Western Regional Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp

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Los Angeles, California
Registration Close Date: July 24, 2021
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This event is open to all military survivor adults and youth. If you are unable to attend in-person, we encourage you to join us virtually for our live sessions. Please double check that you select the correct button above (in-person or virtual) when you register for the event. 

Military Survivor at a TAPS Seminar

For Adults: TAPS Seminars

TAPS Seminars are created with your needs in mind. Our comprehensive model of care brings together adult survivors of all ages for a weekend of hope and healing. Whether you recently lost your hero, have lived many years without them or are somewhere in between, this TAPS Seminar is designed to meet you where you are in your grief journey.

By bringing together peer professionals, subject matter experts, mental health clinicians and TAPS Peer Mentors and volunteers, we will come alongside you to walk the journey together.  

Our TAPS Seminar faculty members are leaders in the field of grief and loss, suicide, traumatic loss and bereavement and will facilitate a rich learning environment to help you gain coping skills and tools to continue your loved one’s legacy. The seminar sessions and programming follow a dynamic curriculum based on the needs of mourning set forth in academia.


Military mentors and TAPS children

For Youth: TAPS Good Grief Camp

The TAPS Good Grief Camp is a program for children who have lost a loved one who served in the Armed Forces (see attendance eligibility criteria). Good Grief Camp provides a safe space for military children to explore grief and embrace healing.

TAPS Good Grief Camp is led by experts in the fields of child development, mental health and education. Programming throughout the weekend mirrors the adult curriculum and provides families with a common language crucial to strengthening family bonds. Children and teens will honor their loved one, connect with their peers, and learn coping skills through games, crafts and other age-appropriate activities in a fun and supportive environment.

Children and teens will find comfort in knowing there are other kids their age who understand their loss and develop coping skills they can use once they leave Good Grief Camp.


Children under the age of four-years old will be cared for and loved throughout the seminar by trained professional, licensed and insured caregivers. A designated suite will be assigned and set up with age-appropriate toys, games and arts and crafts. Infants, toddlers and preschoolers will have lunch on Saturday inside their room, along with healthy snacks all weekend. Individual schedules will be honored for each child, including nursing infants. 

If you need further information, please email childcare@taps.org.


TAPS invites those active duty military, veterans, and military survivors who have graduated from Good Grief Camp (Legacy mentors) to register as a volunteer mentor for the Good Grief Camp. Visit the Legacy or Military Mentor Volunteer at the Western Regional Military Good Grief Camp page for details.


Military Survivor at a TAPS Peer Mentor Training

Become a Peer Mentor

During the seminar, TAPS will be conducting a Peer Mentor training session on Sunday morning for adult military survivors who are at least 18 months beyond their own loss and are ready to be there for other adult survivors to offer support.  As a Peer Mentor, you will have a wide variety of opportunities to choose from to support your peers through activities such as seminars, retreats, TAPS Togethers, hosting a Care Group, supporting the Online Community, and providing one-to-one mentoring. You will learn more about grief and trauma, learn to identify risks and warning signs for suicide, gain basic helping skills, and become part of our nationwide TAPS Peer Mentor Team.

If you're interested in attending the in-person Peer Mentor training at the seminar on Sunday morning, you can sign-up as part of the seminar registration.

There are also many opportunities to attend a training virtually from home. See our peer mentor virtual training calendar for dates and times.

For more information, email peermentors@taps.org.


Getting Connected to the Seminar

The TAPS Events app puts the program right in the palm of your hand. Leading up to the seminar weekend, you can connect with fellow survivors and TAPS staff, review the scheduled program, read about featured speakers, and access additional content that will support you wherever you are in your grief journey.

For those attending virtually, you will access the Zoom sessions by logging into the TAPS Events app on either your desktop computer or mobile device.



Times listed below are in the Pacific time zone.

Friday, July 23, 2021
  • 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - Family and Mentor Check-In

  • 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - Hotel Check-In Assistance

  • 5:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. - Family Dinner

  • 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. - Good Grief Camp Zone

  • 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - First Time Attendee and Peer Mentor Gatherings

  • 7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.

    Dessert Sharing Sessions for the following groups: Illness Loss Survivors, Suicide Loss Survivors, Accident Loss Survivors, Combat Loss Survivors, and Homicide Loss Survivors

    Share groups offer an opportunity to share your own story, experiences, and feelings while listening to others who have a similar story and relationship with their service member. They're structured by relationship, circumstance, or sometimes both. TAPS offers a wide range of groups with something for every survivor.

    Please review: Share Group Guidelines for Participants

  • 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. - Young Adult Meet-up

Saturday, July 24
  • 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. - Sunrise Strides Walk/Run

  • 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. - Family Breakfast

  • 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. - Family Check-In

  • 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. - Good Grief Camp

  • 9:15 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. - Opening Session with Bonnie Carroll

  • 10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. - Workshops and Sessions

    Managing Stress while Grieving  – Renee Monczynski
    What is unmentionable, becomes unmanageable. So, let's talk about the stress that comes with grief. We will discuss the different triggers of stress after loss, how we appraise stress, and introduce constructive coping skills to help guide you on this journey. This session will be offered virtually*.

    Grief 101 / Your Experience and What to Expect (or Not Expect)  – Dr. Pamela Gabbay
    A devastating loss causes us to question everything we thought that we knew about life. It can make us feel as though we’ve lost our entire world and our identity. Everyone’s grief path is different, but there are some emotions that are experienced by many. These include feeling heartbroken, feelings of intense anger, deep sadness, guilt, disbelief, loneliness, and worry. Grief is impacted by countless things, including the circumstances surrounding the loss and the relationship with the person who died. Grief is also impacted by whether the death was sudden or unexpected. This workshop will cover what to expect (and not expect) when you’re grieving, while honoring the uniqueness of each person’s story and experience. We will also discuss coping and caring for yourself while caring for others. Ample time will be given for questions and discussion. This session will be offered virtually*.

    Meeting Your Needs While Grieving  – Dr. Mark Hensley
    An important part of the grief journey includes understanding what we actually know about bereavement and breaking down the many unhelpful myths surrounding it. This workshop will also help attendees understand how different types of loss can affect grief and the importance of friends, family, peer, and community support. This session will be offered virtually*.

  • 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

    Lunch and Sharing Sessions for the following groups: Surviving Spouses, Ex-Spouses, Fiances and Significant Others; Surviving Parents and Grandparents; Surviving Siblings and Adult Children; and Surviving Friends, Battle Buddies and Extended Family

    Share groups offer an opportunity to share your own story, experiences, and feelings while listening to others who have a similar story and relationship with their service member. They're structured by relationship, circumstance, or sometimes both. TAPS offers a wide range of groups with something for every survivor.

    Please review: Share Group Guidelines for Participants

  • 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. - Workshops and Sessions

    REAL: Resetting Expectations After Loss  – Renee Monczynski
    In grief, many things change including what we thought we could expect of others and ourselves. In this interactive session, we will learn how to reset expectations after loss. We will build new skills that allow for healthy expectations of ourselves and of others during our grief journey. This session will be offered virtually*.

    Managing Anger and Other Difficult Emotions  – Audri Beugelsdijk
    Grief brings out a whole host of emotions. Sometimes they almost seem to be coming simultaneously, while other times they can feel so cyclical that it leaves us feeling exhausted. One of the most difficult emotions to cope with is anger. This session will be a safe space to explore the experience of anger in our grief while developing some specific tools we can use to reframe and manage this and other difficult emotions. This session will be offered virtually*.

    Grieving While We Work, Working While We Grieve – Dr. Mark Hensley
    Returning to work can be a stressful experience or a helpful experience for those grieving the death of a loved one. In this session, we’ll discuss strategies around re-entering or entering the workplace for the first time after loss while protecting your need and right to grieve. This session will be offered virtually*.

  • 3:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. - Workshops and Sessions

    Coping when Memories Hurt -  Audri Beugelsdijk
    We don't ever want to forget our loved ones and memories can bring both joy and pain. Sometimes we push memories away because we can't experience them without an upwelling of emotion that is difficult to cope with. We will explore new coping techniques, including how linking positive memories with negative experiences can help us navigate our grief and remember even when it hurts. This session will be offered virtually*.

    Navigating Challenging Conversations   – Renee Monczynski
    Resolving confrontation and getting to the heart of a conversation can be challenging under the best circumstances. How do we effectively navigate those difficult conversations, setting boundaries and advocating for ourselves, while also grieving? This session will be offered virtually*.

    Growing through Loss: Honoring the Challenges & Milestones of Your Grief Journey  - Andy McNiel
    Grief can be a long hard road to walk. It is a journey with many ebbs and flows where challenges are met along the way and milestones achieved. Each of us has a unique story of what that journey has been for us, how we have been changed, and who we are now because of our grief. This session will explore the many challenges and milestones we experience in our grief. We will discuss some of the ways we have grown through grief and pain and consider milestones that mark the path we have walked. Sometimes it is helpful to look back on where we have been, what we have learned, how we have grown, and how this offers insight and hope for our future and where life will take us from here. This session will be offered virtually*.

  • 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. - Family Dinner

  • 7:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. - Young Adult Social Hour

Sunday, July 25
  • 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. - Sunrise Strides Walk/Run

  • 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. - Family Breakfast

  • 7:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. - Peer Mentor Training

  • 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Good Grief Camp

  • 8:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. - Workshops and Sessions

    Spirituality and Grief: A Conversation about Faith and Belief after Loss Andy McNeil
    Faith, belief, and spirituality play a vital role in the lives of many of us after someone in our life dies. Many of us find strength through our faith as we journey through grief. While others of us may find faith to be difficult in the aftermath of loss. Spirituality can have complicated ebbs and flows as we navigate the many challenges that grief brings to our lives. Join us for this interactive session on spirituality and grief. We will discuss how our faith has brought us strength, how our faith may have been challenged by loss, and ways our grief may have impacted deeply held beliefs. This session will not be live streamed.

    Activities and Hands-on Projects to Help Cope with Grief –   –Dr. Pamela Gabbay
    Within a family, members often cope with and process grief differently. Spending time with your children on their terms, and doing activities that are important to them, can open the door for deeper conversations and discussions. Creating hands-on projects together is a helpful way to bring family members together in their grief and during times of sadness and stress. Meaningful connections are established as families spend time doing activities, having fun, and sharing stories and memories. Examples of activities will be shown and there will be ample time for questions and discussions. This session will be offered virtually*.

    Managing Guilt While Grieving: The Art of Active Listening Dr. Mark Hensley
    Survivor guilt is often part of grief. In this session, discover why we might feel guilty and whether that guilt is justified. (Hint: It’s probably not.) Learn ideas to overcome feelings of guilt that can get in the way of effective grieving. This session will be offered virtually*.

  • 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. - Workshops and Sessions

    God Winks  – Bonnie Carroll
    Some people call them “God Winks,” some call them signs, messages or after-death communication. No matter what we call them, signs from our loved ones can be very present in our lives. Stories and experiences of the presence of our loved ones will be discussed in this open-minded and intimate sharing session. This session will not be live streamed.

    Goals, Grief and How Things Change – Renee Monczynski
    Often we find ourselves setting big goals that match our beautiful, broad, imaginative dreams. In this session, we will learn how to set realistic goals, to give ourselves credit for the small wins, to reset after lessons learned, and to achieve those wonderful dreams in realistic expectations. This session will be offered virtually*.

    Helping Teens Cope with Grief and Loss  – Dr. Pamela Gabbay
    Teenagers struggle with many emotions after the death of someone in their lives. Parents and caregivers want to do everything they can to help, but are not always sure about the best ways to support their teens. This presentation will cover practical ways that you can support your teen after the death of someone close. Topics that will be included in this workshop are: how to discuss grief and loss with teenagers, common grief reactions, coping with grief and loss, and helpful ways to engage grieving teens. Plenty of time will be given for questions and discussion. This session will be offered virtually*.

  • 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Closing Session with Bonnie Carroll

  • 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. - Family Lunch

*All sessions offered virtually will be live in Pacific Time Zone and will not be recorded. 



There are no registration fees for our regional seminars. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, TAPS provides lodging, all meals, materials, activities and T-shirts at no cost to you.



Lodging is provided at the Los Angeles Pacific Palms Hotel for those traveling more than 30 minutes to the event. Please request your lodging in your registration form and specify how many nights you’ll be staying. TAPS covers the cost of the lodging for Friday and Saturday nights and will book your hotel room for you.

You'll need to cover the cost of your transportation to and from the seminar. 

If you have questions about lodging, please email lodging@taps.org or call 800-959-TAPS (8277).



In-Person and Virtual Registrations are open until July 24, 2021 (look for the blue button at the top of the page). You'll receive a confirmation email once you have submitted your registration. Please email support@taps.org if you do not receive a confirmation email after registering.