very good question. i will be joing gun officianadoes he is good with agriculture, horses, any thing mechanic and welding. she is an electrician and can do everything he can do. both raised rual knowledgeable on hunting slaughter tanning just like myself. excellent marks men and wimmin types. my bug out partner hopefully will be my friend a hardcore marine in his 40s lives a coupla miles from me and he knows the plan to meet up and bug out. i will have a person selected, a youger guy, tech designs weapons and ammunition but strong and willing to make the trip should we have to.(no he cant bring samples home from work). any one who is armed and prepped can make the journey. we will not be taking liabilities with us. there are no children in this group. the group we shall meet up with is the home owners in the rual area/semi rual really there wil be no kids, but plenty of horses guns and ammo horses for farming and travel shoudl we have too. but there will be 15-20 in that group protecting the perimeter.
we look around but feel we are a very strong group. and ready for contention.
both of my kids know where i am going, and that ill be more than safe. they are encouraged to make their own plans and journeys, with their friends in their area. i dont want either to bug out after me thinking i wont do well. they should know by now any one im a round will do quite well.
You can only prep items and stock food so far, sure you can have a huge stockpile and the best of the best equipment.
But if you don't have the knowledge to properly use each and everything you have, it is doing you no good to have it at all. PREP YOUR MIND IN THE MATTER OF KNOWLEDGE IS THE FIRST PLACE YOU SHOULD START!!
I'd say it's a matter of knowledge and trust.... and adaptability. In reality... your group should be a series of "Chiefs" that rotate positions. Basically... if you need to supplement food by hunting, then the person who knows the most about hunting your area is in charge of hunting. If you need edible plants, find the person with the most knowledge of edible plants in your area. If defense is required, the person with the most knowledge of how to defend the group. Etc.... If there is a good trust relationship in your group, when the best "Chief" steps up, the rest should share what they know, but be good "Indians" and let the Chief do his/her job. That same idea applies to any situation. If you decide you need to build a running vehicle... or create an electrical system using a water wheel or wind generator, etc... then you find the person with the best knowledge (that you trust) and have them assume that role.
But... it is very dependent on your area and climate. You may have a great hunter that hunts Africa every year... but may not know squat about small game in your area. You may have a 20 year infantry veteran who knows almost nothing about clearing buildings... or the reverse... a 20 year LE professional who doesn't know small group tactics.
As you assimilate people into your (to steal a term...) Circle of Trust, find out about their skills... both from a practical standpoint and from a personality standpoint. The best skilled person in the world could destroy your group if they have the personality of a concentration camp guard. Each person has to be firm enough to get their job done without alienating anyone else in the group. And.... they have to be able to switch roles and do what they are told... without questioning in many situations... just to keep the group alive. From my perspective, the only way for me to put myself into a "I'll follow your orders without question" mindset is if I know and trust that individual and know we are both looking out for the welfare of everyone in the group.
Bugging out would be a nightmare for me on so many levels, so unless my community becomes uninhabitable, I am staying here.
As far as setting up a community, I have zero fantasies about what that life can lead to. I've visited self-sustaining communes and know people who were raised in them. In my experience those places always have some kind of major dysfunction or drama within the group. Most of the time it had to do with money, laziness, or people sleeping with each other. Sadly, I also know several children who were molested in a couple of the different commune groups. I'm not saying all communal living situations are like this, but I've seen a lot. Thanks, but no thanks.
My ideal scenario would be to remain here in my own house and community, providing for my family and just linking up with others for security and bartering purposes. The key to that sort of situation being successful is good communication and checking in with your neighbors a lot. Holding regular meetings to talk about and formulate security plans and meet needs. I would like to think that people would naturally fall into roles that suit them best, based on demand within the community and their own skills sets. But roles could be assigned too.
I think what WW is saying about prepping in your mind above all else is right on. Develop your skills, build a good library and those things will give you a good basis to work from. The most valuable prep in the world is having a mind full of knowledge and the ability to make something out of nothing using your skills and the items that are available to you.
As far as my own skills, I have a lot of them...fishing, butchering, food preservation, first aid, bartering, and an attitude of resourcefulness. I am really good at crafting something I need out of something else I have on hand. I can look at an object and find alternative uses for it.
Also, as WW suggested, I am always working to learn new things or develop my skills further. I really want to learn small engine repair, how to build solar panels, develop my foraging and shooting skills, etc. These are all on my bucket list for 2013. Sit down and make your own skills list. That's the best place to start as a prepper.