a child attending the Good Grief Camp, note that it also begins at 9 a.m. Friday.

Departures should be scheduled after 3 p.m. Monday, May 29, to allow for our return from Arlington National Cemetery. If you choose to attend the National Memorial Day Parade, departures should be scheduled in the morning on Tuesday, May 30.

If you are flying in, please arrange your travels to arrive at the Reagan National Airport (DCA). We will have airport greeters who will guide you to the airport shuttle that will take you to the Crystal Gateway Marriott and the Crystal City Marriott. 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 $15 hourly or $29 daily, and valet parking is $34 daily. Clearance for the garage is a height of 6'3".

If you are traveling with Hero Miles, please see our Transportation & Lodging page for more information.

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What activities will be offered during the seminar?

Friday Night Activities:

  • Evening tour of Washington, D.C.
  • United States Marine Corps Evening Parade at 8th & I
  • TAPS family fun at the hotel
  • Tour of the Pentagon
  • Washington Nationals Baseball Game

Saturday Night Activity:

  • TAPS Grand Banquet: For adults, our three-course dinner banquet will begin at 6 p.m. accompanied by special guests and live music entertainment. Attire ranges from cocktail attire to casual and comfortable in our TAPS T-shirts. Children at Good Grief Camp will have their own fun activities planned.

Sunday Afternoon Activities:

  • Visit to the National Mall and Smithsonian Museums: We will have opportunities to visit the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Smithsonian American Art Museum and various memorials along the National Mall. 

Sunday Evening Activity:

  • TAPS Family Backyard BBQ

Memorial Day Activites on Monday:

  • Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Day Service: The annual Memorial Day tribute is one of 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 a.m. by President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence, followed by the remembrance ceremony at 11 a.m., 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. 
  • National Memorial Day Parade: The National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., is a flag-waving event with patriotic marches and floats. The parade is sponsored by the World War II 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 p.m. following musical performances and ceremonies at the reviewing stand at 1 p.m. at the National Archives.

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What should I pack?

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 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 wear a lot of sunscreen. We suggest your TAPS T-shirt and comfortable shoes. We remind everyone that Arlington National Cemetery is sacred ground. 

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

You may wish to bring a bathing suit if you would like to swim at the hotel pool during the weekend. A camera can be helpful to document the special events and highlights of the event.

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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 the Friday evening tour of D.C., visits to the Smithsonian Museums and National Mall and attendance at the Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery. Several intentional activities will be incorporated to learn, reflect and connect with one another.

If you want 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 is only for Thursday, May 25, to Monday, May 29.

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Is child care offered?

We have professional child care available for children 3 years old and under, as the Good Grief Camp supports children ages 4 to 19 years old. Care is provided Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the same times as Good Grief Camp. Child care is provided on Thursday for those attending the Peer Mentor training. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served in the child care rooms. The staff of Munchkin Care will provide care for your young children while you participate in the seminar. Our licensed caregivers have been an incredible comfort and support for our youngest survivors (and parents) since 2005. If you have questions about the child care offered, please call us at 800-959-8277 (TAPS).

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Should my child attend Good Grief Camp? What activities are planned?

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

  • Find comfort in knowing 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 the Good Grief Camp
  • 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 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"

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

Four-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 youthprograms@taps.org or call 800-959-TAPS (8277) with their name and the days they will miss school.

We will have specific hours for camp 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 on Friday evening! There will be many activities available or you can simply hang out with your children in the room, at the pool, or around D.C. on your own!

Children are allowed to have cellphones 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, we would discourage calls during group times. Please know that in an emergency, we have a discreet system for interrupting the group if necessary.

Your child will be given two 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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