Why do you support Mirai no Mori? vol.6 with Kappy

Series #6 with Kappy, Mirai no Mori program graduate

As Mirai no Mori celebrates its 10th anniversary, we have been interviewing our supporters from various fields to share their “voices” with you. As valued partners who have walked together with us, they share their encounters with Mirai no Mori and the reasons for their continued support in these interviews.

We are pleased to feature in this interview Kappy, a graduate of the LIT program who has participated in Mirai no Mori almost every year since the third grade and will graduate from high school in the spring of 2023. LIT stands for Leader in Training. The Leader in Training Program is an annual program for high school students focusing on “self-reliance” that began in FY2017. Participants participate in monthly outdoor programs as staff members, serving on the side of providing support to others rather than being supported. Through their experiences as leaders there and through workshops such as project management and public speaking, they acquire skills that can be useful after they leave their care homes.

We asked Kappy, who is entering a vocational school this year and doing his best with his new life, to talk about Mirai no Mori.

Please give us a brief self-introduction.

My name is Kappy. I was given this name because I look like a capybara, and my nickname as an LIT member was “Kappy.” I have been studying control technology at a vocational school since this spring, while working part-time in the restaurant industry four times a week to make ends meet. My hobby is watching romance anime.

How did you come across Mirai no Mori?

When I was in the third grade of elementary school, a staff member at the care home recommended it to me. At first, I joined the camp with a light heart, thinking that it looked like a fun camp, but then I thought, “Let’s go again next year! Let’s go again!” I got more and more hooked. I enjoyed participating as a camper until my junior year, but after entering high school, as a participant in the leadership training program, I became more interested in being the one to provide the program to the campers and wanting everyone to enjoy it as much as I had enjoyed it.

What is your most memorable experience as a camper in a program you have participated in?

My most enjoyable experience was the summer camp I participated in when I was a junior in middle school. Every year I received the “Camper of the Day” award, but that year it was not me who received the award, but a staff member from the facility, and I was very disappointed. I was disappointed that I did not get it this year, but I received the award as the “Legend” who enjoyed the program the most on the last day. Even during my time as a camper, the rules I made and the games I brought with me were used in the next program, and it became like a Mirai no Mori tradition. I have since become a self-recognized “Legend” for enjoying Mirai no Mori more than anyone else. I am also very proud that I was the one who named the Mirai no Mori Olympics, an inter-team activity at the summer camp, the “Molympics”.

What is your fondest memory as a Leader in Training participant and what have you learned?

There is an interview-based selection process to participate in LIT, so I showed my enthusiasm and won the participation. After participating in the program, I was very impressed by the fact that campers always seemed to sparkle in every program. And as an LIT, I also felt that I was able to contribute to making campers have a good time by being a mood-maker and energizing others.

However, I struggled when I was assigned to be the team leader for the weekend day program, and it did not go well. There were many campers, and it was difficult to organize them, and I wondered if I was not very good at being a leader. However, by trying again and again, I became able to think for myself and take the initiative before being told what to do. At my current part-time job, I can use what I have learned through that experience in my daily life, such as voluntarily restocking the warehouse when I notice that a product is about to run out of stock.

What do you find attractive about the Mirai no Mori program?

In my daily life, I am not able to show myself, and I often hold back in my relationships, but when I participate in the program, I am able to show my true self.

What did you learn from participating in the Mirai no Mori program?

I realized that if I try something that I have no experience in, it will be useful for my future someday. In the Mirai no Mori program, I challenged myself to greet strangers, interact with people from different cultures and values, and work on a project as a team. Before that, I was shy and very uncomfortable talking to strangers, but now I am able to interact with any person without fear. I feel that Mirai no Mori is a place where I can discover new possibilities for myself.

How do you want to be involved with Mirai no Mori in the future?

I would like to pass on what I have experienced to children of future generations long after I graduate. I would like to continue to be a role model for them, almost like a legend. Looking back, the time I spent with Mirai no Mori flew by, but most of my youth was spent at Mirai no Mori. To the campers and leader trainees who will participate in Mirai no Mori in the future, I would like to say, “Enjoy the moment to the fullest.”

What would you like to do in the future?

I would like to visit World Heritage sites in Japan, and in about 10 years, I would like to visit World Heritage sites overseas. In fact, I visited the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima in January as a project of the LIT program. At that time, I learned that the U.S. side dropped the atomic bomb because they wanted the war to end as soon as possible. Through these experiences, I learned that not all my ideas are correct and that there are other ways of looking at things. I would like to continue to discover new possibilities for myself through new places, new things, and new people I meet.

At Mirai no Mori, we believe that there is great significance in children’s continued participation in our programs. In order to continue to provide a safe place for children to learn and grow, we need your continued support.
We invite you to join the Mirai no Mori community as a monthly supporter so that together we can continue to provide children with opportunities to gain life skills.

We look forward to you joining us as a monthly supporter so that we can continue to help as many children as possible to grow happily, fruitfully, and independently.

Series #1 with Rob Williams, co-founder of Knights in White Lycra

Series #2 with Reina, Mirai no Mori program graduate

Series #3 with Dave Paddock, co-founder of Mirai no Mori & president of English Adventure

Series #4 with Akiko Suzuki, from English Hiking

Series #5 with Daigo Shibata, from Mitake Race Rafting