A simple, invaluable tool every prepper needs

Community-3

Lately, this column has been focusing on a critical part of preparedness: the importance of community, and what it takes to form one. Last week we saw (on paper, at least) the birth of “the Yakima Narrows,” a specific area defined by discernible boundaries that encompass sufficient people to form the basis of a sustainable prepper community. That’s a pretty good start, especially if the majority of the folks within those boundaries have begun to think of themselves as a separate group from those who don’t live there.

But it’s not a community, at least not yet. And as a brief reminder, you are not starting a prepper community, even if that is the ultimate goal. If you try to leap-frog to “the Yakima Narrows Light-Foot Militia,” you’ll lose. That’s because “boundary” is only one of the conditions you need to achieve to reach the vital community building goal of “Membership” as described in the scientific paper entitled “Sense of Community: A Definition and Theory.”

The other conditions that need to be met to achieve membership are:

  • Security Enhancement – Security encompasses numerous aspects including physical, emotional and economic security. And when coupled with boundaries, security is enhanced.
  • Belonging – The expectation that being a member of the community entitles the individual to a place at the table, acceptance, special consideration and consequently a bi-directional willingness to sacrifice for the sake of the other community members.
  • Personal Investment – Membership in a group is only really meaningful if you have some skin in the game that can be counted as a valued part of the whole. If you’re a kid living in your parents’ home, you usually don’t have an ownership share because you don’t contribute to the financial aspects of home ownership. And as churches across the country keep failing to learn, tossing aside the personal requirements of mandatory adherence to articles of faith and God’s expectations of righteous congregant behavior in an attempt to increase attendance never works.
  • A Common Symbol System – This doesn’t just mean a flag or a sticker or a ball cap, although each of these can be a part of community symbolism. It also means shared experiences or phrases that are unknown to people outside of the community. If for example, someone speaking to a mixed group of community and non-community folks might say: “Hey! Remember four-toed Billy and the frog sticker!” Fellow members of the community who understand the reference will laugh or shake their heads, while non-members will be left in the dark. Billy and his unfortunate accident is an exclusive “symbol” of the community.

When each of these conditions is met, you’ll have a viable community … and they are easy to meet. Don’t think this is doable? Well it happens multiple times a day all over America. This isn’t re-inventing the wheel, and the odds are you’re already a member of one or more “communities” that got their start because one person had an idea. Are you a member of a fraternal organization like the Elks or the Eagles? Community. A farmer who joined the Grange? Community. A city-dwelling member of a food co-op? All of these are communities that meet each of the requirements above, including boundaries.

Is prepping the right thing for to do for Christians? Or should we just be trusting in the Lord? Learn about that balance in “Be Thou Prepared” by Carl Gallups – “Equipping the Church for Persecution and Times of Trouble.”

So how do you begin? Well, once you’ve got the boundaries established and name recognition percolating, you need to create an organization; or at least you need to create the idea of a community organization to potential members. And you have to create a name for that organization. The name should include the area name (in our mythical case, “the Yakima Narrows”), followed by something fairly neutral. Don’t use prepper names here; instead, try something like the words family or residents or neighbors. For this exercise I’m naming our theoretical committee “the Yakima Narrows Neighbors Association” (YNNA).

Initially, the only purpose of a committee is to provide a legitimate kernel to build around. If you can staff it with a couple of friends to help with the leg work, well and good. If not, don’t worry. Once you’ve got a couple of successes in community-building under your belt, the members of your community who are natural movers and shakers (about 10 to 15 percent in any random grouping) will become obvious. Start spreading the word about the association and put up a few posters announcing an association meeting.

But before that meeting, you need to perform the most important task you’ll undertake in eventually creating a prepper community. You’ll assemble the Yakima Narrows contact list.

A contact list contains the names, addresses, emails, and phone numbers of each residence in your community. All of this information goes into a paper “phone book” that will be distributed to each community household.

So how do you make this list? Well, it will require shoe leather. You (and the other members of the association) will need to visit each residence, introduce yourself and say something like this:

Hi. I’m your neighbor Pat, and I’m here representing the Yakima Narrows Neighbors Association. We’re putting together an emergency contact list for everyone in our community. It won’t be distributed outside of the Narrows. We figured after last year’s flood/with the rising numbers of burglaries/since those bad wildfires last year (insert your own compelling cause) it would be a good idea for each of us to have a way to contact each other. Here’s an example of what we’re doing (show them a draft copy of the list that contains a few examples of people’s information, along with a printed warning that the list is only for Narrows people, and a map with the boundary on the back).

Collect their info. If they’re the talkative types, spend a bit of time getting to know them yourself. If they decline to be included, no problem. I’ve done this twice and I’ve yet to find anyone who didn’t want to be listed, if for no other reason than emergency contact.

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Once you’ve assembled the lists, print out however many you need and get them quickly into the hands of each homeowner. Make sure you give one to those who declined as well. Later on you’ll be updating this list and you’ll find that those who didn’t share the first time will gladly do so the next time.

Community garden

So what did making this mini-phone tree actually accomplish? Practically everything. Take a look at the membership conditions listed above. The members listed on the phone tree now hold in their hands a contact sheet which increases their security. It reinforces their belonging (since they’re listed as unique members and because they “sacrificed” their personal information for the common good). They have “personally invested” in the community by inference, meaning they could be called upon to help a fellow community member in a time of need. And that list is a major symbol separating the Yakima Narrows folks from other people. From the moment that those lists go out, you officially have a community.

“So Pat,” you might say. “You got a community. So where’s the prepping?”

Well, so far, it’s been all prepping. See, prepping isn’t who’s got the biggest gun or the largest food supply. In making the rounds collecting this information, the committee met another two families who are working on prepping that they didn’t even know about, and those folks are now a part of the committee. With this contact list, the association is now scheduling community courses on gardening, canning, first aid, and fire-arms training. They’re planning barbecues, swap meets and a community watch. And they’re finding out about the amazing number of skill-sets available in the community, skill-sets that are extremely dual-purpose and that wouldn’t have been recognized without the formation of the community. And that is prepping, pure and simple.

Next week, we’ll take a look at other often-overlooked aspects of community prepping called intelligence gathering and threat-assessment. You really can know what’s likely to come your way … if you get prepared.

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A simple, invaluable tool every prepper needs
Source: WND