Western Regional Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp

add to outlook calendar add to gmail calendar October 27 - 29, 2023
Long Beach, California
Registration Close Date: October 28, 2023
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Military Survivors 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.


TAPS youth

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.


Childcare is provided for children under the age of five-years old, five-years old but not yet attending kindergarten, and children 10-years and younger who are not eligible for Good Grief Camp. These children will be cared for and loved throughout the seminar by trained professional, licensed and insured caregivers. A designated suite will be available and set up with age-appropriate toys, games, and arts and crafts. Children 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 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, you can sign-up as part of the seminar registration.

For more information, email peermentors@taps.org.


Getting Connected to the Seminar

The TAPS app allows you to stay organized at seminars and find pertinent workshop information with the click of a button. You will be able to receive real-time notifications from TAPS and save any sessions that you want to attend to your own calendar. While the app is Seminar-focused, most TAPS services are available through the TAPS app, as well.

Links to event app will be posted here as we get closer to event start date.



Monday, October 23

7:00 p.m. — Pre-event What to Expect, Your Seminar Questions Answered
Attending in person? Please join us for a pre-event Zoom meeting to talk about what to expect at a regional seminar. We will also review safety and health standards that will be in place for our Regional Seminar. We will discuss hotel check-in, registration, meals, mask requirements and many other details that have been taken care of for us to gather safely in-person.

Friday, October 27
  • 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. - Peer Mentor Training

  • 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - Family Registration

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

  • 5:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. - Good Grief Camp Zone (Grades K - 12)

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

  • 7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

    Dessert Sharing Group Sessions for
    Accident Loss
    Illness Loss
    Suicide Loss
    Combat Loss
    Homicide Loss
    (designated areas will have signage indicating type of loss)

  • 8:30 p.m.

    Young Adult and Legacy Mentor Gathering

Saturday, October 28
  • 6:30 a.m. - Morning Nature Walk (wear comfortable clothing) with Jason Stout

  • 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. - Family Breakfast
    There will be areas reserved for a Men's Only social.

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

  • 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. - Good Grief Camp

  • 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. - Opening Session with Bonnie Carroll

  • 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. - Workshops and Sessions, Block I

    Grieving Like a Man – Jon Ganues
    In this interactive workshop, we will discuss the ways men may reveal their grief and share our experiences. Our goal will be understanding and insight, not changing the way others grieve. This is an ideal workshop for men in attendance who may be dating a survivor, as well as for men who are actively grieving the loss of a loved one.

    Parenting While Grieving - Becky Lomaka
    As parents, our desire to ensure our children are “okay” after the death of someone they love. In this workshop we will focus on dealing with your own grief while balancing your needs and the needsof your children. We will explore how grief can present itself differently for each family member and offer positive coping strategies for you and for your children. We will discuss ways to make your loved one who has died a part of your family life even though they are no longer physically here with you.

    Healing in Nature – Jason Stout
    Finding serenity in the outdoors is nothing new. Human beings have been connected to forests, rivers, oceans, and deserts as long as we’ve been walking the earth. It’s only recently in human history that our culture has withdrawn in masses from spending time in nature and replaced it with time spent in a fabricated world where we are bombarded with constant stimuli that deprives us of our well-being. Join us for some inspiring stories and explore the many benefits of spending time outdoors while we move towards establishing a deeper connection to nature and its healing power. This is a hands-on workshop. We are headed to the beach and may get our feet wet. Please dress appropriately.

  • 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

    Lunch Buffet and Peer Group Sessions for
    Spouses and Significant Others
    Siblings and Adult Children
    Battle Buddies, Friends and Extended Family
    Parents and Grandparents
    (designated areas will have signage indicating type of relationship)

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

    Building Stronger Bonds: Adopting a Team Mindset Jesse Tubb
    In this interactive session, we will explore the concept of a family functioning as a team and how adopting a team mindset can strengthen relationships, improve communication, and foster a supportive and positive family environment where everyone thrives. By thinking of your family as a team, you can unlock the potential for greater unity and collaboration, even while acknowledging the impact of grief within your household. Your family is more than just a group of individuals, and by recognizing and embracing the experiences, strengths, and talents of each family member, you can create a flourishing family team. This workshop will include a team scavenger hunt that will require participants to work in small teams to find checkpoints in and around the hotel.

    Leaning Into Your Grief  - Becky Lomaka
    “When am I going to get over this?” is a question many people ask early in their grief process. In this workshop we will look at the many facets of grief and provide practical strategies for coping. We will unravel the many myths about grief and the “shoulds” associated with them. We will explore how it is possible to move forward in our grief and even find joy again.

    Managing Difficult Emotions Andy McNiel
    It is common for many of us to struggle with many difficult emotions after a person in our life dies, including, but not limited to anger, guilt, and regret. We may feel a sense of responsibility for the circumstances leading up to a person’s death. We might regret missed opportunities as we think back on our relationship with our person. We may have intense anger associated with aspects of their death or issues related to our relationship with them. Whatever it is that might influence these feelings, difficult emotions can be challenging to navigate. This interactive session will take a closer look at some of these emotions and offer ideas for managing the impact they have on our lives after loss.

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

    Building Emotional Resilience: Nurturing Inner Strength – Jesse Tubb
    In this session, we will explore the concept of emotional resilience and learn practical strategies to cultivate resilience in the face of life’s challenges. By developing emotional resilience, you can intentionally respond to adversity, adapt to change, and thrive in the face of difficulties, including loss. This workshop will provide you with practical tools and strategies to grow your capacity for resilience and stay buoyant during challenging times. We will cover how to acknowledge your experience, gain emotional clarity, prioritize self-care, show yourself grace and compassion, and use it as an opportunity for growth.

    Handling the Holidays  - Becky Lomaka
    The holidays can be difficult for those who are grieving. Learn about the physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual aspects of grief while focusing on practical strategies that will help you not just survive but grow through your grief. Join this informative and practical workshop to help you gain hope and direction during this often-difficult time of year.

    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 coping techniques, including how linking positive memories with negative experiences can help us navigate our grief and remember even when it hurts.

  • 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - Family Dinner

  • 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

    Young Adult and Legacy Mentor Care Group

Sunday, October 29
  • 6:30 a.m. - Morning Walk (wear comfortable clothing) with Jason Stout

  • 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. - Family Breakfast
    There will be areas reserved for a Men's Only social.

  • 8:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. - Good Grief Camp

  • 9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. - Workshops and Sessions, Block IV

    Spirituality and Grief: A Conversation About Faith and Belief After Loss Andy McNiel
    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.

    Creating Meaning from Loss - Audri Beugelsdijk
    Dr. Bob Neimeyer says that loss “requires us to reconstruct a world that again ‘makes sense,’ that restores a semblance of meaning, direction, and interpretability to a life that is forever transformed.” We will discuss what it means to flourish in spite of and through our grief. Participants will have opportunities to share personal observations about how meaning making has played a role in their grief journey.

    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.

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

    Building Scaffolding: Integrating Lessons Learned Into Your Life Beyond the TAPS Weekend – Jesse Tubb
    This seminar aims to provide participants with practical strategies and tools to effectively integrate insights from this weekend into their lives. By building a solid scaffolding framework, participants will learn how to create a seamless bridge between lessons and tools learned throughout the seminar material and their daily lives. We will discuss how to maximize the impact of the weekend and foster long-term growth and transformation. Don’t let what you learn here, stay here!

    Power of Connection – Jason Stout
    The feelings that come with death loss can have us feeling alone and disconnected from others when what we need for our healing is the opposite. Add that we live in a grief and pain avoidant culture where we run from uncomfortable conversations at the expense of our individual and collective well-being. Please join us for this hands-on, experiential, group activity where participants have the opportunity to move past these constructs and get back to the most powerful medicine of all...human connection.

    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.

  • 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



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 Westin 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).



Registration is open until October 28, 2023 (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 seminarregistrations@taps.org if you do not receive a confirmation email after registering.


Health Guideline and Animals

Health Guidelines for the Seminar: TAPS will make every effort to ensure safe and healthy gatherings. We will continue to monitor COVID variants and may require testing onsite and/or other protocols based on local regulations and CDC guidance. At this time, we do not require proof of full vaccination and masks are optional. Should we have to make any changes you will be notified right away.

Animals: We love animals, but we do not allow them to attend many of our events, which are private events that are not open to the general public. We do this for the health and safety of our members. If you have any questions please contact seminarregistrations@taps.org.