How old must campers be to participate?
Youths in grades 1–9 participate as campers, and youths in grades 10–12 participate as Leaders in Training (LIT).
How are the campers chosen?
We leave the decision of which youths will join our camp to the care homes we partner with, as it depends on their schedule and home situation.
Initially, we were introduced to eight homes, but now we work with 13 Kanto homes and 9 Tohoku homes.
When we have extra funding, we gather a list of care homes and call each one individually to ask if they have anyone who they recommend for the program.
The key here is to create an ongoing relationship, so we grow at a pace that allows us to confidently say “See you again!” at our future programs.
Do the care homes have to pay for anything?
All the expenses for campers, LITs, and care workers are covered by us, so they can participate free of charge.
Do care workers always participate in your programs?
Yes. Care workers play a crucial role in sustaining our camp magic throughout the year.
They share the memorable experience together with our campers so that they can bring it back with them to their daily lives. This way, when campers face any challenges after camp, the words of the care workers will always be there to remind them how courageous they were.
Why the name “Mirai no Mori”?
みらいの森 ~ Mirai no Mori ~ Forests of the Future
Mirai no Mori wishes to convey a sense of hope for a better future that begins in the outdoors, and we chose a name to reflect that.
How big is the program?
For our Summer and Winter camps, we usually have 20–35 campers, 3–8 care workers, and 15–20 Mirai no Mori staff.
For our Back to Nature programs, we have 15–30 campers, 2–5 care workers, 3–5 Mirai no Mori staff, 2–6 partners for workshops, and about 20 corporate volunteers.
What challenges do you face when working with the youths?
We have five values that we follow: kindness, respect, leadership, responsibility, and courage.
Though we at Mirai no Mori are professionally trained to empower youths, we are not certified or trained counselors. For that reason, care workers are always there to support us properly when something technical or serious happens.