Graduate Program

KIWL & Mirai no Mori BBQ report

Date: April 20th, 2024
Place: Mitake, Tokyo
Participants: 1 LIT, 6 Graduates, 5 Mirai no Mori staff, 25 KIWL Riders, 3 Team WildTame

With the warm weather officially starting in the Kanto area, we had BBQ lunch as a Graduate Program. We invited KIWL who will be tackling 500 km in bicycle at the end of May, raising funds for Mirai no Mori programs. 

 This was an encounter of both new and familiar faces for the LITs and graduates, most of whom will meet the riders again on June 2nd in Nagano- the last day and final destination. They have a challenge to give speeches about their journeys with Mirai no Mori, and updates on their lives. While setting up for the BBQ in the morning, they reflected on what impact they want to make with their speeches, why they want to be a part of this activity and how they want to reach their goals.

25 riders rode to meet the Mirai no Mori team in Mitake, including LIT’s and graduates, who were excited to welcome them with big smiles and a hearty lunch that they prepared throughout the morning. On the menu was chicken and beef burritos, and for dessert, フルーチェ(furuche): a sweet dish known and loved by the LITs, but a new experience for most of the international riders, who enjoyed seconds of the fruity treat.

While reflecting on their “why’s,” LITs and graduates also thought back to all of the ways the riders have supported them and Mirai no Mori. They learned that starting a movement takes effort and that there are countless ways to raise funds and spread awareness. One rider named Emmanuel gave a great example of this at the BBQ, with a charity cake he baked and sold as a personal fundraising initiative. 

The Saturday meetup ended with closing words from David, the ride leader of the day, who highlighted the amazing partnership KIWL and Mirai no Mori have built. David noted the motivation that reconnecting with LITs and Graduates brought to the riders, all during an afternoon filled with sunshine and delicious food!

The Mirai no Mori team waved all the riders goodbye, as they took on another ride back to Tokyo!  Good luck to all 46 riders in their training!

“I wanted to talk about a hobby with some of the riders so I added that I like running for self introduction. There were some people who like running who came and talked to me, we had a fun conversation!” by LIT

“During the lunch social time, I was able to get up the courage to go and speak to everyone at KIWL in English, and I enjoyed being able to communicate with them more than before. From now on, I would like to talk to them more actively so that I can learn more English vocabulary and get tips on how to speak English from people who can speak both Japanese and English.”  by Graduate

“This time I was so nervous that I could not talk to them much, and I decided to be proactive and go talk to them myself when I meet the KIWL people again on June 2nd. I will practice well and prepare for my speech in Nagano!” by Graduate

“This is my second Charity Ride with KIWL and this year’s route is much harder than last year’s, with longer rides and more elevation. Today was a great opportunity to train and reconnect with the Mirai no Mori team to remember what this is all about” by KIWL Rider

“I am so impressed that this wonderful community has the opportunity to interact in this way. It was a pleasure to spend time with you all today. ” by Team WildTame

“I was especially excited to see the new graduates. It was a relief to hear how they are each working to adjust to their new lives, even though they have their own concerns. I also look forward to their speeches!” by Camp Staff