Back to Nature

2022 October Back to Nature: Kikori&Rafting Report

Date: October 1, 2, 8
Place: Takao & Mitake, Tokyo
Participants: (3 days total) 29 campers, 9 care worker, 4 LITs
Sponsor: Morgan Stanley  Partner: Mori-to-Odoru, Mitake Race Rafting, cafe monaca


In October, we held the Kikori program in the forest with Autumn leaves, and a rafting program to close out the summer.

At the Kikori program, campers cut down a tree, which is the first thing they imagine when they hear the word “Kikori”.
Divided into two teams, we went a little deeper into the forest and arrived at the location of today’s activity. Taking turns using saws to cut the trunks, campers prepared for the moment when the tree would fall by holding a rope hooked to it.
After the Leader in Training participants finished cutting the trunk with the saw, Zu-yan, our Kikori partner, worked on the final toppling point, and the tree fell neatly in the direction where the children supported it with the rope.

Each camper skillfully used the saw to remove the branches from the tree.
At the end of the session, each camper cut the branches to the length of his or her choice, and then peeled the bark to make a souvenir. Some of the campers were worried, “Can you actually peeled the bark of a really hard tree?” But they were all able to do it!  It was a day full of new experiences for the campers.

“We had a sawing competition with Jeff, but I lost this time. I will try hard next time to beat him!” by a camper

“It was my first time in Mirai no Mori and my first experience to do Kikori work, but I got good at sawing and cut a lot of branches, and I’m glad I was able to spend a fun time in the forest.” by a camper

“I was worried about the children’s ability to use the saws, but I was impressed by how well they used them. After returning home, they happily shared their memories with their own care workers, and we feel that it was an irreplaceable experience for each one of them.” by a care worker

“I myself did not know what to imagine when I heard about the kikori experience, but together with the campers, I was able to experience the various works required to create a healthy forest. I look forward to watching the changes in the forest in future Kikori programs.” by a program volunteer

In the rafting programs, we were joined by two care homes who were looking forward to a great end to the summer. The amount of water was higher this time than in September, and many campers took on the challenge of jumping quite high. Each camper worked toward the goals they set for themselves, such as being kind to everyone on the team, taking a leadership role by rescuing anyone who fell out of the raft, and being courageous enough to jump from the highest point.

The campers, who we saw for the first time since the Spring, seemed to be especially excited about the program, and even after the rafting was over, many of them said, “I still want to paddle more!”

It was their very first time to enjoy rafting for the campers from another care home, that started joining Mirai no Mori programs since this Summer. Even so, the campers who were repeat participants for the second or third time were very engaging, and encouraging for others, and it was impressive to see how repeaters can have a great influence for new campers. Following their lead, the first-time campers gradually became accustomed to the atmosphere of Mirai no Mori, and each team took on the challenge of a great rafting adventure.

Thank you very much for everyone’s cooperation.