New England Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp

December 2 - 4, 2016
Cromwell, Connecticut


ADULT SEMINAR

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.

mentor and girl

GOOD GRIEF CAMP

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.

BECOME A PEER MENTOR

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. »

SCHEDULE

Friday, December 2

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

Saturday, December 3

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

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Seminar and Camp

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

Sunday, December 4

7:30 a.m. - 9 a.m. — Breakfast

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

LODGING

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. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHERE IS THE EVENT TAKE PLACE?

You will be notified of the specific location of the event via email once you are registered to attend.

HOW DO I SIGN UP TO ATTEND?

Select the Seminar and Camp link in the gold "Register" box on this page to access both adult and child registration.

WHAT ARE THE FEES TO ATTEND?

The great thing about our Regional Survivor Seminars is that they are of no cost to our families. TAPS provides lodging for anyone who lives 40 minute or more from the event venue. We will cover the cost of your room fees for both Friday and Saturday nights.

Your parking, whether staying overnight at the hotel or driving to the event each day, is also covered by TAPS.

If you are bringing a service animal, the hotel might charge a daily fee. These fees may range in cost and are not covered by TAPS.

IS TRAVEL COVERED BY TAPS?

TAPS does not cover the cost of travel to our Regional Seminars.

DOES TAPS PROVIDE LODGING?

Lodging is covered by TAPS for all our families who will be traveling more than 40 minutes to attend the event. Hotel room availability is limited and rooms are on a first come, first served basis.

In the instance we have allocated all of our hotel rooms, we will put registrants on a waitlist and provide rooms as they become available.

WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?

Most of our programming at the Seminar, 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.

You will be given a TAPS T-shirt when you check-in to the event. We invite you to wear your T-shirt throughout the weekend.

Our Saturday evening TAPS Family Dinner is very casual. You can wear your TAPS T-shirt or whatever you are most comfortable in.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD I BRING?

At some of our events there is a swimming pool available. If you would like to swim during the weekend, you may want to bring a swimsuit. This information will be available via the hotel's website after you have registered for the event. You may also want to bring a camera to document the special events and highlights of the weekend.

If you want to share your loved one with others, you're welcome to bring pictures and keepsakes to show among your TAPS family.

A TAPS T-shirt, tote bag and photo button are provided to you once you arrive to the event.

IS CHILD CARE OFFERED?

We have professional child care available for children ages 4 and under, as Good Grief Camp supports those children ages 4 to 19. Child care is provided Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

If you have questions about the child care offered, please contact Jonathan Kirkendall, Youth Programs Manager, at 800-959-TAPS (8277).

» IS THERE AN EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBER AVAILABLE?

If you need to provide your family back home an emergency contact number, you may provide them the direct TAPS number of 800-959-8277 or 202-588-8277.

DO I HAVE TO SELECT WORKSHOPS PRIOR TO ATTENDING?

We will have a limited amount of workshops at this event. On Friday, during our meet and mingle, you will have an opportunity to meet our professional workshop presenters to discuss what we will be offering at this event. 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.

SHOULD MY CHILDREN 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 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 Good Grief Camp
  • 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" 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).
  • 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.
  • 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 a TAPS staff member 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 Good Grief Camp office.
  • Your child will be given a 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 comfortable. 

GRIEF TRACKS

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

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

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.

TRACK III

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.