There are many preppers out there hiding in plain sight. Why is that?
Some of us are not huge into the word “prepper” even though that’s what we are. Some of us don’t like it, and some of us don’t want others to associate it with us. Media attention has led to an uptick in preparedness-minded forums, blogs, and news sites, but it has also contributed to things like *that show* that some of us would rather keep our distance from.
There are people like us, though – even if they don’t use the phrase and don’t associate it with anything but the ridiculous TV shows, and certainly not themselves.
These are the people we can go to, explaining simply that we’d like to get closer to our roots, learn a new skill, indulge in a hobby, live more connected to our history and the land around us, or that we’d like to be more self-sufficient for environmental or health reasons. No “P” word involved.
We can look these people up individually with simple internet searches. There are regular forums with state breakdowns for these people, or fairly local ones who have decided to blog about their experiences. We can find them at farmer’s markets, by posting flyers at the county co-op, and by seeking out similar-skill clubs – a sewing circle may be a good place to show up with cupcakes and go, “please, I’m of a helpless generation and don’t know how to make or mend clothes or costumes”.
We can ask if they’d mind us coming to help and learn, or if they have some task we can accomplish. Especially with things like the sewing clubs and HAM radio (really, really with HAM radio – be forewarned), people love what they’re doing or they remember starting themselves. The old-timers we’re most interested in and the passion-oriented types are routinely just delighted to tell and show somebody all about their skill.
When we find enough of them, we may realize that we have a pretty good set of community skills we never realized were nearly on our doorstep, and we have a chance of working in networks to increase the self-sufficiency of our neighborhoods – without ever forming that MAG or using that P-word. They are all out there and many are hiding in plain sight, if you know what you are looking for.
What potential prepper resources are hiding in plain sight?
So who are these undercover preparedness human resources?
- Homesteaders, organic farmers, free-range and pasture-fed livestock owners
- Livestock keepers on dedicated forums for rabbits, chickens and goats
- CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture)
- Master Gardener’s, community garden initiatives, guerrilla/outlaws gardeners
- Permaculturists/permies, “edimental” designers and growers (edible ornamental – A.K.A., HOA dodgers), edible landscapers
- Aquaculture farmers and growers
- Farmer’s market vendors (beekeepers, goat and cattle and pig products, jams and jellies, veggie and fruit growers)
- Small rodeo and horse show participants and organizers (small, and hit an event and collect cards, stroll around and write down info from truck and trailer doors, nod and shake hands; don’t be too much of a pest during, unless you see an old person watching avidly by themselves – that’s somebody to sit beside and strike up a conversation with)
- ASPCA and private farm animal volunteers and fosters
- Horse-donkey-mule-pony owners and farriers
- *Quilting and crochet clubs
- *Programs and groups that make blankets and clothing for veterans, Wounded Warriors, neonatal hospital patients, disenfranchised children, women’s and children’s shelters (sorry, dudes, you don’t usually get as much play), and Humane Society, APSCA and private companion animal and livestock rescues
- *Canning, dehydrating, and preserving clubs and groups (try looking on Facebook and for forums, and add posts for locals if you need in-person help)
*Some of these may be run through various churches and community clubs like the YMCA; also check senior citizen clubs – they may have one and let you come play even if you’re under 55-65, if you’re nice/lucky
- Hunters, trappers
- Anglers, hand-seiners, non-powered launch trap, and line fishermen
- Foragers, wild food fanatics
- 100-mile diet and slow-food movement forums and blogs (looking for locals for their sources)
- “Dude” ranches and the equivalent for old skills
- Tourist traps like Williamsburg with period crafters
- Period reenactment aficionados (CAS/SASS is not going to be helpful for preparedness besides some multi-target, multi-gun practice)
- **Shooting enthusiasts
- **Sports shooting events (just to watch and develop a contact or two to try the gear before signing up or buying in; be nice and provide some ammo or lunch and a beer), particularly those with precision (hunting; CMP rimfire & modern military rifle, trap and skeet) or speed-holster work (tactical; IDPA, CAS, IPSC, Three-Gun and Two-Gun)
- **Self-defense groups and clubs (many will have a membership, but you can watch and maybe make a contact for outside assistance, just like shooting)
**Word of warning: “Military/Veteran” is not equivalent to “strategy, tactics and firearm be-all, end-all”; many military members served in a support field and without effort on their part to participate in more, only fire 1-2 qualifications a year, and outside select MOS’s, do not ever touch or see used a pistol or shotgun. Our tactics for convoys, operations, and shooting standards and training have changed immensely in the last 10 and 20 years, from jungle to urban to the desert and back again.
I mean no disrespect. I am a military veteran. I started in a white-collar field and lat moved to public affairs and combat correspondence. I’ve gotten to see a lot of the services as well as the Marine Corps MOS’s.
“Wanted-military/veterans” from the warm-fuzzy motivation is great but seeing it tucked into a list along with farmer/gardener, herbal medicine, livestock raiser, etc. like a specialty is guaranteed to make me roll my eyes a little – we may have some distinct and shared skills, but not all military service is created equal. And on that note, strategy and tactics are two different things, but without one, the other is doomed. Likewise, no intel, no comms, no-op.
- Lumberjack competitions and competitors
- Blacksmiths, tinsmiths
- Survivalists, bush-craft, and wild-crafting (maybe search for blogs, clubs, and groups, otherwise schools are going to pop instead)
- Hikers, backpackers (especially through-packers), and overnight kayakers and rafters,
- Campers and RVers
Want to make your own soaps and lotions, dip candles, spin animal and plant fibers and dye it with more plants, tan your own hides from real rennet? There’s a forum, blogs and Facebook pages for that. You can get firsthand knowledge to answer questions, and you can start finding a local to learn from hands-on.
Table the evangelizing…
…at least for a little while.
When we’re passionate about something – anything – we tend to want to talk people into it. Especially when it’s something that could save them, and something that seems so utterly obvious and irrefutable to us. Yet one of the common things we see on forums is “my community/family is useless and won’t open their eyes, no matter how hard I hammer”.
So don’t hammer.
If you must use a P word, try preparedness instead of prepper. If you can stick an interest under the mantle of being a greenie/environmentalist or interest in homesteading and self-sufficiency instead of prepping, even better. Try working in hints and baby steps using sales and saving money, then the FEMA/Red Cross “normal” stuff before working up to an “insurance” aspect for job loss or big bills. As soon as somebody stops being responsive, stop trying.
If they’re not interested in a supply of UHT milk, Pop Tarts and canned soup so they don’t have to join the mobs emptying Buy’N’Large ahead of a storm – again – you’re not going to convince them of aliens, Nibiru, pole shifts, mind- or weather-controlling chemtrails or RFID chips in vaccines, NWO, global crop failure or pandemic, near-future Waterworld, object in space, Great Depression 2.0, IT-blanking virus, another 1859, nuclear threats, or anything else.
(I don’t poke things people prepare for, although I like the general approach myself. That stuff’s serious as religion, and I don’t poke people’s religions. My favorite deity and Mother Nature made a bunch of different types of trees, fish, and dogs, so I figure they’re okay with diversity everywhere. Be polite to each other – we have enough enemies in this world already.)
It’s natural that we want the world and our communities to be better prepared. We have to be smart about how we try to open their eyes, or we will most commonly drive them away. Some people just have to touch the oven to learn it’s hot. Then they might be more interested in preventing and treating burns, at least for a little while.
We’re there to learn from them without becoming the topic of conversation at the co-op, church or the water cooler. That’s the priority. Eyes on the prize. Anything else is just a bonus.
Expand where you look
Usually, things like homeopathic healing and field surgery are going to have to be incidental bonuses associated with things like the period reenactors and freaky-greenie growers of one vein or another, but give it a whirl. Type in your city, county or state, and see what pops up.
You may be surprised by just how many people with a useful skill or set of skills are in your area.
Finding people who specialize in interest, and being able to cloak our preparedness motivation for joining in their interest, allows us to gain the skills and sometimes the partners and commiseration we desperately need, without exposing ourselves as crazy nut-jobs like the ones on TV.
We have nothing to lose but a few internet searches, some phone calls, and some time spent hanging out in places they do. Since college football is long over and we’re going to be stuck with baseball on the radio and TV forever, it’s not like we have anything better to do.