This article is not advocating for or against joining or starting a Prepper group. The decision is entirely up to you and your family.
There is safety in numbers in some cases, and humans during a crisis naturally seek out other humans, so gathering in small groups is a natural progression during a calamity.
Those not prepared, or not prepared enough in particular will seek out others for help. Some if not many need help to survive the next few hours, days and weeks. However, once the SHTF is not necessarily the right time to join a group. Seeking help from others puts you at a distinct disadvantage in a crisis, because of your need and obvious vulnerabilities. You can be exploited by certain people or groups, or the outcome could be even worse.
Everything Looks Good On Paper
A group needs leadership, and once the SHTF a group cannot be run like a democracy. Leadership must be strong enough to maintain control. Of course, people will have their say in some matters, but the leader is supposedly in charge because of their ability to lead. The person or persons in leadership must be able to make decisions that benefit the group as a whole, and not just benefit a single individual.
Decisions will be made that you do not agree with, but once you have a diverse group you will have a diversity of opinions and ideas, but a good leader can coalesce those ideas, and make a decision for the group.
Right now, you may believe votes will be taken on every move the group makes, but during a crisis there will not be time for meetings, and group discussions, someone has to lead from the front and you will have to follow, or be left behind.
Right now you might believe that, because during your meetings everyone within the group calmly discusses all options that it will be the same during a crisis, but this is not likely to be the case however. Once the balloon goes up, someone has to make the tough decisions and make them quickly, and you simply cannot have 30 or so people trying to make those decisions.
When the sun is shining and the birds are chirping anything seems possible. Once the world as you know it changes however, everything planned prior to the event is nothing more than a theory put down on paper, unless of course you have “been there and done that” and still have the tee shirt.
It is all an academic exercise right now, it is all about tossing ideas out, brainstorming and drawing up plans and assigning tasks. Reading the plans aloud makes them sound infallible. Perfect plans, until they are not so perfect. Plans are only good on paper until you feel the bite of reality, and the best-laid plans are shredded like confetti.
Once the SHTF Problems Manifest
The group may have a mix of males and females, and various age groups are represented. You can of course develop a paramilitary group, but once you go down that path you are no longer a Prepper group and this can be one of the problems, so ask yourself what type of group is it, or what type you want it to be. All manner of people are joining the Prepper movement, people of all ages, cultures and lifestyle.
The idea behind most groups is a diversity of talent. It takes years of training and experience to become a qualified doctor or nurse, and you need this type of talent in your group, as well as, others with certain skill sets and knowledge.
Experienced doctors, nurses, retired military, and law enforcement personnel would be an asset to any Prepper group. You will need people that can raise crops and take care of livestock, and ones that can cook, and ones without medical training necessarily that can still care for the sick and tend to the children. It takes a specific kind of person that can do this.
You do need people that are just your age, think just like you, act just like you and only have the same experiences you have. You cannot possibly know everything, so a good leader must be able to gather a diversity of talent together to help the group as a whole survive.
Once disaster strikes and the group meets at its pre-designated rallying point what do you do when some members show up with friends and family that the group has never met. Extended family members may not have wanted anything to do with being a Prepper that is until something happens.
Family members may show up on your doorstep, as you are getting ready to rally with the rest of the group. Where does your responsibility lay, with the group or with your family, friends or neighbors that show up hat in hand?
Group members will have children, spouses, partners and girlfriend/boyfriends, neighbors and friends you never knew they had. Now it is no longer a Prepper group but a small community. The plans just went out the window.
Of course, careful screening will help eliminate many of the problems you would experience. Once again, though, what type of Prepper group do you envision? Is it a community group or simply like-minded individuals with no family, friends or neighbors, with no tether to anyone or community.
What Is the Group’s Intent?
Some may start groups that are really only beneficial prior to any event. Members get together to share ideas, possibly train others in certain things, and to give encouragement. The groups are merely a way for others to share ideas on how to survive after disaster strikes, but do not intend to get together during a crisis.
Then there are groups that do intend to gather during a crisis but then what. Whose home do you gather at, does everyone in the group simply abandon their supplies stockpiled at home or will everyone simply shelter in place and communicate with other group members. What is the end goal, what do you expect to accomplish.