2023 Summer Camp Report
Location: Miyagi Prefecture
Participants: 85 campers, 9 LITs, 23 care workers, 20 camp volunteers and staff (3 sessions total)
Dates: Session 1: August 6-10 / Session 2: August 13-17 / Session 3: August 20-24
In-kind donations: KEEN, Costco, Wholesum Japan, SANOKFA
Day 1: Upon arrival, a mixture of nervousness and excitement of campers filled the campsite! Campers who had been to the camp immediately told the camp staff which activities they were looking forward to. First-time campers joined in the activities at their own pace, making friends with the children who were repeaters. Firstly, we created teams, completed orientation, and moved in tents with sleeping bags and mats. Some campers soon took the initiative to show leadership in helping out in the kitchen, others went bug hunting, and many were so energetic that they showed no signs of fatigue from the long trip with Shinkansen. On the first night, campers built their own fires and ate delicious roasted marshmallows at team fire activity, which was a wonderful time to learn more about their teammates.
“I was happy from day one to eat lots of marshmallows, yummy pasta dinners, bananas, and more!’ by camper
Day 2: The second day’s activity was a very popular one for campers as well as care workers and camp staff: stream hiking! Using both hands to climb up a waterfall, jumping in a large puddle, or bravely jumping into a waterfall, everyone cheered and supported each other, making it an impressive day of accomplishment for all.
“I was very sad that I couldn’t do the higher jumps, so I’m definitely going to jump next year!” by camper
Day 3: In the morning, campers experienced various cultures introduced by camp staff as part of the “World Tour” activity. Through hands-on experiences such as dancing, singing, local hand games, and tasting snacks, we were able to spend time with a sense of “RESPECT”. During the craft time, each of them created very nice art.
In the afternoon during cooking activity, the campers were divided into cooking teams to prepare Mirai no Mori’s traditional whole chicken cooked in dutch ovens and apple crumble. It was a time full of many “firsts”, including touching raw chicken and peeling and cutting apples. The dinner everyone made together tasted even better, and they enjoyed even the vegetables they usually don’t like!
Day 4: In the morning, we had the “MOLYMPICS” team competition, a test of teamwork skills that they built up over the last 4 days. Although there were some conflicts and tears among campers, in the end the team was able to show their sportsmanship by cheering each other on and came together as a team. In the afternoon, the campers challenged themselves to a game called “Capture the Flag”. Teams planned their strategies, and everyone ran around as fast as they could, making it a perfect activity to end the camp.
On the last night, we had a big campfire. The LITs who supported everyone lit the fire for everyone and we concluded the last night with camp songs, dances, and a short speeches of their impressions of the camp.
“It was great to work as a team and come in second at the MOLYMPICS!” by camper
“I was able to have a lot of courage at the camp. I want to be brave again to speak up for myself when it’s hard for me to make friends at school.” by camper
“I enjoyed being a “leader” in my team for the first time! I was able to challenge myself a lot and jump during stream hiking as an example for everyone! I was also happy to receive a leadership sticker from the super staff from the same team. And from now on, I want to work hard on Responsibility so I don’t forget anything!” by camper
“There were times when I felt frustrated because I was too scared for the jump at stream hiking, or because there were many campers in my team who were younger than me that I felt I had to hold back at times. But I was able to perform my favorite dance in front of everyone, overcome my fear of fire and water, and show my Kindness in many other occasions, and I was happy to receive Camper of the Camp award in the end!” by camper
Day 5: Everyone cleaned up the campsite, held a final closing ceremony, and headed home, with a souvenir of the 5 values in their hearts and matching camp T-shirts with lots of signatures on.
“I was able to see the LITs’ dependable behavior, which they usually don’t show in their daily lives. I was impressed by the way they were responsible and did their best to create a special atmosphere at camp, and was encouraged by them so much.” by care worker
“I talked with Mirai no Mori staff from various countries, cultures, and professions, and made new discoveries that I will use as energy for the future. I would like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for believing in the power of children and providing them with a place to challenge themselves.” by care worker
“I am grateful to the staff for giving us a place where we can grow together with our children. Mirai no Mori’s strong and passionate mission was amazing.” by care worker
We were able to create a lot of camp magic together again this year.
We would like to thank once again everyone who helped to make the camp a successful one.