Back to Nature

2021 December Back to Nature Christmas Program Report

Place: Mitake, Tokyo
Participants: 37 campers, 3 LIT’s, 11 Care Workers from 4 homes, and 16 staff/volunteers (+Presents were sent to 2 homes with 70 children who were not able to join the program)
Sponsor: Morgan Stanley
In-kind donors: Morgan Stanley (winter cards and craft supplies) / Costco (snacks) / HARIBO (snacks) / EQUIQ.K.K. (presents) / Robert Walters (presents) / RICHEMONT JAPAN LIMITED (CARTIER) (snacks and craft supplies) / Namako sensei (cake)

We celebrated another end of year with our Back to Nature Christmas special! For the safety of the children and staff, we decided to hold this program one care home at a time once again, over the course of two weekends.

Following past year’s program, we continued with the theme of “giving,” and to teach the children that Christmas is not only a time to receive presents but to give and share something with people dear to you.

We started off the program strong with children already full of energy and excited to see familiar faces of the staff and fellow campers. In the morning, after creating our teams for the day, we had a Christmas quiz challenge, followed by an indoor and outdoor activity to estimate the length, weight, and temperature of various objects and areas. Using their knowledge and creativity the children worked together to come up with answers, which many turned out to be very close to the answers! It was great to see the children step up and take leadership roles, keeping in mind their responsibilities, and witnessing their individual growth.

After everyone enjoyed some warm delicious stew for lunch, we continued to let our creativity and personality shine through craft making. Bags full of pine cones and acorns were donated by generous volunteers who took their time to hand pick them from the outdoors. These were very popular and we had children making wreaths, ornaments, Christmas trees, and more! They also made cards and stockings with their loved ones in mind so they could give it to them and show their appreciation. 

Finally, we had a Christmas party with music, dancing, snacks from various countries, and homemade apple cider! Mirai no Mori had also prepared a small gift for everyone, and we took this time to reflect on our happiest moments of the year and our goals for next year as everyone was going to be a grade older, some even starting junior high school.

By the end of the day, everyone was reluctant to say goodbye, but it was a great close to the year to be able to gather together once again. Many of them looked back on the summer programs and other back to nature programs we had throughout the year and we are delighted to know that it was one of their happiest moments in the year! Also, thanks to everyone’s generosity, we were able to deliver the presents to the care homes that were unable to join this time.

“It was the first time for me to use a glue gun to attach so many pine cones together, and I was very nervous, but I was happy with how it turned out. I want to decorate it on our front door so that everyone can see them!” by camper

“During the Christmas party time, I was able to try snacks that I had never eaten before, and they were delicious. The apple cider was warm and I wanted to drink it again soon!” by camper

“In the game where we tried to figure out weights and lengths of objects as a team, it was interesting to learn about the children’s calculation methods and new ways of thinking. In the craft time, all the children created very unique works of art, and they were true artists! I feel that the activities at Mirai-no-Mori have become even more important occasions for the children to experience fun and learn new things, as they do not have many opportunities to do so with Corona virus.” by a care worker

We would like to thank everyone for their continued support for making this event possible and creating a positive impact on these children’s lives. We wish you a safe and wonderful holiday season!