Published On: Fri, Nov 30th, 2012

Right Path Leadership Program welcomes 2012-13 class

The Right Path Adult Leadership Program welcomed the class of 2012-13 last month. This is the third cohort of the program.

The new class includes: Kelly Bradley, from EBCI/IT; Nikki Crisp, business owner/stylist; Sky Kanott, Cherokee Youth Council; Lana Lambert, Cherokee VOC; Eddie Paul, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino; and Kevin Welch, Cherokee Cooperative Extension Service.

The group worked to created a set of core values based, the community model of the seven Cherokee Core Values. They used those principles to established ground rules for themselves as a group. The Right Path program teaches leadership skills based on selfless service to others. The group got to hear from Doug French and Eddie Hill from the Big Cover Free labor Group. Free Labor groups are the model of “Ga-du-gi,” selfless service to all. French and Hill explained that here are around 15-20 members, nine who are there regularly. Big Cove Free Labor does not receive any funds from the tribal government. They do their own fundraisers and have their own bank account. Big Cove Free Labor is supported and sustained through fundraisers like Turkey shoots. They are very proud that they are able to operate on their own.

“Free labor is something you want to do because it’s all volunteer work,” Hill said.

When asked how their chain of command works, they were quick to say that Free Labor doesn’t work like that.

“All the workers are leaders,” French responded. “There was a messenger back when there weren’t phones who would run door-to-door and told everybody where to go to help.”

The group was curious how this program will survive.

French said, “Young people start when they see their parents working and helping out, it’s good training ground for children.” he said. Both men agreed that Free Labor is good way to teach discipline to the young.  “It should be mandatory for the young ones to get that kind of experience,” said French.

– Right Path Leadership Program 

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