Maybe you’ve been reading through our four different approaches to becoming part of a prepper community, and after coming to see the massive flaws of the first two options, have realized you’ll have to ‘do it yourself’ and create your own prepper community. Great. This could be a very good idea and might work, but – and, yes, there is a but. Just like the recipe for rabbit pie starts off with ‘first you must catch your rabbit’, the requirement for building your own community group requires you to be able to find enough like-minded people who will commit to becoming part of the community with you.
If you can do this – if you can get maybe 20, maybe even 200 people all to agree to joining a community, and all to put their money where their mouth is, and, more than that, to then commit time to supporting the community you are building, then you are extremely lucky, and we would like to offer you encouragement and mutual support.
If you can create your own community group, don’t be strangers to us. Be our friendly neighbors – either literally, and come settle close to us; or figuratively, and interact with us both before and after any crisis event. It is to our mutual benefit to have a nearby sympathetic second community, and it is also to our mutual advantage to have not so close communities, too.
The benefits of a nearby community are probably obvious, the benefit of one further away might be more subtle, but equally important. It enables us to distribute the risks further. Maybe your group has a bad crop and our group has a good crop due to regional weather variations, pestilence, or whatever. We could give you some of our surplus this year, and then in the future, if the situation reverses, you can give us some of your surplus (always assuming there’s a safe way to transport the goods between us). Depending on our locations, we can help each other with weather forecasting, and can share news of evolving replacement government and society structures.
The more positively surviving groups there are in the country, the more quickly and positively the country can rebuild from a disaster, and the better we will all be at keeping the worst of lawlessness under at least some semblance of control.
What Size Group Do You Need
There is definitely safety in numbers, and so you need to make any group you form large enough to be viably self-sustaining and resilient to the occasional bout of bad fortune. In this article we analyze, from only one perspective, what a minimum group number would be, and suggest the answer is something in excess of 25 people, and ideally more like 30 or 40.
There are other ways to analyze group size as well, and however you do it, you’ll find yourself staring two conclusions in the face every time. First, bigger is better than smaller, at least until such time as you reach several hundred people – at that point you need to think about whether it is better to have one very large community, or to separate into two smaller communities, each reasonably close to the other, so as to spread your risk out over a slightly larger geographical area and to keep each community ‘village sized’ whereby everyone knows everyone else and feels like a significant and participative part of the community.
How Big is Too Big?
There comes a point where the community gets so large that people no longer feel a part of it – if you would like to consider a current example of this, think of going on a cruise.
If you go on a mega-cruise ship that has several thousand passengers and half as many crew, you never really get to know any of the other passengers or crew – they are all faceless strangers who just happen to be on the same ship as you. But if you go on a small ship cruise, with only 100 – 150 passengers and maybe 30 – 50 crew, you get to know everyone, individually. You acknowledge them in the corridors, you talk to them in the lounges and dining room, and so on.
Another approach to consider is the very time honored and (literally) battle tested structure of a military organization. Look at the table half way down this page. You want to grow your community to more or less the size of a battalion. When you have a battalion sized group, you then should split up into two ‘companies’ and grow them to new battalions.
So, in general terms, we are saying that once you start to go over 200 people in a community, it is time to start thinking about splitting into two communities, and certainly once you are over 500, you are definitely at a point where you should consider splitting.
How Small is Too Small?
To now look at the other side of things, how small is too small? There’s a grey area around this number, just like there’s a grey area around the concept of how big is too big. We know that, for example, 50 people is a reasonably adequate number, and we also know that, for example, 5 people is too few.
So somewhere in the middle is the minimum number you need – but in establishing that number, you need to realize that not all people count the same in your calculation. A 6 month old infant is a negative contributor to your group’s short-term independence, as probably is an 80 yr old senior, too. A 15 yr old and a 65 yr old might be neutral contributors. A 25 yr old or a 45 yr old may be positive contributors, but only if they are in good health and of a positive character. A group of 40 people, all of whom are city dwellers with no skills or ability to support themselves away from supermarkets would not be self-sufficient, a group of ten ‘survival experts’ (whatever that means!) is more likely to be more self-sufficient.
So when you’re looking at very small numbers of people, you need to consider the specifics of each person and how/what they can contribute and add to your group.
Probably, WTSHTF, you’ll be able to accept some more people into your group who appear and ask to join, and if they pass your evaluation, you should do so if your group is small in size and has the basic resources to support more people. This would allow you to more confidently move forward with a smaller core group to start with.
Using our military organization analogy, the same as we did for the ‘how big is too big’ question, you should aim for a platoon as your minimum sized structure.
We suggest you aim for 25 people as a minimum.
The Need for a Formal Group Structure
If you are creating your own group of friends, and family members, you need to treat this not as a loose social gathering but as a formal ‘business’ arrangement. You need to draw up guidelines, requirements, expectations, codes of conduct, and anything/everything you can think of, so that everyone knows what is expected of them and what they can expect of their fellow group members in return.
Having specified the expectations and requirements of participating group members, you also need to specify the negative consequences of failing to comply with the obligations each group member accepts. That way people not only know what is expected but also what the consequences are for failing to achieve those requirements.
Creating your own group is a great approach. You can self select a homogeneous group of like-minded friends and family, and ‘do your own thing’ on your own terms as it best suits you.
We know, from our own experience, that it is more than a full-time job to organize and manage a prepping community and its retreat resources, but if you have the resources and the people, this is a good approach to adopt.
Please keep in touch with us if you do so. We can share our successes and learn from our failures. The more successful we each are, the more successful we all become.