Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Member

Dr. Brent Hawkins, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Jasmine Townsend

Committee Member

Dr. Marieke Van Puymbroeck


The involvement of United States military forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other areas has led to the death of nearly 7,000 service members (Defense Causality Analysis System, 2017). Although there are a number of recreation-based programs that serve military families, little research has been conducted on such programs. The purpose of this study was to describe the experiences of military families participating in a three-day recreation-based program, the Families of Fallen Soldiers camp, serving bereaved military families. This study also sought to develop an understanding of the meaning attributed to the camp experience and better understand why families elected to participate in the camp. Using a case-study approach, this study found recreation-based programs serving bereaved military families are perceived by families as meaningful, have the ability to enhance relationships and social support, serve as a respite, and allow families to engage in family leisure. Implications for practitioners working with bereaved military families are provided.