Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Gg Lanich.
Remember the crazy panic at the end of 1999 when folks had the idea that the dates on computer would fail to roll over and civilization as we knew it would end? I never for a minute bought into that scenario, but it got me thinking…..well, what if did? What if life as we knew it did end? How would I feed my kids, who were school age? How would we live without electricity, etc? It was a head full of those kinds of questions that, while not producing fear at that time, gave me reason to think in ways that have been with me ever since. My grandparents lived in a time without many of those things. Could I plan to do that in case it was needed?
Fast forward to about 3 years ago. I was still asking these questions and increasing my small efforts at preparedness. With all the information on the web, prepping can be financially intimidating. I am a school teacher and for someone at my income level it feels like so much to think about and purchase…food, water, weapons, ammunition, medical supplies, trade goods….wow! And I need it all now! Back in 1999 and on to present day, I have been more and more determined to prepare in any way I can. So,…instead of worrying about what I can’t afford or do, I focus on what I CAN do to improve my preparedness. Many fun and interesting developments have come along.
There are numerous topics I can talk about here, but I am going to stick to my favorite. After some casual conversations at work, a few of my coworkers and I discovered we had preparedness in common. At different levels, we were of the same mind. These conversations started out gently and grew beyond gardening, canning and first aid until we all felt safe talking about how we feel and our concerns. Since we are all women, our little group is called the Princess Preppers, always said with a smile! It is a tongue-in-cheek name for a group we take seriously. While we keep it close, we share and invite others when we find a kindred or curious spirit.
Forming your community
I can’t describe what it has meant to have others to talk to and share information. Our first meeting was about our Get Home Bags and what we carried. Some had no bag and came for information, while others had well stocked bags. We discussed the difference in my bag (I live 6 miles from work and have no kids) and the bag for a mom who has two kids at a daycare and lives 20 miles away (additional 10 to the daycare). We went over resources at our place of employment that might be helpful for those with a longer trip home. We talked routes, maps and how to use a compass to be off-road. Again, we focused on what we CAN do with what we already have and expanded from there. This has helped us form a network of support that each of us will tap into before and after a situation that might result in our getting home without our regular transportation. It feels great to have a plan.
As a result of our meeting, some of the PP’s have had talks with their spouses, daycare teachers and neighbors. One PP realized that her neighbor has kids in the same daycare as her son and works much closer, so that getting all the kids home at one time would be easier than each parent going individually. I admired her courage as she shared the talk she had with the daycare and neighbors (some were initially resistant!) about an emergency situation and making a plan for the children. This would mean the adults could come home as quickly as is safe and not run around trying to locate the children or go additional miles to pick them up. Her plan also included packs for the kids, a plan to “make it an adventure” for the little ones, snacks, water and extra clothing as needed to get the kids home safely.
Some of us have spouses on board with prepping, but some not so much. We have been able to provide support and ideas for working with the reluctant family member, which in some cases includes teenagers or live-in grandparents. Notice I didn’t say “convincing” but working with them and seeking cooperation, even if they disagree. The convincing will come on its own, if it ever does, but few people can be forced into a belief. So if a family member is not agreeable to help prep, at least they can refrain from hindering the process for others. It is better to have everyone on board, but we realized that is not always possible. We support one another through these conversations.
Our PP group frequently brings up the question, “…and what happens when that runs out?” This has really helped all of us to think about our plans and what we might be able to do when a supply or item runs out, quits or is no longer available to us. What CAN we do or plan for? This has led to members researching specific products or processes and sharing that with the group. More information gets covered in a much shorter time that if we each had to do this research. We copy articles for one another and put them in our hard-copy Prepper Binders at home.
I will say that we are blessed to live in a rural area where much old knowledge is still alive and well. I moved back to my home region for many reasons and that is part of it. Getting answers to the “what now?” question is easier for us than it might be in a different setting. There is a wealth of knowledge locally about foraging for wild food, wild plant medicine, bush crafting and wilderness skills and hunting for game. I am truly thankful that the urge to learn has come while there are still those around us who can teach. As a result, some of the PP’s have been looking at wild edibles though the seasons to become aware of availability. You don’t want to depend on that, but it can help to stretch supplies over time and there is a lot to eat in our neck of the woods.
As female preppers (moms, wives and singles), we have discovered we often have different questions and perspectives from our male partners and friends. Our unique perspectives, applicable to our locale and situation are helpful and enlightening. There is great deal of security and pleasure in exploring topics with other women and sharing with my husband. It has helped us grow in our plans for the future.
There is so much from the PP group that I would love to include, but the focus of this article is to share the power and fun of a community when planning for a frightening scenario. We refer to our prepping for the “zombie apocalypse” while we understand it is not a laughing matter. Our group keeps it light, while being completely serious, so we don’t get wrapped up in a negative mental state preparing for what might come. We are moms, grandmothers and newlyweds with kids in daycare, planning families and grown children living hours away from us. We travel, we plan and we share. In a disaster scenario, we would all part ways to our respective homes, and wouldn’t come together again for a long time if ever. For now, our time is spent in friendship and planning.
The empowerment of building a group like this has been surprising. I was doing OK on my own, but it is so much better to have those to share and talk with. I can’t recommend strongly enough the strength in forming a group now, before an event. Look at what you all have, what you CAN do now and how you can be supportive in preparedness planning. For me, it has become a significant support in making peace and be ready for a potentially unstable future. We sometimes joke about our grand-kids inheriting our prepping supplies that never get used…God will it be so.