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Forming a Survival Community

PrepperFortress
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There is strength in numbers when it comes to forming a survival community and the conventional wisdom is the more people you have on your side, the better. If you had an Army, you would want as many people as you could have in the ranks in order to be safer, to do more things, to expand your reach. This thought has led many people to search out online survival communities to join which brings a lot of mixed results and potential problems. You think to yourself, I really need to be around a group of like-minded people before the world goes to hell so I will be safe and there is no shortage of prepping forums that have people advertising their own group and offering to anyone who will listen, the chance to join a survival community that will provide for their safety if everything goes wrong.

The survival communities that are accepting people for membership that I have seen usually have a similar blueprint:

  • They are selling inclusion in a closed/tightly controlled community for safety and security if TEOTWAWKI happens.
  • They usually have a large piece of land that they don’t disclose the location of for security reasons.
  • The total number of people/slots is set at a fixed number.
  • They talk about the traits of the land, improvements to be made (eventually) and the abundant resources surrounding their retreat area.
  • As expected, they have rules for joining, minimum supply requirements each family must bring and in most cases disciplinary guidelines for those who “don’t pull their weight” or in some other way “get out of line”.
  • There is naturally a fee for joining and an interview process.
  • Many have pictures of the land complete with game cameras views of all the wild animals you will find there.
  • And lastly, in my opinion, most are doomed to fail.

Why would a survival community fail?

Yes, you read that right. I do believe that most if not all of these groups you see on the internet will fail. If not during some actual emergency that would cause you to need to bug out to the thousand acres of beautiful land, teaming with slow-moving wildlife, but most likely well before that. Why do I think this would happen? Well, I could go into great detail, but I do think that anytime you have a “survival community” like this, there really isn’t “a community” at all before long. Someone owns the land and you aren’t buying an equal share/stake. You are just purchasing a space. They get the final say and if they don’t like the way your wife hangs out laundry or the way you discipline your dog, you are gone.

Some have committees or boards or some other form of leadership in an effort to appear unbiased and democratic, but these are still most likely friends of the person who owns the land and they will toe the line with whatever the Community Organizer wishes. At best, I think these things are along the same lines as buying a time share or renting a camping space. You might argue that even in civilized society there are rules that must be obeyed and I will concede that point. However, you won’t be buying into civilized society.

How would you set up your own survival community?

You may be scratching your head right now and asking yourself what I am trying to say. If being alone in a crisis situation isn’t ideal and neither is joining one of the survival communities advertised online, what is the average prepper supposed to do?

We have all heard of the prepping ideal. A remote cabin situated on hundreds of acres of forested land, with three sources of water, dozens of miles away from the nearest paved road and I concede that would be very nice. The problem is that most of us don’t have the ability to move into the woods like that. If you do, congratulations but not everyone can move, not everyone can sell their house and pick up and leave. I know that someone will say, “You can if you want to” and yes that is correct. I could put my house on the market and sell everything if I had to, but I think there are other options. Options that aren’t as drastic and might not end in my divorce.

I tend to believe that communities will be made up of our friends, families and neighbors when the time comes. People will band together when the situation dictates that for their survival, it is wise to join forces, but some communities don’t have to live together now. You can plan for a survival community and still live in your suburban home until something happens. Is that the perfect way to go about preparing? No, but it could work for a lot of people I think.

There are some who plan to lock the doors and shoot anyone who comes near. I think this will be a short-lived plan if the situation is so bad that you feel you are warranted in shooting your son-in-law who failed to prep, even though you “have been warning him for years”. It is easy to say what we won’t allow now, when there is no crisis. I know I am guilty of my fair share of some of this, but I still don’t believe I am going to sit in my house, lock the doors and peek out of my curtains. I may allow some people in who don’t have any preps. It may be a risk I have to take to make my own ad-hoc survival group larger if the situation warrants it. Would I kick a doctor out just because he didn’t have a gun or any freeze-dried foods? Probably not.

Ideally, you would identify people who could become your group if something happened ahead of time and talk to them. Even more ideal would be for you all to be working on the different considerations a survival community would need to live before you needed to band together and batten down the hatches. If you wanted to consider what is needed to set up a survival community, I think there are some basic questions to ponder.

Water

Food

Do you have communication options with your group if the Grid goes down? You won’t be able to take care of this if the internet is down…

Disaster Communications

Emergency Fuel and Power

Food after the food is gone

Hygiene and Sanitation

First Aid/Medical

Fitness and Health

Community Defense

  • Guns and Ammo – What are the types of weapons you have in the community? How much ammo do you have for each weapon? How long will this last you if you are dependent on the weapons for survival/food/defense?
  • Common Equipment – Do you have common ammunition or magazines? Does everyone have a different weapon platform?
  • Training – What is the experience level of the members of your survival community? Can anyone provide training to others?

Location, Location, Location

Since you don’t have the survival retreat in the woods, where will you all stay? If the community is in your neighborhood and the members are your neighbors that would work out just fine. What if the community is composed of different families in different parts of town/states? Do you have a common location that everyone will rendezvous at? Do you have accommodations for the extra people in that location? It will be important to select a location that has the best traits for growing food, providing water, game to hunt and defensibility. Is that your home or someone else’. Will you move in with your buddy? Are you prepared to walk there?

I realize that each of the topics above could be broken down into its own article. There are hundreds of if and butts for each situation but I wanted to jot down some things I think I personally should consider. I don’t see formal survival communities working for most of us. Sure if you are a millionaire and have your own island, that is one thing. I think the rest of us will band together in smaller tribes for survival. It won’t always work, but I can see that happening before everyone leaves their jobs in the cities and moves to the countryside.

What do you think?

***Update 12/18/15 – The Wall referenced below has been discontinued. I still think it was a great idea, but the software that I was using wasn’t really as robust as I feel it needs to be for a site with the traffic we receive. It really slowed things down for some users. On top of that, many people signed up, but nobody did anything with it. Maybe in the future I will try this again.***

Since we are on the subject of Community, I wanted to invite anyone interested to check out something new on the site. I have enabled a form of online community within the context of the Prepper Journal site. There are a couple of aspects to this.

The Wall – This is where you can view a feed, similar to Facebook of posts and comments that registered users post to the site. Registration is free and when you join you get your own profile that you can post articles, discussion topics, rants (please try to remain civil) and you are able to private message other members of the community on the site.

I don’t know how this will go, but I am willing to give it a shot and see if we can’t bring additional conversation, ideas and perspective to the site. Registration is free and if you want to sign up and see how it works, just click this link. If you want to just observe from a safe distance, the wall is always open for you to see what people are posting and talking about. I am curious to hear what you think.

If you liked this article, please rate it.

  • Mike Lashewitz

    You will do what you have to do. Most of it will not be pretty.

  • greg adkins

    Advertising for people to join a community and charging a FEE what a scam.

    • What fee are you talking about Greg? There isn’t one on this site.

    • northern raider

      What are you referring to Greg? PJ costs nothing and I don’t think Pat is trying to recruit anyone?

      • greg adkins

        It states in the article,naturally there is a (FEE,REPEAT FEE)For joining and a a interview process.T he latter is understandable.Do you not know your own article Mr.Henry

        • I do know the article Greg, I just mistakenly assumed you were talking about this site, not the people in the article who are trying to form communities for the end times. My apologies.

          • laura m.

            Ideally, if you have family members (one family owning the land in the country) and close friends on board, families that are prepared, just group together on the owners property, families need to have travel trailers, campers, as each family needs space and privacy. Best to not have a large group on the land as it would attract gov. attention with drones, etc.. Everyone pitches in with the work. I have read that preppers who sell plots of land like in Idaho, Montana typically overcharge and are only in it for the money like Bo Gritz before the y2k scam.

            • The Bo Gritz type of scenario was exactly what I was referring to Laura. Yes, those don’t seem to turn out well in a large amount of cases.

    • Christopher Citty

      To be fair, sometimes a ‘fee’ is reasonable. You’re letting others join you on your land. This, of course, assumes you’re keeping ownership of it, and only ‘renting’ it to the people who join. Even if you sell parts of the land, that can be seen as a fee, as well. If you know these people, maybe you’ll let them in with no fee, because you trust them and know they’re good people. Still, communal property may require upkeep, repair, replacement, etc., which the fee could go into helping with.

      Now, if it’s “Join my pristine mountain paradise retreat! All served! Spaces limited! Fee to join!”, that certainly sounds like a scam, to me. 🙂

  • northern raider

    We have tried this many times in the UK it nearly always fails, Causes are often a ruling cliquey elite trying to bully or intimidate other members, others using it as a money making scheme, people wanting to be part if group but not will to contribute, people of different social, political, religious or moral outlooks, apathy ( wont travel more that a few miles), Unwilling to commit to regular time and training, unwilling to open their wallets, others expecting someone else to do all the organising and work but they only want to take out. Some of us thought that Mutual Support Agreements or Loose Cooperation’s would work but the same problems arose, wont commit, time, effort or money, especially will not alter their own calendar to match the groups, want to be “in charge” only.
    Its great in theory but in practice……………………………………

  • Bolofia

    Pat,
    I don’t think it’s possible to ‘form’ a survival community from scratch. Communities that will survive through TEOTWAWKI already exist because they possess the natural resources needed; such as water, crop land and livestock. Their land is already under cultivation, they already have cattle or chickens or whatever. For that reason, you can write off urban centers. Once the food stocks have been exhausted from their pantry shelves, the game is over. They will become refugees in an area that has already been stripped of resources by people who evacuated in the first wave.

    Bugging in as a group of family units may buy a few weeks or months of time, but that doesn’t qualify as a sustainable survival community in my opinion. Eventually, these groups will have to find – and be accepted into – a community that already possessed the capability of surviving. The question is: Will they need you?

    • northern raider

      I think the milk of human kindness will soon sour after a few weeks of none related people trying to survive possibly as guests on someone else’s homestead

      • Bolofia

        I agree, and will take it one step farther: To the extent that it exists, the “milk of human kindness” may have been exhausted long before someone reaches a sustainable survival community. Why? Because THEIR primary interest will be self survival – not yours. The survival of my family and local community will always take precedent over someone that I don’t know. Unless you have something to contribute that provides advantage, you become nothing more than another mouth to feed, and that is a liability. In other words, your contribution has to exceed the number of calories that you will consume.

        Bottom line: Successful survival communities will have to be very hard nosed, if not ruthless, in managing their resources.

        • northern raider

          Yup I reckon that unless you happen to be a surgeon and MD, of a farmer with cattle and horses most others wont be welcome, I also happen to think we put to much faith in Farming or Hunting as a prepper community when we should be paying a lot more attention to the sea for food.

          • laura m.

            Raising goats, chickens and rabbits will supply meat, eggs, milk. I have stocked up on canned sardines and salmon, chicken, etc. protein is a must during hard times. Those that have boats living near the coast, will be able to bring in fish for the group.

          • But what if you don’t live near the sea?

  • northern raider

    In the UK the only time I am aware of communities of unrelated people managing to succeed with an off grid self contained self reliant community is when someone donates land (and often property) to a communal cause., and the land owner has no further say in its governance, that way no hierarchy can form.

  • proneshooter nz

    Hey Pat.

    As usual a good, thought-provoking article. Thinking of things from the perspective of where I live (New Zealand) the concept of prepping hasn’t really been embraced. Most folk are still very much of the sheeple mindset that the government will take care of me if something goes wrong. Smaller rural communities are more likely to be where you will find something approaching a survival community.

    For the rest of use we are kinda on our own.

    cheers
    Tracy

    • Thank you very much Tracy!

      Oh, to be able to visit New Zealand. I Imagine there is a different view on life in your country and perhaps the problems of life aren’t viewed through the same lens as it is in the U.S.

      • proneshooter nz

        Hey Pat 🙂 Yes being outside looking in does give one a different perspective but it also shows me that western countries around the world are going through many similar struggles and dealing with many of the same issues. Also that there are bigger things afoot than just what is happening in one country.

        Seems to me that the USA is starting to be affected with the same world agendas that other countries are being attacked with. The loss of sovereignty, loss of personal freedom, “nanny-knows-best” – government, shirking of personal responsibility, breakdown of the family unit and on and on. The ancient Chinese apparently had a saying, “may you live in interesting times” …. we are certainly in the midst of those!

        Thanks for the awesome resource that the PJ is.

        Tracy

        • Thanks again Tracy and yes, I believe we are living in very interesting times, or will be soon. It’s funny/sad maybe that I remember laying in bed several years ago thinking how our generation never saw any of the trials of our forefathers. Maybe I will be proven wrong about that.

    • northern raider

      Hi Tracy , I’ve just been reading about NZ south island and how rich people from all over the world are building WAY off road and off grid self sufficient homesteads accessible only by air or boat, similar isolated secure homesteads are being built in OZ and Germany

      • proneshooter nz

        Hey Northern Raider 🙂 Yes apparently so. I suppose that would explain why James Cameron bought property in the south island.

        There are advantages to being down under 😉

  • Freedom’s Guide

    The most important part of any survival community is trust and making sure everyone in the community is capable of taking care of themselves. The biggest advantage to having a group is the combining resources for protection or defense of the community from outsiders.

  • proneshooter nz

    Great article thanks mate 🙂

  • Christopher Citty

    I think the main thing with forming a group is you need to understand from the start what you want to accomplish, as well as what you will tolerate. People signing on with your group are probably not going to accept much in the way of the ‘neighborhood nanny’ approach, dictating how they can run their little household, even if you do own the land itself. And, you need to look more at skills and mindset of the people joining than the cash they’d be willing to pay. The fact is, if the price is too high, they’re going to look at other options. Same as with the rulebook. If they can’t do certain things, they will walk away. And, more importantly, if they walk away after joining, other people are going to wonder why, and might walk, too.

    The vital component, in my opinion, is to be reasonable, be honest, and let everyone know the rules and expectations, UP FRONT, not as they go along. Don’t surprise people with new rules and new duties seemingly each week or month.