Humans are social creatures. We work well together and we mostly do a good job of living in close proximity to each other. Ultimately, at some point we all need someone else for something. Company, friendship, advice or just a simple boredom buster. In a long term survival situation, at some point you will want to form a survival community.
A survival community is effective at keeping all members alive and creating the feeling of stability and normality in an otherwise extreme situation. Here are some key points to build a happy, healthy and successful survival community.
Have a leader
Some people have the wrong idea about what makes a good leader in a survival community. It is not all about torturing newcomers until they tell you everything about themselves. It is also not about instilling fear into everyone so they fall into line. Being a leader is about being the person who people trust and respect enough to follow into whatever situation is required, no matter how dangerous it is. Leaders need to make decisions as to whether a task is too dangerous to complete or whether staying put or moving on is the safest option.
The person who originally came up with the idea of forming a survival community is not necessarily the right person for the leadership role. Leaders need to be calm, knowledgeable, and approachable. They have to make decisions that other people do not want to make. This person will become the centre of the community so they must encompass the personality that you want the community to have.
Set the rules right from the start and follow them
Once a leader is in place, they need to have the appropriate talks with the original community members to decide upon the ground rules. These rules need to be followed by everyone at all times. Even the leader needs to follow them, otherwise the rules are not worth the paper they are written on. Fair and appropriate “punishments” need to be clearly laid out to help prevent people from breaking them. Any newcomers who you welcome into your community must follow these rules regardless of the rules they may have followed elsewhere. If someone disagrees with the rules with no firm reason as to why, they may have to be asked to leave the community.
Everyone should have a job
Everyone should be involved in building and maintaining the community. Use people’s talents and skills such as gardening, building, plumbing etc to get your community up and running. Everyone should feel that they are an important part of the community. Ensure that everyone is involved in the day to day maintenance even if it is in a very small way.
Manage your resources
All members of the community will bring something with them. Whether they are hardened preppers or a small family who were picked up along the way. Everyone should be treated equally and fairly. It is a good idea to hold all food, water and weapon supplies in central locations to reduce the risk of someone taking more than their fair share and putting everyone else in danger. This is also a great way to maintain the community spirit. If everyone has to meet in a central location for meals, it brings everyone together. This strengthens the bond between all members. Eventually you could look to give each family their own supplies but a strong community needs to be built first.
Make changes where appropriate
There will come times where change has to happen. Whether some rules need to be adapted or a new leader is required. Change is inevitable for any survival community. These changes need to be managed very well to ensure fair outcomes are achieved. When and how to make these changes need to be detailed in the rules when they are first set. Change is scary but sometimes it has to happen for the benefit of the rest of the community.
Healthy and happy communities are key to living a more bearable life in extreme situations. Have a plan in place to form one when it is safe to do so. Choose a suitable safe location and then get everyone together. Be a welcoming community with clear views on what everyone wants.