John Hart

Mar 172017
 

I’ll spare you the “why should you join a group?”  You made it to this website, so I’m assuming you’re all past that notion.  Whether you start your own group or you know people who have one already, PLEASE JOIN A GROUP.  9 zillion reasons for that, but we all need a support group.  Whether it’s a high probability/relatively low impact event (like a power outage or wildfire evacuation) or a low probability/very high impact event (like an EMP or economic collapse), a BOL (bug-out location) and a group you can count on is a wonderful thing.

Ok, now that that is out of the way, our group is trying to expand.  We have a handful of families now, we’d like to double or triple that.  Most of us are in our 40s.  I’ve read most of the Colorado posts on this site and others and we’ve taken a few things we’ve liked from other groups and tried to make our group work for us.  We’re located off the beaten path, roughly between Denver and Colorado Springs, not too far from Monument/Black Forest/Larkspur/Palmer Lake/Franktown/Castle Rock.  We’re a little far if you’re coming from Fort Carson or Fort Collins, but we see that as a good thing.  We have a little land, our own small rifle range on site, wildlife, and I think we offer many advantages for those people coming from the city.  We have a modest home with room for everyone.  Two of the biggest concerns in these parts are long-term solutions for water and heat and I think we’re set up pretty well in those areas.

From our standpoint, there’s no such thing as living too far away to be considered for our group.  As long as you can make regular meetings and have a plan to get here if needed, you’re welcome.

FAQs:

What kinds of things are you worried about?

First things first: I’m not worried about anything.  There are things in my life that cause stress, just like everyone else: my job, my ability to be a good spouse, raising my kids properly, etc.  But I’m not paranoid.  I’m very aware of the differences between fear and danger and I’m fascinated with the normalcy bias.

But I also pay attention to things going on in my community, in my country, and in the world around us.  I try to be a student of history and a realist.  I’ve seen close family evacuated by a wildfire and were certain they’d lost everything… and tried to learn from so many mistakes and lessons that those situations created.  I ask difficult questions of myself and my family; things like “Where would we go if we had to leave?” “What if this power outage lasts longer than 2 hours?”

I’m also interested in large issues that could directly impact us – things like an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), another or bigger 9/11, economic collapse, etc.  But I’m less concerned about the cause of an event than I am with our response to the event.

Ok, I see the point. But who else is in the group? Can I meet the rest of the group before I decide?

There are no perfect groups and no perfect marriages, but we use two general criteria for selection into our group:

  1. Would I trust you alone at home with my children for an extend period of time?
  2. Would I trust you with my debit card and PIN number?

Trust for us is the key to making this work.  Notice we don’t have criteria on religious preference, years of experience in a certain field, or even political leanings.  If you’re interested and willing to commit to the group, you’re a good candidate.

Having said that, we take our security and privacy very seriously.  No, you can’t meet the group first.  Our personnel list is confidential information, as is the exact size of our group, and even our exact location.  We realize that this is asking a lot of potential new members, but OPSEC (operational security) is of utmost criticality and something we will not compromise on.

As your liaison to the group, I am available to answer as many questions as I can.  I do, however, prefer that you keep most of your questions off the internet – save them for email or personal conversation.  But I can tell you that everyone in the group has had the same questions you do and know that I absolutely trust all of our members implicitly.  We’re a diverse group but we all share a common goal: helping each other out should the time come.  The selection process may be lengthy, and you may or may not meet other members of the group along the way.  We expect you to respect our privacy during the process, but all questions are fair game.

Can I leave the group after I join?

Absolutely.  We’ve had members leave for various reasons in the past.  All we ask is to remember our foundations of OPSEC and not do anything that could compromise our trust.  If you leave the group, we can stay friends, but don’t expect to reap the benefits the group provides later – that’s not how this works.

I’m not sure I have useful skills.  I don’t want to be a drain on the group.

If you’re willing to commit to the group, we’ll commit to you.  Period.  None of us are professional preppers – we all have regular jobs, we work in corporate America trying to make ends meet, and we all have much to learn.  I’ll take one Johnny Hustle over a hundred prima donnas any day.  Obvious useful professional expertise is given a preference (electrician, EMT, builder, combat vet, herbologist, farmer, etc.), but not required.

Will I move in with you full time?  Or how does this work?

This is not a “millionaire retreat” like another group on this site in another state.  You keep your own home, please keep your job, etc.  Don’t tell your boss where he/she can go on account of us… unless they had it coming, then by all means.  But once you’re a member in the group, you’re welcome with us anytime, for any reason – short term or long term.  If that reason is “I just got tired of paying rent,” then it’s not likely you and I will ever be friends in the first place.

The point is this: if something causes you to leave your home, now you have a place to go.  Whether your power is out, there’s an issue with your drinking water, social/societal issues near your home, any number of large-scale events happen, or you just want to escape to our neck of the woods for a night or two, come on over.  We encourage our members to bug out too early instead of too late.  That’s our offer to you: you always have a safe place to retreat to.  Your offer to us becomes your willingness to contribute to any number of things we need help with including gardening, security, fire mitigation, group organization and leadership, etc.  When both sides have something to offer and both have much to gain, you have an economy.

Our members feel strongly in the concept of self-reliance, emphasis on “self.”  But we’re here to support each other in times of need, we’re all stronger together, and we understand that none of us can do this alone.

I’m not a gun person.  Will I be welcome?

If you are willing to pick up arms to defend yourself and your family, and also our group, you’re welcome in the group.  If you don’t have experience but you’re willing to get a rifle and learn how to use it, you’re welcome (we can teach you).  If you will never, ever, want anything to do with firearms, find another group.

I voted for Candidate X.  Religiously, I believe Z.  Does that matter?

Only if you make a big deal out of it.  Politics and religion are important to many of us personally, but our GROUP has no interest in either one.  If you feel it necessary to tell us why your decisions in those areas must be our decisions, find another group.  But if you’re willing to work on the common goal (mutual survival in a crisis) and leave the rest at home, you’re welcome here.

What will my role in the group be? Will I be taking orders from someone else? How is the group organized?

Group organization is a great question to ask in person.  We do ask a lot of our members, but we fit everyone into functional groups that you’re comfortable being in.  Some people are good at gardening, others are good auto mechanics, others enjoy medicine and first aid.  Most of us have very little experience in any of these areas, but we’re interested in learning and we work on everything together.  The only exception to the functional areas is that of security; we’re all in the security business, whether we like it or not.  But we’ll do everything we can to help you be successful at something you enjoy.  Whether you’re a leader or a follower, we have a role for you.  We have more than a dozen different functional area teams and we need help in nearly every area – so regardless of your interests, we need your help!

What if I say yes?  What does the group require of me?

We require four things:

  1. Take ownership and commit to the group. Go “all in.”  We need your help!  Take this and run with it.  Be involved.  Take this seriously.  Commit to mobilizing with the group if the time comes and to building this into the group you want it to be.
  2. Commit to meeting minimum supply levels, including food for your family, good footwear, firearms, etc. Our group has come up with a list of less than ten things that we feel are most critical to your own survival (the minimums), followed by recommended items, followed by things that are nice to have.  Most preppers have most or all of the minimum supplies today.  The point is that none of our members are a drain on the group; if we have 20 people in the group but only 3 show up with any food, we’re in real trouble.  YOU are responsible for meeting the minimums.  You decide how to meet those minimums.  Rest assured that these items are YOURS and always will be.  These aren’t donations, they’re to ensure individual group members are all squared away – that you can meet your own basic needs – so we can focus on other things.  Secure pre-positioning is strongly encouraged, and you may retrieve your items at any time, no questions asked.
  3. Chime in.  Answer emails.  Be honest.  If you have a problem that may affect the group, bring it to the group.  Ask questions.  Answer questions!  This is for real and we take this seriously.  We expect the same.
  4. Get a tattoo of our choosing on your body. And I’m totally kidding about that one.  Just making sure you’re still paying attention.

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Please private message me.  The link is here: http://www.preppergroups.com/private-messaging/ and if you’re logged in to this site, there’s a box near the top-right of this page that says “view message box.”  Click “new message” and start typing my username into the “TO:” box (John Hart).  I prefer to not have my email address displayed here, but PM me and we can start the discussions there or over email.

We’re extremely reluctant to bring in random strangers from the interwebz, but if you’re willing to start the process with us and bear with us throughout, I’d love to talk.  Serious inquiries only, please.

If you have your own group and you’re interested in exploring a partnership or just knowing that other groups exist, let’s talk.  Getting to know other like-minded people near us is kinda the whole point.

*****UPDATE*****

I’m learning that most groups like this have dues or some buy-in scheme, which seems to be working for them. If you’re owning land or whatever, that makes perfect sense. But we don’t have dues and hopefully never will.

All our members are “owners” of the group, meaning everyone shares responsibility and helps shape our direction. We do require everyone have a minimum amount of supplies; but your stuff is your stuff and not a donation to the group.

No dues here. I hope that helps.

*****END UPDATE*****

Thanks for reading all this, and I look forward to working with you.