Weekend "Back to Nature program"

by NPO Mirai no Mori
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Weekend "Back to Nature program"
Weekend "Back to Nature program"
Weekend "Back to Nature program"
Weekend "Back to Nature program"
Weekend "Back to Nature program"
Weekend "Back to Nature program"
Weekend "Back to Nature program"
Weekend "Back to Nature program"
Weekend "Back to Nature program"
Weekend "Back to Nature program"
Weekend "Back to Nature program"
Weekend "Back to Nature program"
Weekend "Back to Nature program"
Care home where children live
Care home where children live

While we have been postponing our outdoor programs for campres, we were able to hold some online company visit program for high school students.

This program aims to help the children with their preparation for their independence while under various restrictions and limited learning opportunities during the pandemic. We also had one of our graduates join us, who is currently in her second year in university.

After a quick introduction, employees of the company gave us a simple and easy to understand explanation of financial industry and the company itself. They used examples that were familiar to all of us, and there were many good questions from the students, expanding their knowledge about the industry and the society. After the explanation, students had chance to ask more personal questions regarding the work, career path, and what motivates them. Each of the employees told us about their own experiences and gave students many great advice. They reflected at the end on what they have learned through this program.

“I now have better idea on what a “company” actually is. It was great to learn about the financial industry. I now have one more option to think about for my career.”

“I’m in my second year of university now, and I felt pressured to decide on my career path and where to work. However, after listening to everyone’s stories, I’ve learned that I don’t have to decide right away because everyone goes through many twists and turns before settles into their profession.

This program had not only given the students new perspectives for their career, but also a chance to practice online communication, which they will require as they prepare for their independence in these restricted times. 

We are committed to our mission to provide life-changing experiences for the marginalized youth. 

Their own rooms
Their own rooms

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Snowshoeing adventure in 2020
Snowshoeing adventure in 2020

Dear Supporters,

We hope this note finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe.

It was the first time in 5 years we started our new year without a Winter Camp. We certainly missed welcoming and seeing campers challenging themselves in the winter wonderland. However, it also gave us an opportunity to rethink our methods and strategize for the year to come. 

First and foremost, we remain committed to our mission to empower the youth we serve. They will need “life skills”, more than ever, as they enter society on their own in these uncertain times. While our usual outdoor programs are being canceled under the state of emergency, we continue to prepare for when we can resume them safely. We will also continue to explore different ways to reach out and support these deserving children.

We heard from care workers that they have been working hard to maintain connections to the outside world and that they, too, have been exploring and using new methods with their children. Together with the people on the ground and our supporters and volunteers, Mirai no Mori will keep moving forward and continue to support the children we serve for a brighter future.

We are able to continue to serve marginalized youth in Japan, all because of generous donations and support from people like you. We cannot thank you enough. As we continue our journey to provide more unique learning opportunities for the children, we deeply appreciate your kind and continuous support for Mirai no Mori. We hope all of you stay safe and healthy in this new year.

Fun in the snow in 2020
Fun in the snow in 2020
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Hiking with nature map
Hiking with nature map

Summer Program Update

As an alternative to our usual sleepaway Summer Camps, we hosted Summer Day Programs in Tokyo in early August. Campers made the most of this time to be outside, embrace nature, play with their peers, and be as creative as possible. We had a variety of activities such as hiking, river play, nature crafts, many fun field games, and team activities. We had 8 program staff, most of which being repeat staff, and 4 Leaders In Training also joined to create a safe environment and lots of learning opportunities for the campers.

“I had so much fun running around with my new friends. I am already looking forward to joining the next camps and programs!” – Camper
 
“It was really great to be able to bring children to the outdoor program during these restricted times. I felt the changes and development in children throughout the day. I will come back again!” – Care Worker
 
“I was happy to see a camper who has been with Mirai no Mori for 4 years. It was impressive to see him showing the leadership and being kind to his teammates, when he would have given up a few years ago. I could see him feeling comfortable and safe to challenge himself at Mirai no Mori.” – Program Staff
 
We were able to host this Summer program only with the full understanding of everyone involved. We are proud to say that all the participants had valuable learning experiences during these difficult times. With the safety of every participant being our top priority, we will continue to communicate with care homes and adapt our programs as necessary with their changing circumstances. And we will remain committed to our mission of serving children in care homes.  Thank you very much for your support.
River play - "Splash Me" challenge
River play - "Splash Me" challenge
Staff - we are a team!
Staff - we are a team!
God's eye - nature craft
God's eye - nature craft
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Activity Kit
Activity Kit

From the entire Mirai no Mori team, we hope this note finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe during these trying times. 

First and foremost, we wanted to assure you that Mirai no Mori remains committed to our mission, and we are working on creative solutions to continue to deliver support to the children we serve, in such a way as to also maintain proper safety procedures.
 
We have been in close contact with the care homes to stay updated on their situation and needs. While the specific needs of each child in each home are different, many have told us that staying indoors has raised the children’s stress levels, and many homes are concerned about the long term impact on children’s development due to quarantine and school cancellations and resulting social isolation.

Mirai no Mori Activity Kit
 
To help care homes address these needs, we developed the “Mirai no Mori Activity Kit” a set of activities and educational materials to be sent directly to the care homes in our network. The kit includes video messages from recent camp staff and volunteers from around the world, some of our regular camp activities modified for the care home environment, and other fun activities to keep them active and engaged.
 
It is our hope that these activities provide a connection to the outside world, new routines within their constrained daily lives, and the opportunity to continue with their experiential learning. The activities are designed to be children-led and require minimal supervision from the care workers, hopefully delivering the added goal of reducing care worker stress levels, too.

We have received some wonderful messages from the care workers and the children.

  • “While schools are still closed and we cannot go outdoors, these activities were great fun and something new for a change.” – a care worker
  • “Thank you for the great songs. I like speaking English and singing, so it was perfect. Everyone was joining in the activities and we were all having fun and talking together. Thank you so much for the wonderful challenges.” – middle school camper
  • “Watching the videos from the camp staff I haven’t seen in awhile made my day. I would love to see some more!” – elementary school camper
  • “We played a lot with the activity kit! We sang too!” – elementary school camper
  • “The Activity kit was fun. I want to see everyone again.” – elementary school camper

We also started the Camp Experience Rental Set that allows them to experience camping in their yards. The set includes a tent, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and a cooker set. This activity encourages children to be independent and to work together. It is also a great opportunity for Mirai no Mori repeaters to take on leadership roles. 

 

2020 Summer Program
As for our main program, 4night-5day Summer Camp, after careful consideration of the information provided by the government and various authorities, as well as ongoing discussions we have had with many care workers, we have regretfully decided to cancel our Summer Camp this year. The decision was difficult but, given the current circumstances, it was unavoidable.
 
Knowing the children were looking forward to the camp, and for some this was their last chance to join the summer camp, instead we will host day-camp programs in the Tokyo area to continue our children’s experiential learning. We are also taking this as an opportunity to improve our day programs, in order to provide continuous impact to more children by reevaluating the program contents and establishing new ways of communication. We will not be able to provide our traditional 4-night 5-day residential camp program, but we will continue to provide comprehensive educational experiences for children in care homes which will equip them with essential life skills.
As many extracurricular activities at school and care homes are being cancelled, the children are losing the opportunity to gain valuable skills and knowledge through experiences, not to mention their mental health is also at risk. Despite these situations, the fact does not change that the children are still required to move out of their care homes at the age of 18 and expected to be completely independent. For this reason, the lives of children and their access to learning opportunities cannot be put on hold.
Please allow us to keep you posted on our new programs.
Activity Kit Thank you cards
Activity Kit Thank you cards
Mirai no Mori team
Mirai no Mori team
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Date: Saturday, February 29th
Location: Takao
Participants: 13 campers, 3 care workers, 5 LITs, 8 corporate volunteers, 9 Mirai no Mori staff, 2 volunteers

Program: 

For our Winter Back to Nature program, our partners from Mori to Odoru guided us on how to make a beautiful forest. At our 6th KIKORI program, together we engaged the children, our leaders in training (LITs), and the community partners while taking a holistic development approach.
Our day in the woods started with ice breaker games and team activities. Then we move to our program area in the deeper woods, and our first activity was to tidy up the forest floor by collecting the fallen trees and pruning shrubs.
All the teams worked together really well, and soon the forest with little sunlight became more open, brighter space.
The second activity after lunch required to use the collected tree branches to make “Shigarami,” which function as weir to help enrich the soil. Each team had a significant role in making this weir. Some were in awe learning, how everything that happens in the woods has a special reason and is all connected. Others enjoy forest bathing and/or just the opportunity of reconnecting with other team members. 
The LITs participated in this program as team leaders of teams. They were encouraging and allowed everyone to be responsible while still having fun.

“It was just a few hours, but I was happy that we made a big progress and made the forest more beautiful!” by camper

“Since last April, I had many opportunities to be team leaders, and I believe I did the best this time to lead my team. I am happy and gave me confidence.” by LIT

“A grade 1 camper impacted me with how well she was sawing the big piece of wood and working so hard, with the great support from her LIT team leader.” by corporate sponsor 

This program wouldn’t have happened without the help of our partners and the continuous support of our sponsor. 
Thank you very much and we look forward to coming back again in July!

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Organization Information

NPO Mirai no Mori

Location: Minato-ku, Tokyo - Japan
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Mirai_no_Mori
Project Leader:
Kozue Oka
Minato-ku, Japan
$15,080 raised of $20,000 goal
 
142 donations
$4,920 to go
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