Get to Know Mirai no Mori Series #8 – Achievements, Challenges, and the Future
Through this series, we deliver insights into the institutional care system in Japan, children in it, and Mirai no Mori’s mission. As a series finale, we will tell you about what we have achieved so far, the current challenges we face, and the future for Mirai no Mori. We hope you find it interesting and informative.
Series＃8：Achievements, Challenges, and the Future
Since becoming an Approved Specified Nonprofit Organization in 2013, Mirai no Mori has hosted numerous overnight and day programs and welcomed over 2000 campers and 500 care workers. We started with just summer and winter camp programs. However, after seeing the benefit of a regular and continuous program, we added monthly one-day programs called Back to Nature. And we ask corporate sponsors to join the program as volunteers to act as role models for the children to expand their horizons further. We have also developed Leaders in Training program for the high school students, who are just a few years away from their independence. The program focuses on gaining practical skills to be successful in society, such as communication and project management skills.
In recent years the ratio of repeating campers at programs has been on the rise. We now know many children who have been with us for several years, and a few children who have started joining our program in their elementary school are now in the Leader in Training program. Our relationship with the care homes have also been strengthening. We have been creating and incorporating a system to lower the burden on care workers and cater to each home’s needs. Mirai no Mori has also been growing alongside the children.
However, we still have plenty of room for improvement. While care homes do their best to accommodate children’s interests in Mirai no Mori, some children have not been able to join our programs due to personal concerns, such as issues with traveling on public transportation or spending a day in unfamiliar place. Furthermore, while we try to reduce the burden as much as possible, joining our programs still requires additional workload for the care workers and strain their already busy schedule, resulting in restrictions on who can join the program. These limitations mean that we are not being able to provide the programs to the children who would benefit from and need the experiential learning opportunities the most.
We will continue to strive to become a place that is easy to access and join for all the children and care workers. In addition to our current line-up, we are considering a new style of program that can be held near or at the care homes to allow more children to access our programs. We are also aware that a stable and familiar environment is crucial for children’s continuous development. In order to secure such an environment, Mirai no Mori has started to consider acquiring a campsite of our own. While many aspects of the future are still uncertain, our team remains committed to supporting the children in unfairly disadvantaged situations. And as long as there are children who are looking forward to joining our programs, Mirai no Mori will continue to evolve and grow with them.
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Thank you very much for reading this newsletter series to the end. If you would like to know more about Mirai no Mori or the institutional care system in Japan, please let us know. We would love to hear from you. And as always, thank you very much for your continuous support.