Prepper groups: Pros, cons and questions


Lee’s note: This is the third contribution from LTC Scott Daniel, a retired U.S. Army Special Forces officer with decades of special operations experience and multiple overseas tours.

Scott has recently launched a unique consulting business, in which he is “focused on assisting individuals, families or groups with their Bug Out Land (BOL) preparation. We will help with site location, detailed planning, and physical establishment.”

In this story, he discusses whether preppers should form small self-supporting groups. It’s one helluva read.

Prepper Groups: Pros, Cons and Questions

by LTC Scott Daniel

Sometimes called Mutual Assistance Group (MAG), Prepper Group even a Tribe has been used to describe these organizations.  But really what are they, why are youhave they become so popular and how do they work?  After leaving a Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, ‘A republic if you can keep it’.  And this is a very accurate comparison to a Prepper Group…they are great if you can keep it.

In the broadest scope, these Prepper Groups seem to fall into two primary categories.  First, the more generic concept with a loosely organized group, meeting on average monthly at any economically feasible location, church, community center, spare office room, even perhaps a members house or property.  Generally there are no dues to pay and membership is voluntary.  The group comes together monthly to discuss relevant survival topics, canning, animal husbandry, gardens and yes, they will discuss weapons.  This type of group is mostly interested in sharing its experience, education and helping others prepare for themselves.  An excellent start into the world of Prepping.  Low threat, voluntary and convenient.

This first group has a more social attitude and personal interaction about itself.  Monthly meetings take place at a convenient time for most people, with a core number of attendees and an equal amount of members that may show some of the time.  A question of priorities, it happens.  This group normally has an Administrator to keep the meetings on track and provide direction for the group.  Some groups publish a calendar or schedule for training…and some are less organized.  The success or failure for most of these groups/meetings largely depends on the Administrator’s ability schedule, organize and motivate.  It’s called Leadership.

Hint: If your group does not publish a schedule for training and you are not putting ‘hands on’ within a learning environment, look for a new group.  Please.

The Administrator is not responsible for all training conducted, not by a long shot…unless you’ve got Rambo for an Administrator?  A healthy approach to schedule your training might be to first ask the Group what do they want to learn?  And find out who can do what…what skills do your Group already possess.  Make a calendar, schedule training and rotate responsibility for conducting the class.  Ensure every meeting incorporates ‘hands on’ training to its members.  This is a sure sign that your Group is healthy, focused and sincere in its efforts.  Share the workload.  Lastly, any Group that meets to discuss topics at the philosophical level…chit, chat…is not really educating you on Prepping.  We can sit and chatter endlessly about what if.

The second type of Prepper Group takes an enormous step farther in commitment and actually becomes a more formal organization; one might say a Community or Tribe?  This Group has now taken active steps to organize a physical presence beyond that of a meeting.  The previous educational intent through meetings may remain but now the Tribe discusses their specific, personal plan of action.

What is the plan, where are we going and who’s doing what?  This becomes much more complex.  Now we are talking about specifics…who, what, when, where and how much?  Yes…we will have to discuss how much it will cost?  The ultimate commitment…money.  Everything we’ve discussed so far has been easy…because it generally has not cost anything.  But now, we are committed.  And yes, this will cost money.

Money is the great commitment bridge.  So far, we’ve found Prepping not so difficult.  Go to a few meetings, provide some vague opinions and all is well.  You’re in, easy.  But now you’re faced with a commitment, do I actually join a Prepper Group…they seem like good people, they go to church and they look ‘squared away’.  But they are asking for money?  The fact is… if your Group is truly committed…it does cost money.  The water well cost money.  The garden providing fresh fruit, the stocked fish pond, the land itself…it all cost money.  Committed or chit-chat?

And now joining a Prepper Group becomes complicated, money is involved.  Do I get a receipt to claim on taxes…what happens if I change my mind later…do I get a refund…do I get a say in what is purchased?  What happens if I don’t agree with the Groups leadership?  Lots of open-ended questions for a Group professing liberty, freedom and protection.  And this is the delicate balance of joining a Prepper Group.  Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is?

Bottom line, Leadership and healthy Group dynamics are essential to any small unit success.  The Leadership must be fair, balanced and direct.  A good leader will listen to his subordinate’s opinions but in the end must make and enforce the final decision…success or failure is his responsibility.  Leadership (decisions) through voting is a weak attempt to avoid responsibility and will ultimately end with failure.  In the end, what really matters with a leader are those hidden qualities that make one successful.  The ability to inspire and motivate others…a good leader will possess this ability naturally.  Confidence, Charisma and Caring…that’s your leader.

Group dynamics is the next key component for any Prepper organization.  Does the organization allow for open discussion, are you allowed to voice your opinion or is it ‘my way or the highway’?  Seems obvious but there is always a delicate balance of personalities, opinions and intent.  A healthy organization will allow for open dialogue with different viewpoints and ideas.  Open dialogue facilitates creativity.  A healthy organization is willing to learn, adapt and evolve.  The hallmark for any true Prepper…learn, adapt and evolve.

So, lets return to the original concept, Prepper Groups are they worth the effort?  These Groups are absolutely invaluable to your long-term sustainment, security and survival…if you can keep them!

LTC Scott Daniel can be contacted via email, or through his website.


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. Pingback: Prepping – Friday – 8_08_2014 | Headline News

  2. Preppers are just grown up Boy Scouts. In my case it is literally true, as I am a Merit Badge Counselor for the local Boy Scout Troop.

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