Joint Base Lewis McChord Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp

add to outlook calendar add to gmail calendar January 8 - 10, 2016
Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington


TAPS Regional Seminars feature activities, workshops, small group discussions, memorial celebrations, and special events. We provide the opportunity to exchange stories, give and receive inspiration, and create lasting connections with others who understand the loss of a military loved one.

Seminar Survivors


TAPS Good Grief Camp provides a safe and supportive atmosphere for children and youth as they discover new coping strategies, establish and strengthen support systems, and discover that they can have fun without forgetting their loved ones. Good Grief Camp is for children ages 4-18. For our youngest survivors, childcare is provided.


Peer Mentor training is for adult military survivors who are at least 18 months beyond their own loss and are ready to be there for others and offer support. Through this program, we establish one-on-one connections between a trained survivor, the TAPS Peer Mentor, and his/her mentee, based on the similarities these adult survivors share in their grief journeys.

To learn more about becoming a peer mentor, visit the Become a Peer Mentor page. »



4 p.m. to 7 p.m. — Early Registration, Meet and Mingle


7:30 a.m. - 9 a.m. — Breakfast and Registration

9 a.m. - 5 p.m. — Seminar and Camp

6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. — TAPS Family dinner


7:30 a.m. - 9 a.m. — Breakfast

10 a.m. - 1 p.m.  — TAPS Family Activity, Closing Ceremonies


Lodging is provided free of charge to survivors attending who live more than 45 miles from the event. One room is provided per family, for Friday and Saturday nights, and rooms are reserved on a first come basis - space is limited.  


At TAPS, we know grief isn't linear and doesn't progress, but it does change. Being able to connect with others who are at the same place is an important part of TAPS. Even though everyone's grief journey is unique, here is your opportunity to connect with others walking similar paths and to travel forward together to find hope and healing. TAPS wants to meet you where you are in your grief journey. And, once we meet you where you are, we want to walk forward with you. We will be each other's brave companions for the way. 

We've created three different tracks to address the different places we may be in our grief. We invite you to explore the three tracks and join the sessions and activities of a track this weekend.  Here are some general characteristics to help you determine where you may feel most at home - and remember, we're always here to help.


Track I is for those in early grief. Workshops and activities for those in Track I will focus on creating a safe space for survivors to acknowledge, identify, and begin to process hard or overwhelming feelings. Survivors in Track I will explore coping skills, ways to handle intense emotions, and self-care techniques for the darkest days of grief. 

Track I may be where you find your home at this seminar if:

  • The death is relatively new, within the last 18 months, or you may have just begun to be able to acknowledge it.
  • You have feelings of denial or disbelief that the death occurred.
  • You lack the ability to concentrate or complete simple tasks.
  • You feel numb, empty, raw, or vulnerable.
  • Grief, and trying to cope with often-overpowering emotions, takes up the largest part of your energy.
  • Your grief is the defining feature of your life.
  • The activities of daily living (cleaning, showering (come on, it’s us, we get it), paying bills, etc.), may seem like insurmountable tasks.
  • You feel isolated, detached from those around you, and unable to bond.


Track II is for survivors for whom the shock is wearing off and the reality is setting in. You've made it through a year of firsts, but now you may be dealing with anger and frustration that the grief (and the death) are both still there. Track II is for survivors who are doing the work and tasks of grief.

Track II may be where you find your home at this Seminar if:

  • The death was at over 1 year ago – or the death was many years ago, but you've experienced another loss or trauma which has caused feelings to resurface.
  • You are noticing many secondary losses like the loss of friends, loss of identity, loss of purpose in life.
  • You are dealing with continued grief bursts. The grief and the pain are manageable on a day to day basis, but upsurges of grief still hit sometimes for no reason at all, thrusting us back to feeling like it’s day one.
  • You feel like you’re on autopilot or just going through the motions of life.
  • You are trying – but often those attempts to “get back into life” (or even just take care of the basics) highlight just how much your life has changed and how different things are.

Workshops and activities in Track II will provide a safe place to discuss and mourn our heroes, our senses of purpose, and our senses of self. Together, survivors will start to explore the persistently painful questions of "What NOW?” Workshops are oriented around coping strategies; handling the uncertainty of the future; and dealing with secondary losses, changed family dynamics, and strained relationships. Workshop facilitators will help survivors learn to re-define themselves, their families, and their futures, all while honoring the profound ache of loss.


Survivors in Track III may identify as being "beyond active grieving," or of wanting to move from surviving to living. Workshops and sessions in Track III focus on incorporating the loss of your loved one into your life to create a whole, empowered, purposeful life.  In this track, survivors will focus on self-care and self-empowerment in the present and for the future.

Workshop facilitators will lead discussions about identities we've created or are striving to create in the wake of our loss. Through this track, survivors will discuss how we continue to honor our loved one and the parts of our loved one that are the living legacy in us. 

You may feel most at home in Track III if:

  • The death was a few years ago
  • You've begun to understand the concept of a "new normal."
  • Joy, happiness, and laughter are frequently present in your life, but you still have moments of sadness.