Back to Nature

2024 June Back to Nature: Crafts Day Report with Oracle

Date: June 16, 2024
Place: Mitake, Tokyo
Participants:  3 campers, 1 big camper, 5 LITs, 8 Mirai no Mori staff, 4 sponsors
Sponsor: Oracle

Crafts are a perfect activity to do during the rainy season in June in Japan, and we at Mirai no Mori take crafts to the next level at our Back to Nature program. With the generous support of our sponsor, Oracle, campers, LITs and volunteers gathered in Mitake on June 16th for a day full of creativity and teamwork!

We started the day with orientation, in which participants were divided into teams, mixing people of all ages, personalities and backgrounds. The Team Leader role was assigned to campers, who challenged themselves to make decisions and take on initiatives throughout the day for their team. To initiate team bonding, we had a quiz about crafts, which included fascinating facts about color theory, English vocabulary, and the characteristics of materials such as sandpaper and a camper favorite—the glue gun. 

Despite some suspicious clouds in the sky in the early morning, we were lucky to enjoy the first half of our program outdoors with no rain. Surrounded by the soothing sounds of Tama River and inspired by famous Nature Artist Andy Goldsworthy, participants used their imagination to create art from branches, stones, dried leaves, fallen fruit, and more. One team even found a friendly snail and made it a cozy home, with a bed, stairs and even walls! For lunch time, everyone gathered around our beautiful nature art pieces to enjoy our bento boxes, realizing that creating art is more tiring than we thought—everyone was hungry and ready to refuel!

In the afternoon, we moved indoors to work on individual craft projects. Campers brought materials from outside and combined them with various indoor materials such as yarn, markers, colored paper, ribbon, paper plates and glue. Throughout the session, participants showed kindness by sharing materials with each other and sharing tips on how to make specific crafts: one LIT led the God’ Eye station, teaching volunteers and campers how to make the well-loved craft from Summer Camp. 

The diversity of backgrounds and inspirations led to a wide range of creative projects. Some participants took longer than others to figure out what they wanted to create, but by the end, everyone had something to show off during the show-and-tell session. Campers displayed courage as they shared their creations in front of everyone, including masks and accessories to become their favorite superheroes. LITs made pendants and string telephones; volunteers made character portraits, animal sculptures, friendship bracelets and new decorations for their homes. 

We ended the day with reflection time. Some campers reflected on crafts that didn’t work as well, while others celebrated the methods that helped bring their ideas to life. Everyone left with their work as mementos, a tangible reminder of a fantastic day spent embracing creativity in the beautiful setting of Mitake. We extend a heartfelt thank you to Oracle for sponsoring this wonderful event.

“During nature art, I found and touched a snail for the first time, it was cool. My team made it a house with branches, leaves and stones. It was hard to build the walls but I am happy with how it turned out” by camper

“I wasn’t able to create the character that I originally wanted to make during nature art, so I want to try again next time. But I really like the bamboo rings I made during crafts- I have one for every finger!” by camper

“It was difficult to find colors to use outside during nature art, so the result did not end up like I imagined, but I still enjoyed making it with my team. Also, during orientation, my team got all the quiz answers right!” by camper

“This was my second time participating in a Mirai no Mori program, and I enjoyed it again as much as the campers. I am looking forward to attending the Summer Camp as well!” by big camper

“I’ve used a glue gun before but I had some difficulty today and burnt myself. Next time, I will learn from my mistakes and work on my technique when using it.” by LIT

“I have been to a couple of Mirai no Mori programs and this time there were few campers than usual, but I was impressed at the high energy everyone had throughout the day. Each camper had a strong personality that also shone through.” by sponsor