THE PREPAREDNESS PAPERS
The information in the "Preparedness Papers" is FREE. Each "paper" has a PRINT button, so you can print and reference them "offline" as needed.
One might ask, if the objective of survivalism is self-reliance, why organize with others? The reason for organization can best be explained by the slogan "Together Each Accomplishes More". The concept of survival organization is not to make its members mutually dependent, but rather to enhance and support each member's self-reliance and freedom assurance well beyond what they could achieve alone. One individual can not know all skills or look in all directions or be on guard at all times. No matter what the "Rambo" mentality may indicate, the historic truth is that a numerically superior force will eventually triumph over the single individual no matter how skilled or determined he or she may be. Groups, networks and alliances have always been needed to protect individual freedom from well organized efforts to impose a centralized authority. The individual will need to make some voluntary concessions of choice in the spirit of group cooperation, but these will be more compensated for in additional knowledge and strength In a voluntary group of self—reliant individuals, there is little chance of the development of an autocratic system since the members are always independent enough to say no to actions and people that do not serve their goals.
GETTING IT TOGETHER
Basic Survival Group Organization
While the goal of saving life and freedom is common to all Live Free groups, the interpretation of those concepts may differ from one group to another. One group may say that they want to "resist the decline of individual liberty", another group may say that they want to "advocate emergency preparedness", while still another group may state that they "want to help people become more self-reliant" etc. However you say it, its good people getting together so they can do more than they could do alone. Here then is a basic outline of how to go about organizing a good working survival/self-reliance group.
Before you can think about organization you have to have people. While it is possible to start a group with a "Core Group" of 3 or 4 friends, it is much better if you can have at least 8 to 12 people when you establish the group's foundations. While leadership is essential, a very strong autocratic leader will make a weak group because the members with initiative and leadership abilities will be discouraged and even leave the group till you end up with only followers. There are three methods that you can employee alone or in combination to recruit members.
1. Direct Communications: This is a process of gathering members one by one through direct contact.You begin with yourself then recruit one person you know then both of you recruit others who then recruit others, etc. This is the safest, but slowest means of gathering members. The success of this method depends on how large your social circle is and what type of people they are. For example, you may pick up several members from campers, shooters and libertarians, but have little luck recruiting golfers or welfare state advocates.
2. Indirect Communication: This is the use of advertisements in appropriate publications network services, computer bulletin boards, flyers or mailings that describe the group and its objectives. A Post Office Box and/or an answering machine on a dedicated phone line can provide a method for those interested to contacting you while preserving your security and giving you a chance to screen out some of the unstable and unsuitable candidates. This method gives you access to a much larger group of people and gets your group in action faster, but is somewhat less secure.
3. Open Communication: This is setting up tables at gun shows, sports shows, patriotic functions and other appropriate events in order to distribute literature and meet the public face-to-face. While this method offers little security, it gives you a chance to meet, interview and screen many good candidates in a short time. This open approach often helps dispel suspicion and public doubts about the nature of your group and encourages membership of responsible people who might have second thoughts about joining a more cover operation. One good compromise would be to use Direct Communication to build your "Core Group" of 6 to 10 members in order to establish a stable and reliable foundation then employ one or both of the other two methods to build up membership. Remember that quality is much more important than quantity in membership. A few aggressive extremists in your group can pull you all into disaster. Their views and actions will have the effect of discouraging new responsible members while encouraging more of their type to join. Regardless of what skills or benefits they may offer, it will not be worth the price. Discourage them from joining; filter them out or at least make sure they know that their views are not what the group stands for. When you are looking at a membership candidate, look beyond his or her survival skills. Consider the recruits personality, does he or she get along well with people? Do they function well with groups? Do they tend to be paranoid or egotistical? Consider the candidate's over-all back ground: family life, social responsibility, community reputation, financial responsibility and job history as indication off what kind of member they will be. While everyone may have made a few mistakes in life the over-all picture should be of a respectable, reasonable and responsible citizen who is concerned for the welfare of his or her family, community and nation.
Regardless of how you gather people, you will reach a point when you are ready to set up a formal organization. If your people fee1 comfortable with a paramilitary structure, there is nothing wrong with that. Some very reputable organizations such as the Boy Scouts, The Salvation Army and most veterans groups, are paramilitary, but be aware that it can be a public relations problem and may draw unwarranted suspicion in the community.
THE FIRST MEETING
The first meeting of a new organization is critical to the success and survival of that group. Those in attendance will establish the direction and character of the group. If this meeting is orderly and decisive, then the groups will have a solid foundation. If the meeting is unorganized and fails to set clear guidelines, then there will be chaos and dissension in the future.
The outline agenda below is for the first meeting of a traditional organizational structure. The agenda items are essential to getting your group off to a solid start.
1. GROUP RANGE: You should define a reasonable area within which you will recruit members. If your membership is spread over too large an area, it will be difficult for members to attend meetings and participate in emergency actions, as a unit. You may need to consider dividing the group (e.g. North Home Town and South Home Town) if there are enough members to have more than one working group.
2. GR0UP NAME: You should have a name that either reflects the positive nature of the group such as "The Family Preparedness Club" or "The Self-Reliance Association" or a neutral name such as "East Waynesville LFI" or The Northwest 0utdoors Group ". Avoid negative threatening names such as "the Doomsday Survivors" or " Strike Force Alpha".
3.MISSION STATEMENTS: No group or subgroup (e.g. unit or committee should exist without a Mission Statement. When no Mission Statement exists, every member will be left to their own interpretation of what the group is trying to do. The group's direction will drift and confusion and conflict will be the inevitable result. The Mission Statement should be short and clear and agreed upon by all the founding members. Here are a few examples:
"The XYZ Group is organized to help its members acquire the skills and equipment needed to become more self-reliant and independent".
"The ABC Association is dedicated to the promotion of emergency preparedness, self-defense and survival education for ourselves and our community".
Once the Mission Statement is agreed upon, everything the group does must be compatible with it and every new member should know the Mission Statement when he or she joins.
4. GROUP GOALS: Some clear goals should be established for the next 12-18 months. The goals must fit the Mission Statement and should be challenging, but not impossible. Goals should clearly state what is to be done by what date and by what members. Some goals might be:
- "To all have a complete survival pack by date X".
- "For the instructor to conduct first aid training, for all members, by date V".
- "To put on an emergency preparedness seminar, for the community, by date Z".
- "To have the Communications Committee put out a local newsletter by the end of the year.
Progress on each goal should be reviewed at each meeting.
5. ELECTION OF PERMANENT (ANNUAL) OFFICERS: You can't go on until you know who is responsible for what. Terms of office are usually one year but be sure that the term is specified. Here are the officers usually nominated, although their titles are not as important as their task descriptions.
CHAIRMAN (Executive Officer, President, etc.) The chief officer of the group establishes agendas, conducts the meetings and keeps the group running on course towards its goals.
SECRETARY (Communications Officer, etc.) Takes the minutes of each meeting, keeps membership records and sends invitations to meetings.
TREASURER (Financial Officer, etc.) Collects dues, makes reports, keeps books, submits budgets, runs fundraising activities and makes purchases.
CHIEF INSTRUCTOR (Training Officer, etc.) Since most groups will have training and educational activities as part of their goal, this officer will set up training programs, recruit speakers and instructors and organize seminars and field training events.
SARGENT AT ARMS (Security Officer, etc.) This officer is responsible for the safety and security at group activities and may have other associated duties.
In addition officers may designate assistants and set up teams or "standing committees" to work on specific projects or run established programs. EVERY MEMBER SHOULD HAVE A DEFINED JOB AND GOALS.
6. FUNDING: You must decide how the bills (hall rental, supplies, postage, etc.) will be paid. You can set dues, have fund raisers, get contributions or any combination.
7. MEETING OUTLINE: What will be the goal of future meetings?Most groups will have a business meeting with such items as new members, financial reports, committee reports and new proposals.The Secretary may read or pass out the minutes from the last meeting for approval. The second half of the meeting will often consist of training classes, educational speakers, videos and information sharing activities.
You may want to skip some meetings in favor of field trips, outdoor training activities or even a group picnic to get all family members involved.
8. MEETING FREQUENCY AND DATES: Most groups meet monthly, but small local groups may be able to meet more often. A thin network spread over a large area may only be able to meet quarterly. Try to keep the same day (e.g. 1st Sunday of the month) so it's easy to remember.
9. MEMERSHIP REQUIREMENTS: Establish that members must be dedicated to the mission of the group, must live in the groups area, be responsible citizens, etc. Restrictions based on race, religion, sex or nationality would be contrary to the mission of Live Free. A person who stands for what you stand for should be welcome to stand with you.
10. THE NEXT MEETING: Even if you don't settle all the above items at the first meeting, be sure you do not adjourn without setting a firm date and place for your next meeting.
If you have selected your people well and completed all of the items on the above agenda, your organization should be successful and long lived. Members should be involved in all important decisions, always have assignments and be able to take pride in being a member.
We welcome comments and experience from those of you who have had experience (good or bad) with forming survival and self-reliance organizations.
1. Group Range (area of membership):
Name of Group ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Mission Statement (why are we organizing?)
4. Goals for the Year:
a. ______________________________________ b. _______________________________________c. _____________________________
5. Officers (Term ____________________) Chairmen -______________________________________________________________
Secretary - __________________ Treasurer - _______________________________________________________________________
Chief Instructor - _________________Sgt. at Arms - _____________________________________________________________________
Other officers and committees:_____________________________________________________________ Every member should have a job!
6. Funding (how do we pay the bills)
7. Future Meeting Outline (Schedule, Training, etc.)
8. Meeting Frequency (how often and what days?)
9. Membership Requirements (who can join?)