California All Populations Weekend Retreat

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Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, Three Rivers, California
Application Open from March 29, 2024 to April 12, 2024

TAPS Adult Programs warmly invites all adult survivors who are at least six months from loss to join the California All Populations Weekend Retreat.

We will explore the wildernesses of our earth and our emotions alongside fellow survivors in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. Nature and grief can both often feel vast and un-navigable, but we know that having good guides makes all the difference. So, regardless of where you are in your grief journey or where you are with your outdoor skills, we invite you to join TAPS facilitators and professional outdoor guides as we learn new ways to look at, and move through, some of the world's most inspiring landscapes.

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In partnership with the National Park Trust, TAPS has prepared a day and overnight of healing and adventure for mind, body, and soul. Tuck away in the magic of the redwoods with fellow adult survivors,representing all relationships and manners of loss, as we immerse ourselves in groves of giant sequoias. We will form unique bonds stemming from our shared experiences of loss and grief as we connect with the dynamic landscapes, flora and fauna of the National Park during this overnight camping experience.

We will spend Saturday exploring Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, starting at the Giant Forest Museum. We will learn the basics of an overnight front country camping experience, explore the park from a variety of perspectives and have an opportunity to connect with survivors in the region. We'll provide a combination of catered and make-at-camp meals throughout the experience.

All programs will be done in collaboration with our partners at National Park Trust and the National Parks Service. Please visit the National Park Trust or the National Parks Service websites to learn more about them.

Who should attend? Due to the unique nature of this event, this retreat is intended for survivors whose military loss occurred more than six months ago. If you are within the first six months following your loss, we encourage you to attend a TAPS TogethersRegional Seminar and/or the National Military Survivor Seminar.



Day 1:  On this travel day, everyone should arrive by 9 a.m. local time at the Giant Forest Museum in Three Rivers, California. TAPS, National Park Trust and National Parks Service staff will be there to greet you. We will spend the morning and afternoon exploring groves of giant sequoia trees and learning alongside one another. That evening we will have dinner, set up camp, and end our night under the stars. Dinner and lunch will be provided today. 

Day 2:  We'll start the day with breakfast and free time to relax and further connect with your fellow survivors before we break camp, say our "see you laters" and travel home. Breakfast & a sack lunch will be provided today. 


Adventure Level

This retreat is rated as a moderate/medium-intensity adventure. We'll be active and everyone will have an opportunity to challenge themselves. Activities will involve physical exertion and the ability to do so at varying elevations. Our entire experience will be outside.



All trip fees from arrival to departure are covered by TAPS thanks to our generous donors.

Trip fees not noted above are your pre/post retreat transportation costs, meals outside of events, guide gratuities and gear not provided (gear details below).



This overnight will be a tent camping experience, and thanks to the generosity of our donors, we can provide support with tents, sleeping bags and sleeping pads. If you have your own camping equipment, we encourage you to bring and use your own. If you don't - no worries, we can provide it for you!

Examples of camping equipment we will use on this event look like these tents (option 1 or option 2), sleeping bags (option 1 or option 2), and sleeping pads (option 1 or option 2). Again, if you have equipment like this or others you prefer to use, we invite you to bring it! If not, we can provide the appropriate equipment that best suits your needs! 

Planning overnight experiences outdoors can be intimidating, but our goal for this experience is to eliminate as many barriers as possible so that you and your family can plan and have these experiences in the future!



Participants will cover the cost of transportation to and from the Giant Forest Museum in Three Rivers, California, as well as any lodging outside of the dates which TAPS provides. The closest airport is Fresno International Airport, but it is preferred for you to arrive by vehicle. Complimentary shuttle transportation to and from the airport will be provided on a case by case basis.

If your application is approved, we will ask you to officially register for this event.  Only after you have completed your registration and receive the welcome email should you make your travel plans.  Please do not make travel arrangements until your participation is confirmed.


Application Details

Applications will open March 29 to April 12, 2024 (look for the blue button at the top of this page). TAPS will review applications, giving first consideration for those who have never attended this or any other TAPS retreat, in order that the greatest number of survivors can have an opportunity to attend. Thank you for your understanding.


Retreat Facilitator

Rachel Hunsell


Rachel Hunsell

Rachel has a background in experiential program development and facilitation, outdoor engagement, event management and public speaking. As the TAPS Outdoor Programs Manager, she develops, implements, enhances and supports programming across the TAPS network, fostering the connection of our grief journeys to the therapeutic power of nature and the wilderness. Understanding life's challenges will always arise, Rachel encourages survivors to reconnect with their inner strength by creating emotionally safe and understanding environments. As a survivor honoring the life and death of her brother, Marine Lance Corporal J. Kyle Price, she understands the valleys and mountaintops we experience along the journey after loss. The military community is both Rachel’s personal and professional home, where her efforts are directed in helping the community heal their trauma and grow through pain. Rachel obtained her Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication with an emphasis on Public Relations from Southeast Missouri State University in 2013. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Education with a degree in Recreation Therapy at Southern Illinois University - Carbondale, where she also served as a Graduate Assistant at Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center serving Southern Illinois veterans.