If you've landed on this blog by mistake, please follow this link:


Please update your bookmarks and the links on your sites.

Join our forum at:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Building your own CQ Group

The following is an email that I received from another prepper who felt this CQ has some great merit. It is complete with some really good ideas. H. B. is not a member of the LDS Church but references it as a source for information. He also disclaims that all faiths should avoid politics and religion at meetings, in order to build a larger collective group. Good wisdom involves avoiding offending others but also taking advantage of all available resources. Enjoy:

Colloquium (CQ) Groups--Part One, by H.B. in North Central Idaho

The Beginning
CQ has a unique definition to many people. One military and another for the Amateur Radio ("ham") community. I’d like to add another definition for CQ. CQ to us refers to our local community preparedness group that we started five months ago. CQ is actually short for Colloquium- which basically means an open discussion about various topics. I chose colloquium to shorten the even longer original name-”community preparedness meeting at the Big Cedar Schoolhouse” Whew! What a mouthful! You can see why it was abbreviated. I soon got tired of having to explain what a colloquium meant so CQ it became. I prefer the original and classical word but will concede to our generational ignorance caused by 100 years of government schooling.

The following is a concise record of how we formed our group, how it is organized, what it has accomplished and how it will continue to grow and mature. We are sharing this information in hope that you will be encouraged to take the same step and be empowered with information to be successful in your endeavors to organize your family, friends, neighborhood and community. So let us begin.

The original idea for a preparedness group came from the most obvious place--"Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse". (Just a quick side note: any attendee of our CQ who hasn’t read it is soon ridiculed, harassed, admonished and put on the rack until they read it). SurvivalBlog is a primary source for any research done by me if I am presenting a topic.
I realized that I couldn’t have a group the same as the “Grays” in "Patriots" so I gave careful consideration to individual prepping. Individual prepping leads quickly to recognition of the fact that you can’t do everything yourself and the futility of trying. You need other people to complete the total package of fulfilling daily needs. No one person has the time, money or expertise to be a all-in-one survival community. Who would want to anyway? I like the idea of needing neighbors and sharing skills, assets and blessings. For instance, my wife is an excellent cook but I really enjoy potluck dinners. It gives you variety and flavor that you would otherwise never experience, especially desserts! More on that later.

The CQ acorn was planted one sunny day when I was talking with two other 4H dads. The kids were busy with their 4H project so us Dad’s started conversing about the bad state of affairs and the coming economic troubles. I then broached the subject and asked, “..wouldn’t it be great if we all got together to discuss preparedness and get organized as a community?” The response was overwhelmingly positive. One of the men belonged to the LDS church and he gave me a thorough review of their church preparedness model and how they have a program dating back 60+ years. I was impressed. They have a great program and lots of resources for preparedness minded individuals. Just one problem. I’m not a member of the LDS church nor do I see myself joining their church.

I realized that I wanted to know more about their program but I didn’t want to open the door for the “Amway Guy” either--if you get my drift. Once I started to inquire of acquaintances that were LDS I was pleasantly surprised that they actively encouraged all community members to prepare-whether they are LDS or not. They do so without proselytizing or recruiting. I haven’t asked but I think they have a real common sense approach to preparedness philosophy. Every family outside their church who is prepared is one less community member who may need help when times get rough. They prepare for not just themselves but to dispense charity also. As for proselytizing, the young men on bikes will get to you eventually for a visit at your doorstep so let prepping be prepping and mission work be mission work.

I, obviously, can’t speak for the LDS church but my dealings with them have been honest, straightforward and mutually respectful. I know they are LDS and they know I am a Christian Reformed Evangelical. So be it! We disagree on doctrinal issues but agree on the coming storm and we have grown to care for one another. Christ called us to be in the world and have dominion over our culture for Him. How can that happen if we don’t have acquaintances outside the church-even friends who are of different faiths and beliefs? Being in the world is not being of the world-two different things. I retain close friendships for those who are of my covenant community all others are just friends or acquaintances. The point is don’t be afraid to interact with the LDS or others. They won’t bite.

Anyway, once I found out about their preparedness history and apparatus I asked how we could access those resources. I was encouraged to speak with people in the LDS church membership who had specific duties or leadership. In our area one individual had tried to start a community preparedness group but it only had buy-in from those who were LDS and no others. The problem was that non-LDS saw it as an LDS thing. I immediately realized the potential of garnering support from the vestiges of this group and build from there. One thing I hate is re-inventing the wheel and this would save us time and energy in getting the word out to potential attendees.

Each community has a business or businesses that have their pulse on the community. It may be a coffee shop or café where the locals meet and exchange information and discuss politics or the like. I was fortunate to find just the thing here in my small community. I explained to the man who owned the business my plan and he said it was a great idea and new for a fact that most of his customers would be interested. He also thought that CQ would succeed because I was organizing it. Meaning that would calm the fears of non-LDS folks and so we would see attendance from everyone. We also had another local asset, a small schoolhouse we could rent for $10 dollars. The location was central for all my neighbors as we are several miles out of town.
Choosing a good location is vital. An old-schoolhouse, grange, or community center. Making the location neutral is important as some folks don’t like going into houses of worship not their own. Being considerate of the entire group can pave the way for much consensus and team building.

Our location lasted two meeting before we moved it up the road to my own property. We have lasted two meetings here and now are moving it to a more public location due to growth and scope of CQ. Your location needs to have a few obvious and not so obvious essentials. The obvious are restrooms, water and power. I have learned the more amenities there are the more options you have for your topics. Cover from the elements, tables and even a dry erase board can add significantly your program. You may notice I didn’t mention chairs as we have had our last two CQs outside and everyone brings there own lawn chair. By the time the weather turns we will be back indoors at a location that has all these things. Sound system is recommended once your group reaches 100 people otherwise its overkill for smaller groups.

Now that we knew we wanted a meeting and I had consensus of several community leaders (not politicians) we set a date and started formulating a game plan.

First rule--Focus on excellence and everything else will follow.
Focusing on excellence requires you to see through the small details that can aggravate and disrupt your groups momentum. Momentum or positive word-of-mouth reputation is important to get your neighbors involved. Once they’ve figured out they are missing something fun, innovative and worthwhile they will make an effort to attend.

Second Rule--Keep It Simple and Short.
All our CQ’s are scheduled for Two hours every 1st Friday of the month. 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm with social time afterward so people can talk and network with each other. Our second CQ was so successful people stayed until 11:00 pm just to talk and network. We chose Friday nights for its ability to allow for later hours and it doesn’t burn a weekend day which are a commodity in rural areas. We try to have four topics discussed in 20 minute segments. If a topic takes longer the presenter gets another slot the following month or gets a double. For example, our first and second CQ had a presentation on lighting in austere environments. The first CQ he covered oil or kerosene type lanterns. The next CQ he presented part two which covered pressure fuel (Coleman) lanterns. The CQ this last Friday we had a Physician’s Assistant provide us a basic overview of the three styles of medical care: Grid Up, Wilderness, and Grid Down. This took 45 minutes but set the foundation for future topics on medical issues moving forward. This has been our one exception to the 20 minute rule so each topic stays fresh and the attendees don’t get lecture fatigue so changing topics every 20 minutes keeps fatigue to a minimum.

Third Rule--Focus on skill building.
Discernment of economic disasters and wisdom about our fragile society or thin veneer of civilized behavior is the foundation for a preparedness mindset. The building of skills becomes the obvious outcome of such knowledge. The skills that remove you from the J.I.T. supply chain are the skills we look to build in each other and ourselves. The following topics were covered in the last four CQs.
CQ-1: -Introduction to the concept and quick demographic survey.
-Pruning For Production-Fruit Trees and Bushes.
-Lighting: Lamps and Candles in Austere Environments.
-Beans, Bullets & Band-Aids-Various topics/open discussion.
CQ-2: -Review of Formal Emergency Management Plan for Area.
-Lighting: Lamps & Candles Cont.--Fuel Lanterns.
-Discussion of Topics for future CQ’s.
-Beans, Bullets & Band-Aids-Various topics/open discussion.
CQ-3 -Review of Color Code of Awareness/Plan to design Color Code
Emergency Action List.
-Latest CPR Techniques and Certification Signup.
-Radio Basics and Options.
-Water Production and Storage.
-Beans, Bullets & Band-Aids-Various topics/open discussion.
CQ-4 -Update on progress for Color Code Emergency Action List.
-General Advanced Medical Primer.
-Water Filtration, Purification and Storage.
-Knife and Blade Sharpening.
The topics were picked at random or by request. Again, keep it short and sweet. Those presenting topics should be experts in their field or have extensive knowledge otherwise you can see right through it. Focus on Excellence!

Fourth Rule--No Militia or Talk of Making War.
We all know the look. The look you get when you say “preparedness”: like you’ve got three heads and just admitted you like country dancing with Bigfoot(for the record--Sasquatch don‘t dance, especially to country music!). If you want full community buy-in and support you have to be able to give guarantees that the war mongers among us are welcome but will not be given time to speak or recruit for there own self interest.

We do discuss guns, training and other topics pertaining to paramilitary preparedness but we declare up front that guns and gun training are for the gun range. There is a separate time and place that is appropriate for such discussion but CQ is not it. Paramilitary preparedness and training are subjects best discussed quietly amongst friends you know and trust--not publicly and especially not amongst a general populace. It will turn off a large percentage of attendees and kill any momentum you might be building. Again, focus on excellence by keeping topics short, concise and on schedule. Do Not Give a Formal Platform to a Radical. It will poison your efforts. I will discuss in Part Two how we handled just such an issue.

Fifth Rule--No Politics or Religion
CQ sees regular attendance by LDS members, Christians of different denominations and a family that are Messianic Jews. We are even seeing a growing contingency of granola folks. I hope “granola” is the right word to describe the holistic/organic living group without offense. I’ve slowly been educated by our neighbors who live this culture. I’ve learned they love to barbeque (non-meat dogs or turkey burgers), drink good beer (life’s too short to drink bad beer) and some of them even love to shoot. Let’s face reality--organic chips and salsa are the best!

What I’m trying to get at with rule number five is we need to focus on what we have in common--not what can divide us. Keep the group and discussion focused on skill building. One person described CQ as "4H on steroids" or "4H for adults". A perfect description.

Sixth Rule--Don’t have a bunch of rules.
Over regulation, organization and rule making will turn people away. They want to come and be a part of something without having to join something. No call chains, emails or Yahoo groups. Again, keep it simple for you and them. You’ll thank yourself later and they will thank you by attending and complimenting you on the quality and success of your meetings. An occasional pat on the back and slice of apple pie is all I need to do my part and it should be that simple for you also. If it isn’t it’s time to look in the mirror and ask why you want to lead such a group.

In closing, I hope this helps you with starting your own CQ. “CQ-Part Two What We Have Learned” will describe some of the details of what is written above and how to avoid pitfalls and headaches associated with organizing a community group. I would like to leave you with two things: Our motto, Parasumus (Latin) “We Prepare” and our stated purpose: "To further community cohesiveness through skill building and resource networking in preparation of societal disruption and change."
Gloria Deo!

Good luck on setting up your own CQ.

Bill Allen

Join the APN Forum at www.AmericanPreppersNetwork.net
Visit the Washington Forum at www.WashingtonPreppersNetwork.net
Washington Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Washington Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.