Leadership Initiation Project

A way of life to nurture connections. . .

Stone WheelMany people in our modern society so desperately want to live lives full of connection and love, but don’t know how to start. We often feel separate from nature, from community, and from our true selves. We want the Earth to return to balance – but how can it if we don’t have balance within ourselves?

The Leadership Initiation Project provides mentoring to help people regain balance in all parts of their being (heart, mind, body, and spirit).
The project’s aim is to teach individuals Advanced Connective Practices and routines. These highly refined practices follow the ancient rhythms of life; they provide a natural template for building and maintaining balance and connection in oneself, within families, and within community.
Participants learn about the elemental and universal principles of natural rituals, and how to directly apply these principles to their lives. All participants have an opportunity to partake in 8 different authentic nature-based rituals, led with integrity by extremely qualified Mentors.
The Leadership Initiation Project has 4 levels. Each level takes approximately 1 year to complete.
Level 1 The Vision Initiation  is the first step. Click the link for more information on year 1.
Level 2 initiates become Helpers (Assistants) working with mentors to apply understandings developed in the 1st level.
Level 3 initiates begin to lead Advanced Connection Practices and ceremonies with direct oversight of Mentors.
Level 4 initiates develop their ability to teach new initiates using ancient Mentoring techniques (Helpers Society Mentoring Certification)  


fire-croppedCurrent Offerings: Leadership Initiation Project Levels 2-4

The program is scheduled to run for 8 months. During this time the participants will have a total of 5 personal mentoring calls, a once-a-month group mentoring call (8 total), and the opportunity to attend gatherings. During these gatherings the knowledge and understanding learned during the mentoring calls will be put into practice and demonstrated.

This project is designed for those who are called to develop their connections and to be in service to the world as Grief transformation leaders. This is also a powerful journey for those searching to clarify their personal life visions and work in the world.

  Pathway Components:

          • 4 Personal Mentoring calls with Salvatore Gencarelle

          • 8 LIP Group Mentoring calls 

          • 9 months of Village Talk weekly group mentoring calls (Tuesdays; choose from 11am, 4pm or 7pm Pacific weekly call times – recordings are also provided if you can’t make a call)

          • Gatherings- Participants can choose three gatherings in California (2 long weekends and one week long) or a week long gathering in North Carolina. Sal we also be supporting gatherings in Canada and the UK and if you have a group and would like to organize a gathering in your region in conjunction with this project, contact [email protected]

Stick medicine wheel AOM 20142017 Program:

Group Calls are

1st Thursday each month (except for Sept) at 5:00 – 6:30 pm

· March – 2

· April – 6

· May – 4

· June – 1

· July – 6

· Aug – 3

· Aug – 31

· Oct – 5



March – 9 – 12 (Starts 5pm ends at noon)

June – 5 – 11 (Starts 5pm ends at noon)

Oct – 12 – 15 (Start at 5pm ends at noon)

North Carolina:

Sept 23 – Oct 1 (5pm start ends noon)

Sal will be travelling to the UK, Canada and beyond to support gatherings in other areas as well. If you have a group and would like Sal to come to your region to support a gathering in conjunction with this offering, contact [email protected] It is very possible a gathering can be organized in your region for your community or group enrolled in this offering.


Participant Testimonials:

My goal was to form a lifelong connection with an ancient tradition. I wanted to be able to lead simple yet powerful ceremonies, the right way, down in my area.

On another level, my relationships with those who I work with took a 180 turn, from being full of irritation and miscommunication — to laughter, heart connection and co-creation. Plus everyone told me how much happier I looked. – Sam McCree

“Goal One was to experience deeper connection to self, nature, and spirit. I’ve been blessed with insights and guidance regarding my life’s purpose, my relationships to personal ancestors, my own blocks to connection, and my physical health. . . as well, my intuition has sharpened considerably.

I’m starting to really “get” what it means to do healing for people, to care for myself as a healer, and to create the appropriate healing container for myself and clients. As well, I am left with an understanding of what it truly means to be in community.” – Natasha Kruger


“My main goal was to bring myself to a place of balance and health in mind, heart, body, and spirit, so that I can help others. More clearly and strongly, I now see myself, people and nature as interconnected energies that can change and grow . . .everything in the world seems more real and alive to me.” – Haku

“The LIP gatherings are an incredible immersion in deep nature connection, cultural mentoring, and healing ceremony. It is the closest to an intact healthy village I have experienced yet. The deepening and expanding connection to nature, self and others that I experience at the gatherings I have found nowhere else. Practices that effectively heal grief and lead to transformative well-being are learned at these gatherings and they can be taken home and shared with others.”

“One of Sal’s strengths as a teacher and mentor is his depth of knowledge of such powerful teachings and that that knowledge is embodied and integrated. He has an ability to translate spiritual teachings from a particular lineage into a language that is very understandable and engaging. He gracefully lives and teaches from a place of humility and confidence.”

A truly wonderful experience of connection with nature, people, and myself. If you are feeling a pull toward nature and healing, are open to working hard with like-minded grounded individuals, and especially open to experiencing ceremony lead by transformational leaders steeped in strong Lakota linage – this work is well worth your time!

“I am deeply grateful for the LIP program and for having Sal G. as a mentor in this way of living and giving to the world. LIP has given me a foundation of understanding, of not only Lakota and a few other earth based cultures, but has helped me pull together and recognize the teachings I have gained from other indigenous mentors in my life and other earth-based cultural traditions I follow. LIP has given me great insight in my own life and guidance in how to use my unique gifts combined with ceremony to help the various communities I am involved with as well as my own family. The group journey, combined with one-on-one mentoring, has been a powerful way for me to learn. I have gained so much when listening to other participants, learning together, and supporting one another as we explore and adopt these advanced connection practices. LIP is not just a mentoring course, but an artfully skilled woven basket. A basket that opens opportunities and insights to a life journey of deeper awareness and heart-led service to help heal the earth and all life for future generations. I am so grateful to be connected to a web of others on this path and to be guided through LIP.”

“The LIP program impacted me on such a deep level with personal growth and healing. My family and friends noticed I am more joyful, and I am loving life and experiencing life with greater depth and passion. Thank you for this tremendous program!”
“I have been on a self discovery journey for many years. The Leadership Initiation Project has sped up my journey and made me aware of possibilities that were beyond my scope of reality. When learning, I will try different things and if they work, I will continue to do them. The LIP tools work!”

“The Leadership Initiation Project has been beneficial to all areas of my life. After this first year I am feeling, in my body and mind, a new level of groundedness that I have not felt in all the years of prior personal growth and healing work. It is a lasting felt sense that is different, a shift in thinking that seems permanent. I find myself bringing a new beautiful level of depth and connection to my personal life and my work with clients.”

“Most of us have lost our deep connection with nature and don’t know how to find and keep it. Many are too numb to realize what has been lost, yet it is vital to our individual and collective health and happiness. The Leadership Initiation Project is an immersive way to awaken leaders in connecting people to themselves, to others, and to nature in a profound way. I went from seeing the woods I live in as a beautiful backdrop for my activities to relating with all the beings that make up the woods with no separation between myself and them. I am so grateful to have effective healing practices that work for myself that I can share with others, and to know I have an important role to play in helping us all make this necessary shift to deeper connection.”

“LIP has unexpectedly reconnected me with a sense of purpose in life, that I had become jaded and swept under the rug. I am aware, that this first year has really only been a preparation for deeper work within myself, in relation with the invisible world. It is comfort, that cultural practices and vocabulary and other people exist, who can give the solitary seeker of a spiritual reality, community and belonging.”

“My experience in the LIP program scratched deeply under the surface of my persona and poured in something of universal wisdom in a warm and playful way. I say playful not without reverence for the many practices we learned but because there was an interplay of the elements, the personal, the community of humans and the spirit. And yes we did have fun, and we worked hard together. We learned to understand and to think for ourselves and to put into words the surprising experiences that working/playing with the practices mysteriously unfolded. And the people connections we made, the sharing, the uncovering life together has grown my heart, which in the end is my true aim.”

“The Leadership Initiation Project has assisted me on my personal journey in multiple ways. First by enabling me to deal with past traumas and/or personal blocks which inhibit true health and happiness. Then through daily routines and Advanced Connection Practices I was able to understand and utilize my personal gifts in a more beneficial way to continue to transform myself and to support the needs of others around me.

The LIP processes cultivate intuition. Which fosters self-esteem and self-confidence while also obligating me to take full responsibility for my actions. And, ultimately, empowering me to becoming my own self leader.”

Registration & Pricing*:

Please note that new participants must join the Vision Initiation Year Long before applying for LIP.

*NOTE: We DO NOT charge for ceremonial components of LIP. The fees involved are only to cover the cost of the mentoring aspects of the project.

Register Here:

LIP is only open to returning participants. If you are interested in joining the LIP and you are not a returning participant you can register for the Vision Initiation Project here which is a prerequisite for LIP:

Vision Initiation

We are offering 3 tiers to register for LIP. The lowest is below cost to make this opportunity accessible to more people. Registration paid at a higher tier helps support having the lower tier.

LIP Tier 1 Low Income Full Payment $2697

LIP Regular Price Tier 2 Full Payment $2997

LIP Above Cost Tier 3 Full Payment $3297

LIP Payment Plan Option 8 payments of $375 a month

For further information or questions about this program you can email Salvatore Gencarelle: [email protected]

Listen to a Call Recording From February 2013 about the Leadership Initiation Program.

(Right click the link or hold Control + click, then select “Save Link As. . .” to download the mp3).



Staff Biographies

Salvatore Gencarelle

Sal GencarelleSalvatore Gencarelle is a cultural bridge between traditional healing ceremonies and the modern world. His intensive mentoring period required both dedication and sacrifice, spending 17 years as a ceremonial guide, creator, singer, and mentor under the direct supervision of a Native American healer, Benjamin Godfrey Chipps, Sr. It was through this process that he earned the responsibility to pass the teachings on.

Salvatore’s immersion into a lineage of deep healing has also helped him to better understand the universal aspects of advanced connection practices that reach across cultures and time.

Salvatore is also an artist, photographer, freelance writer, a musician, and a healer working both the traditions of the Lakota and the modern world. He currently travels across the country teaching and helping others learn from his experience. Visit his website at: http://manamongthehelpers.com


Judy Gencarelle

Judy Gencarelle

Mary Judith Gencarelle (Grandma Judy) was born in April 1943 and grew up in Massachusetts. She attended college in Vermont, majoring in Medical technology. She met her husband Gary in San Francisco in 1967. Together they have seven children, and 21 grandchildren. They presently live in the mountains in Arizona.

Grandma Judy’s childhood was spent immersed in nature. Her father was very active in scouting and the early conservation movement. Mary Judith was encouraged to spend as much time as possible “outside”. As a result her connection to nature developed at a very early age. She took the lessons and observations learned from nature and incorporated them into the raising of her children.

In 1989, Judy was introduced into Lakota ceremony and spirituality through the Chipps family of Wanblee, South Dakota. It was at this time she became good friends with Grandma Victoria Chipps. Grandma began to mentor Mary Judith in all facets of Lakota life and ceremony.

Over the years, Grandma Judy has developed a unique understanding of ceremony and how it can impact our lives for the betterment of health and healing. Mary Judith Gencarelle now shares her understanding and wisdom with others, continuing the lineage of mentoring passed on to her from generosity and love of her elders.

Jon Young – Founder, Speaker, Author

Since 1983, Jon has been mentoring folks in the nearly lost art of understanding bird and animal language. Just as science is beginning to see the credibility in this ancient skill, Jon has been leading communities world-wide to get these skills back through lectures, workshops, media—but mostly through training and mentoring.

Jon’s leading-edge work on bird language has been posted in magazine articles and in books including: What the Robin Knows, Animal Tracking Basics, Coyotes Guide to Connecting with Nature, BirdTalk and Exploring Natural Mysteries, and is the subject of popular audio CD series including Seeing Through Native Eyes and Advanced Bird Language.