2022 Summer Camp Report
Location: Miyagi Prefecture
Participants: 29 campers, 7 leader trainees, 7 care home staff, 9 volunteers and staff (2 sessions total)
Dates: Session 1: August 1-4 / Session 2: August 5- 8
In-kind donations: KEEN, Colombia, Wholesum Japan, Costco
In August, we were able to hold shorter overnight summer camps for 2 care homes that requested them. This summer reaffirmed the impact of the longer overnight programs through wholesome learning opportunities Mirai no Mori creates in nature.
Day 1: Upon arrival, the first campsite in three years was filled with the voices of cheerful campers! First-time campers and returning campers alike finished orientation with a mixture of a little nervousness and excitement, and prepared for tenting with sleeping bags and mats. Some campers immediately showed leadership by volunteering to help, while others gently showed younger campers how to use their sleeping bags. On the first night, we had our annual team fire and roasted marshmallows.
“Marshmallows are the best! It was the first time in my life to sleep in a tent, and although it was difficult to use a sleeping bag, I slept fine!” by a camper
“It was a very precious experience to be able to roast marshmallows on a real fire. I was impressed by the way the campers who were a little scared were able to join in the fun atmosphere and participate together until the end of the day.” by a care worker
Day 2: The long-awaited challenge of stream hiking! Using both hands to climb up a waterfall, soaking in a large puddle, searching for creatures, jumping into a waterfall basin, and more- this was an impressive activity that gave each camper a sense of accomplishment as they enjoyed and challenged themselves to their heart’s content.
“I was so happy to finally be able to jump, even though it was scary!” by a camper
“I was very impressed to see so many first-timers taking the first step, working hard to finish the activity, and having the courage to jump even though they said they were scared! I also truly enjoyed myself, and it was great to see everyone taking on the challenge and cheering each other on!” by a care worker
Day 3: In the morning, we experienced Mexican and Singaporean culture as part of the “World Tour.” We were able to spend time with a sense of respect through hands-on experiences such as a language guessing game and tasting spicy mango snacks.
“The Mexican mango snack was very NEW for me, but I was happy that I tried. And I was happy that I correctly guessed the Singaporean language during the quiz!” by a camper
“I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn about other countries from a different angle. After this camp, if Mexico or Singapore comes up in the news, I will definitely remember it and try to talk about it with the children.” by a care worker
Afterwards, the campers were divided into teams of their choice and made lunch. “Team Sandwich” was in charge of making and seasoning the ingredients. Through a little tasting, they were able to make something everyone said was delicious. Campers on “Team Desserts” made chocolate banana pineapple pancakes. The campers thought about which flavors to mix and how to decorate them, and served up a delicious dessert.
“I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get the flavors right the first time, but I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious they turned out.” by a camper
“It was a valuable experience for the children to be able to make their own meal and desserts from scratch, instead of only helping.” by a care worker
In the afternoon, the campers tried the “Molmypic” team competition. Because they put so much effort in, there were some conflicts between campers in the teams, but in the end, the teams were able to work as one on the relays and running games.
“I was disappointed that we didn’t win, but I was happy when the other teams cheered for us. I hope to win next year!” by a camper
“I was very impressed to see how even the children who usually complain about the game followed up on each other’s mistakes and helped each other out during the game. I feel that this was an opportunity for them to develop a sense of teamwork.” by a care worker
In the evening, the campers enjoyed their last night around the campfire, singing camp songs.
Day 4: Everyone cleaned up the campsite that had been their temporary home, held a final closing ceremony, and headed home with the 5 values in mind, a souvenir of their hard work.
“I learned to respect nature, English, the ability to get along with others, and how to interact with friends at Mirai no Mori. If I can come back to Mirai no Mori again, I want to learn many things with everyone! I love the people of Mirai no Mori who support me in happy times and sad times. I am glad that they always welcome me with a smile. I enjoyed every single day of my four days at Mirai no Mori very, very much.” by a camper
“I was a kitchen leader at the summer camp, and I was very happy to be able to communicate with the kitchen staff in both English and Japanese. I felt a sense of accomplishment when I was able to work together in Session 2 to do things I could not do well in Session 1. Many campers came to help me in the kitchen and we prepared food together. It was nice to hear people saying, “This is good, I want another one!”” by a LIT
“I really enjoyed talking with the various staff members and the LIT high school students. Above all, I realized how important it is to participate not as a “staff member” but as a “big camper,” and that if I truly enjoy myself, the children will enjoy themselves even more.” by a care worker
We would like to thank once again all of you who were so flexible in dealing with the repeated changes and helped to bring the camp to a successful conclusion.