As a part of its 2023 programming for the Design the Future Fund, Keio held its "X-ship Survival Camp: a multi-generational co-creation leadership development experience." The event was held at the Athletic Association Yamanaka Lodge (Hirano, Yamanakako Village, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture) over three days, from Wednesday, July 26 until Friday, July 28. The goal of this program is to nurture the "X-ship qualities" that form a core aspect of Keio's mission to raise up leaders and luminaries. The camp focused on "Friendship," "Leadership," "Followership," and "Ownership," in a co-creation based integrative educational environment.
A preliminary workshop was held at Keio Yokohama Elementary School on Saturday, July 8, to help participants better understand each other, share their goals, and acquire the necessary knowledge and skills for camping, such as learning how to set up tents. A total of 36 students participated in the camp: 19 from Keio Yokohama Elementary School, 6 from Keio Shonan Fujisawa Junior High School & Senior High School, 5 from the Graduate School of System Design and Management (2 of whom are international students), 3 international students from overseas universities, and 3 students from the Keio University Rover Crew, an officially-recognized student organization. Including faculty and staff members from each of these organizations, about 50 people participated in various activities.
Participants also interacted and had an exchange through rugby with the Keio Senior High School Rugby Football Club which was also training at the Yamanaka Lodge at the same time. This initiative leveraged one of Keio's unique characteristics which is integrated education, as well as the diversity of experience and knowledge. The effectiveness of the program was ascertained through student surveys conducted before and after the event about "X-ship qualities," and through discussions on their experiences and observations.
Saturday, July 8: Preliminary Workshop
Participants gathered at Keio Yokohama Elementary School where they did a self-introduction before being divided into 5 groups with diversity as a main consideration. Following that, a workshop was conducted where participants acquired preliminary knowledge for their camp activities, set up tents to foster teamwork, and set out group objectives and the action plans to achieve them.
Wednesday, July 26: Day 1 of Camp
All participants gathered at Keio Yokohama Elementary School where they boarded a bus and departed for Yamanaka Lodge. They arrived at the site around noon and greeted the staff in charge there. After that, they toured the surrounding area to check for hazard spots. The Keio Senior High School Rugby Football Club was also lodging at the site that day. Later on in the day, the participants set up the tents, started the campfire, and cooked dinner which everyone enjoyed together. Since each group included international students from the U.S., Italy, Taiwan, and China, they were all given the task of presenting a performance related to the home countries of the international students in their respective groups. They then began discussing amongst themselves and preparing for the task. The participants also enjoyed a relaxing evening splitting watermelons and conversing around the bonfire.
In addition, on that day, the Keio Senior High School Baseball Club won the Kanagawa Prefectural Tournament and qualified for the Koshien (the National High School Baseball Championship), leading to jubilant cheers even at the Yamanaka Lodge at that moment of victory.
Thursday, July 27: Day 2 of Camp
Blessed with clear weather, everyone woke up early to do morning exercises together. After that, the participants built campfires again to make hot dogs for breakfast. The hot dogs were marked with the same branding used for the celebratory confectionery of Keio Yokohama Elementary School which welcomed its 10th anniversary this year. In addition, many of the boiled eggs made from eggs provided by local farmers had twin yolks, and many students were excited to see twin yolks for the first time. After breakfast, participants played "Kim's Game," which is a contest of memory and communication skills, and "Marshmallow Challenge," where they competed based on logical thinking and co-creation skills. Both were organized by the Keio University Rover Crew and the Graduate School of System Design and Management. In addition to the 5 groups of students, faculty and staff members also formed teams and participated in these challenges. Following that, participants joined up with the members of the Keio Senior High School Rugby Football Club who were also camping at the Yamanaka Lodge. They experienced touch football which does not involve tackling, as well as contact, tackle, line-out and kicking. More than 100 Keio students gathered to take commemorative photos.
After lunch, participants engaged in activities tailored to their individual interests, such as "outdoor games," "bamboo crafts," "geoglyph making (drawing on the ground)," and "bug catching," followed by an entomophagy (insect tasting) session for those who were interested.
Later on in the evening, the groups restarted their campfires, a practice which they had become accustomed to, and had a barbecue. At the same time, they performed songs and dances related to the countries of the international students which they had practiced over the previous two days, creating a festive atmosphere. At night, the trajectory of the International Space Station (ISS), which had just passed over the Kanto region, could be observed with the naked eye.
Friday, July 28: Day 3 of Camp
On the third and final day of the camp, the participants had breakfast together with the Keio Senior High School Rugby Football Club in the lodge's cafeteria to have a taste of the meals that the rugby club members were having during their camp. After that, starting with the tents, the participants cleaned up the entire campsite, ensuring that the site was returned to an even cleaner state than on the first day of the camp. Following that, participants formed circles to share their reflections on the camp experience, first within their groups, and then altogether as a whole. Finally, the participants bade farewell to the staff at the Yamanaka Lodge before boarding the bus back to Keio Yokohama Elementary School.
After arriving at Keio Yokohama Elementary School, participants had lunch and then tended to the tents and other camp equipment before disbanding. Many participants were reluctant to part and some students from elementary to graduate school continued to play on the grounds and with the playground equipment of Keio Yokohama Elementary School.
A follow-up with participants will be conducted in the future to evaluate the effectiveness of the X-ship Camp and to continually improve the program.
Photographer: Takeshi Kishi