Wednesday, May 10th, 2017
Leadership opportunities have flourished with the emergence of the Tribally owned casino. Because of this, developing new EBCI leaders is an important priority for the community. Several leadership programs, ranging in scope from young tribal members to adults, have been launched with grants from the Foundation, but until last year those programs all operated independently.
During the development of the leadership programs, the community felt that they would be more successful if they were housed together. Due to other circumstances, this was not possible. However, after searching for the right fit for the programs the Foundation collaborated with the Cherokee Boys Club, which has its own history of leadership. The resulting Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute is now the umbrella organization for the Cherokee Youth Council, Jones-Bowman Leadership Award program, and the Right Path Adult Leadership programs.
Ray Kinsland—who is deeply involved in Cherokee community service and education—was general manager of the Cherokee Boys Club for more than 50 years and is one of the few non-Cherokee to be adopted by the tribe.
He recently received The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award, presented by Joe Sam Queen at the Cherokee Boys Club. This award is the highest honor the state of North Carolina gives a civilian.
Ray was instrumental in helping to construct the new high school, loved being a sports announcer at local games, and was honored to be a graduation speaker at the high school. Now in his 80s, he continues to serve the community in many ways.
“Ray is an integral part of this community and a selfless leader,” said Carmaleta Monteith, a Cherokee elder and Jones-Bowman Leadership program founding member and advisory board member. “He is exactly what we want to instill in our leaders.”
A foster parent for many young people over the years, Ray demonstrates the qualities of a selfless leader with his humbleness, strong individual character, sense of humor, and mentoring that has produced many community leaders.
By bringing all the community leadership programs together under the Ray Kinsland Institute, there is a now a continuum of culturally based leadership programs that span a lifetime. We expect there will be cost savings and cross training that benefit all the programs.
Under this new umbrella organization, the first step is to create a strategic plan to help all the individual programs and staff members come together to help each other. There are also plans for several short-term projects as the overall plan is developed.