Crusoe at American Partisan has several articles about building mutual assistance groups (MAGs) which may be worth your time to read. Crusoe mentions this, but know that the examples of standards and equipment which he mentions are what his specific group decided. Your MAG may have different goals which will dictate more or less stringent standards or entirely different standards and/or equipment.
I believe it is important to build a mutual assistance group (MAG) based upon sound principles and shared values. Using history as a guide, it was bands of people who gathered that ensured survival. Quite frankly, hiding in a bunker by yourself is one of the quickest ways to get rolled up, all your stuff taken, and ultimately killed. Humans are tribal by nature and require community to function optimally. We were not made to exist within a digital world, and it is human-to-human interaction that brings out the best in us. I commonly say, “practice analog leadership in a digital world.” For a great (and fun) book to read that illustrates the need for community defense check out Warwolf by Hermann Lons.
Building a MAG takes a lot of work, but in the end will be worth every minute you spend building it. Whether you are creating a new one or trying to gain purpose with your existing group there are key steps to take. For the purpose of this article, I will talk about the initial steps of building a charter and why this is important.
A charter is nothing more than the guidelines on how your group is structured and expectations of each member. It really is not rocket science; it just takes a lot of thinking to get it right. If building a new group, I would recommend you start with only a couple founding members that share your values and basic expectations. When trying to do anything with numbers greater than that it quickly devolves into ‘group think’ and bickering over minor details. Remember…this is your group, and the end results will be influenced by these first steps. The ultimate goal is to build professionalism which spurs deliberate actions. Professionalism is also how you will recruit worthwhile members as they will see you are not a bunch of old fat men who only shoot guns and talk about the impending apocalypse. Instead, they will see you as squared away and thinking about the bigger picture.
When starting to write your charter I recommend you buy a big white board and brainstorm your purpose. If you have read any of my other articles you will know I am a proponent of defining requirements before doing anything. Ask the questions: Why are we building this MAG? What is our overall purpose? What does the end result look like? and What do we value? From this mental exercise the next steps are to build mission and vision statements. This is important because it will define what it is you are trying to accomplish.