If you believe that you are Rambo and plan to survive whatever the world throws at you with nothing more than a big survival knife and some weapons you pull off unsuspecting sheriff deputies who were foolish enough to follow you when you bug out into the woods… this post might not be for you. For a lot of the rest of us out here, there is an understood advantage to forming a larger prepping group. You can see the value in a team of people who share the common goal of survival and you realize the wisdom in pooling your resources with a group of individuals who are able to mutually benefit each other in a time of crisis.
The only problem is how to find other preppers near you without possibly ruining any OPSEC you have tried to maintain or by looking desperate.
A reader name Mike sent the following question:
“I am from Truckee CA. and am trying to find other preppers in the Truckee area. The Truckee community seems like they are all using social networks ??? I do not use social networks (too easy to be tracked by the government) any suggestions how I can meet other preppers ???”
Mike mentions that he realizes that people in the prepping community are using social networks but he, like a lot of others doesn’t feel comfortable using them himself. I certainly don’t blame him but I think there are some ways that our modern communication options and yes social media too can be leveraged that would limit your exposure. I am fully aware that the NSA is spying on every single digital piece of our lives so if you aren’t comfortable using social media you should stay off.
Why would you want to meet others?
There is strength in numbers so a larger survival group is going to be able to do more. With more people you have more ideas, more resources, more skills, more intuition, perspective and wisdom. Of course all of those things could be negatives too if personalities clash or if you and your MAG (Mutual Assistance Group) disagrees and you are on the losing side of a particular issue. If there were a true disaster you could wind up in worse shape if your group turns on you so this is one aspect of prepping that deserves a lot of careful research and contemplation.
There are whole books devoted to forming the perfect survival group and how to conduct things like decision-making (who gets to make them) and the creation of rules, a governing body, types of social order and that is beyond the scope of this post. Any group can have good points and bad points, but I think the generally accepted belief is that you would be better off in a group of your choosing now before any crisis than on your own after a crisis. The trick is to choose wisely.
So where would you start in the process of looking for a place to find other preppers? There are some obvious ones and not so obvious ones but I would probably think that finding a responsible mature survival group would not be as simple as searching on a website.
There are websites out there that seem devoted to matching you up with a prepper group. Sites like prepperlink.com and ITS Tactical have forums devoted to helping you find a prepping buddy where you can usually search by location. The idea is that you go into your state, announce yourself as looking for a group and then everyone will talk to you about their group, but I see a few problems with this approach. First, the ideal survival group would have to be on that forum you are looking through, want to talk to you, and on top of that, currently accepting other people. It is really hit or miss.
Never kiss on the first date
There are other websites out there like MeetUp.com which I think are a little more promising. I have used Meetup.com to find a prepping group near me and attended meetings. This group was not what I would call a MAG, but they might grow into that over time. They have regular meetings and are a good place to meet like-minded people. Every time they met there were topics around prepping, survival or self-sufficiency covered. In a setting like this you aren’t really there to specifically join a survival group, but you are interested in what they are saying. I am sure that some of the people were actually involved together but the meetings were much more informal, anyone could join and was probably a way for them to vet members before they approached them. Actually, the Meet Up I attended could have had multiple separate groups and I wouldn’t have known.
For me personally in looking for a survival group I am not so much looking for a group, but looking for people. Each person in the group is going to be someone you trust with your life. If there is no trust, then why join anyone? This may be something that you need to build over time by talking to the most logical choices out there; your friends and family. If you don’t have some friends who share the same beliefs as you, why are you hanging around them?
In all my time as a prepper I don’t know that I have ever been completely transparent with anyone about my motivations, fears and plans for prepping besides my wife. Actually, you the audience of the Prepper Journal are probably more privy to my thoughts than even my wife so in some ways you are my Mutual Assistance Group. You wouldn’t be at my home if the grid went down, but I have learned so much from our readers and from the other blogs in the prepping community. This type of transparency that I discuss about myself and my plans is not what you want to bring to the table on your first meeting with others. I think most of you play your prepping close to the vest too which as it turns out could work in your favor. I know that in specific instances as the case allowed I was able to share information about me that could be common to prepping but it could also fall into other categories. I don’t wear my I’m a Prepper t-shirt into work or anything like that but I have talked to co-workers on occasion as current events brought various topics to the front of conversation.
If you have friends or acquaintances you don’t have to bring up the subject of prepping at all to get a feel generally for how they perceive the world. You could discuss the recent Ebola news to gauge the level of preparedness in some people. You could talk to others about the stock market. Still others you could simply talk about hunting or shooting sports, even gardening or canning. I think the easiest group to join is the one you are already in but maybe those around you don’t have any concept of a Survival Group. Maybe they are looking too?
Do you have friends who share hobbies with you? Do you have family members that you talk to about news and your plans in certain scenarios? This is where I would start because you have a built-in level of comfort with them even on the most basic level. It is certainly better than walking into a room full of strangers or telling everyone on a forum (that anyone can see) what your plans are and where you are living. If you do want to go down that road I would make the following suggestions.
- If you are using the internet know that what you type could potentially be seen so I would be as anonymous as possible.
- If you want to check out forums to see if there is anyone in your area that looks promising, sign up with a fake account. Make sure this fake account uses completely fictional information about yourself to include your name, birthday and location. Write it down so you don’t forget what your fake birthday is if they ask for that. Most just want an email and password.
- Get a new email address that does not have your name in it. Sure, Google or anyone else could find out who you are but if your email is firstname.lastname@example.org it is better than email@example.com. This will give you some anonymity from the people you are contacting, not the NSA.
- Don’t offer up too much information. I would start generally asking questions, but non-invasive questions. You could say you are looking for a group and maybe what your skills are and the general location you live in. See how the conversation progresses. If nobody responds you don’t have your details out there for anyone to read.
- If you do make contact it might make sense to take anything further offline as much as possible. You can trade emails and take your conversations off the forum. They are still electronic but not out there for everyone to see.
- I would never use Facebook to look for a survival group. Just forget that.
- Try MeetUp.com and search for prepper groups or survival or self-reliant living. Go to some meetings and get to know people for a while to see if you have any affinity with anyone there. You might be surprised.
- Take your time and look at this like dating, sorta. You want a great relationship to blossom here, not a one night stand that you regret. Good things take time and this is no exception. A survival group conveys a huge commitment and an even larger level of trust so make sure you know why you are making the decisions and that the people you are making them with are sound.
- Try looking for friends first who share your same beliefs and values as opposed to a whole group. One die-hard buddy is worth more than a dozen people you don’t know.
Anyone else have any experience with a survival group they want to share?