Sunday, April 26, 2015

TAPS Seminar in May

TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) is once again holding its Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp for Young Survivors Memorial Day Weekend, May 22-25 in Washington, D.C. It is specifically for the loved ones of those who served in the military and died. This differs from the other conferences I've told you about recently because it is not only for bereaved parents. It encompasses an entire military family: mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives and children.

And for the children of these military people, the Good Grief Camp is America’s first established program for children and teens whose parent or sibling has died. Children are paired with trained mentors who support them as they share, learn coping skills and have fun in a place they feel they belong.

All events and workshops take place in (or depart from) the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. Room rates are $129 per night. The seminar registration is $195 and the Good Grief Camp is $75 per child. A limited number of scholarships are available for those facing financial challenges. Tuesday, April 28 is the last day you can register for the seminar and apply for a scholarship. I apologize for this late notice, but I just received the information. If you can't go this year, consider next year. They have been doing these very successful seminars since 1994.

Seminar workshops include topics such as understanding complicated grief, coping with new family dynamics and special issues facing children, parents, siblings and significant others. They also offer workshops that explore alternate methods of expressing grief through art, writing, music, meditation and yoga.

Special concerts, ceremonies, and tours in Washington give you a chance to get out and experience the nation’s capital. They have both traditional events such as Marine Corps Evening Parade, Pentagon tour, Arlington National cemetery and new venues this year.

Rock climbing, kayaking, walking the labyrinth and guided tours of an art museum can be used as metaphors for the grief journey. They will explore active ways of learning coping skills for grief.

If you are 18 months beyond your own loss and ready to be there for others, they offer a full day of training the day before the conference begins, May 21. You will learn more about grief, gain basic helping skills and become part of the TAPS Peer Mentor Team.

Small group settings offer gentle, supportive discussions that allow you a chance to share with others who are facing similar experiences. Some groups are topical discussions and some are reserved for specific relationships.

All these activities make for a perfect weekend, Join TAPS for a weekend of hope and courage in an atmosphere of understanding and support. Share the journey as you honor your loved ones.

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