Back to Nature

2024 February Back to Nature: Snow Report

Date: February 17~18 & 24~25, 2024
Place: Tsunan, Niigata
Participants: (4-day total) 47 campers, 14 big campers, 8 LITs, 2 graduates, 9 Mirai no Mori staff, 7 KEEN staff

Following on from January, we held another Snow Programs in February. Once again, we had a great group of repeater campers, reliable LIT leaders to lead everyone, and energetic big campers. And graduates as kitchen volunteers joined us both weeks.

Repeater campers were also very helpful during everyone’s favorite snow play time. It was impressive to see them inviting scared campers to sled together and teaching them how to sled.

And at one of the programs, we were able to invite our long-time partner KEEN to join our program for a snow-surfing activity. We were again honored to have a professional snow-surfer Atsushi Gomyo san join us as well! With the kind help of the KEEN staff, the campers got better at surfing quickly, and even when they fell down, they tried again and again. We were amazed how creative campers were as they sat on the yukiita or rode two people on it. This season’s snow program (4 sessions in total) was supported by donations from KEEN through their “Giving Tuesday” event last December. Thank you again to all of you for your cooperation.

After a delicious dinner, we went out for a night hike! This time we were lucky with the clear weather and were able to view the stars filling the sky and the beautiful moon. The sky we looked up at was so beautiful and we were able to share a special time together.

There are many situations in the overnight program that can challenge campers to work with ‘responsibility’ in a different environment than usual. In order to enjoy participating in fun activities in nature, we must take care of our own gear and equipment. We finish the food we served by ourselves. We clean up after ourselves. With the support of repeater campers and LITs, we were able to see them taking on challenges with a willingness to give it a try in many situations.

Campers showed a lot of courage during the reflection time as well. It was very impressive to see so many campers sharing their comments in front of everyone. We ended the awesome two days full of memories with a slideshow filled with the best photos.

“I was nervous about being the leader for the first time, but since I was the leader, I wanted my team to come together, so I did my best. I was happy to see our team becoming one so well!” by camper

“It was my first night hike and I was exited because other campers told me it was great when they joined. I was surprised that I could walk without a flashlight in the dark.” by camper

“I raised my hand to lead the whole LIT team this time. Based on my previous LIT experiences, I was able to challenge myself because I could see my strengths. There was some time of frustration, but I got to feel a big accomplishment at the end.” by LIT

“Since this was my last program as an LIT, I wanted to make the camp the best it could be, so I was able to be proactive and take action from a variety of perspectives!” by LIT

“I participated as a kitchen volunteer, and it was a great opportunity to talk with familiar staff about my nerves and worries right before starting working in the society. I also thought the teamwork and motivation of the LITs was amazing.” by graduate

“One of the campers, who normally doesn’t show much emotion, told me that he was moved to tears during the night hike as he laid in the snow looking up at the starry sky and listening to the stories. I was reminded once again that Mirai no Mori and special experiences in the outdoors have a great impact on children.” by big camper

Thanks to the support of many of you, we were able to successfully complete this year’s Snow Program! Thank you very much for your generous and ongoing support.