What we're about

This meetup is for people in Southeastern PA who are concerned about rising crime rates, sporadic riots & terrorist attacks, rampant inflation & shortages, rising tensions with Russia & China, the lingering effects of the COVID pandemic, the erosion of privacy & civil liberties, and signs of instability in our political system that could lead to a constitutional crisis or even a civil war. Given all that's going on, it's smart to learn more about self-defense, personal safety, survival skills, and disaster prepping - just in case...
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The geographic area we cover is roughly the triangle defined by Philadelphia, Allentown/Bethlehem, and Lancaster and includes all parts in between (i.e. Media, Main Line, West Chester, King of Prussia, Exton, Downingtown, Coatesville, Lansdale, Doylestown, Quakertown, Kutztown, Phoenixville, Pottstown, Reading, Morgantown, Ephrata, etc). In addition to hosting our own events, we can take advantage of workshops and classes hosted by other groups in our area. Occasionally, we may make roadtrips to events a bit further away in other parts of PA, as well as in DE, MD & NJ.
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NOTE: Unlike most other meetups, I'm only teaching a few of the workshops listed on this page - mostly just the weekly rucks and a few self-defense workshops. But there's a lot of skills we can learn from other people in our area. I've combed the internet and listed as many survival-related events in our area as I can find - more than I can possibly attend, but I want to find some that are convenient for everyone in our group. As you can see from our list of upcoming meetups, we're really lucky to have so many events in our area almost every week!
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Our overall goal is to develop skills to help us cope with whatever life may throw in our way, whether that's crime, a natural disaster, economic instability, or political turmoil - or even more mundane things like car trouble, a power outage, or data privacy concerns. Our focus is on helping people not just survive but also *thrive* in uncertain times. We can do this by aligning the way we prepare for potential emergencies with our general self-improvement goals. When it's done the right way, training in self-defense skills can also help you get in better physical shape, build self-discipline & self-confidence, make you more situationally aware, and teach you to set personal boundaries & verbally deescalate conflicts. Learning some wilderness survival skills dovetails well with outdoor recreational activities like hiking, camping, hunting & fishing, all of which are beneficial by getting you more active outdoors which is healthy, and they also make you more aware of the natural world we depend upon. Similarly, sensible prepping dovetails well with the growing trends toward "frugal living" and "do-it-yourself" (DIY), and it can help you become more self-reliant and better at problem-solving, teach you ways to save money & diversify your investments, and give you some skills that are essential in a disaster scenario but can also help with regular household repairs & car maintenance. Coming to our meetups will also help you meet other people in our area who share many of your goals & interests.
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As a group, we'll do our best to help each other remain vigilant & prepared while not succumbing to the paranoia and conspiracy theories we sometimes see among the "doomsday preppers" or the Rambo fantasies of the "tacticool" mall-ninja types who amass huge amounts of gear they don't know how to use. Some of our group discussions will help with this by providing some stats & information to help us distinguish realistic threats from highly unlikely or unrealistic scenarios.
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If you'd like to get in shape, learn some self-defense and survival skills, and discuss some realistic ways to protect yourself and your family physically, legally & financially, please join us!

Upcoming events (4+)

Uitwaaien Bushcraft Gathering (4 Day) near Lock Haven, PA

Needs a location

This four-day event sounds amazing, although it's a bit of a drive for most of us - North Bend, PA is about 3 hours from Allentown, Reading & Lancaster and a bit over 3.5 hours from Philly. It would also probably require you to take the Thursday & Friday off from work, if you have a typical Mon-Fri. work schedule. However, if you can afford to do so, and you're not averse to camping outdoors and roughing it a bit, this is a great opportunity!

EVENT TITLE: "Uitwaaien Bushcraft Gathering 2022"

This is the 5th anniversary of the Uitwaaien Bushcraft Gathering!

And while it's called a "bushcraft gathering", but it's more than just about bushcraft! Attendees will have access to a ton of free presentations, seminars, and demonstrations.

There will also be advanced, hands-on workshops (there may be an extra fee for the instructor/materials for the advanced workshops)

There will be vendors and craftsman selling their products and passing on the knowledge they've gained over the years.

You'll be able to meet new people that have the same interests as you, and maybe even pick up a little knowledge while you're at it!

TICKETS: The cost of the course is $80 per adult, $50 per teen (13-17), plus an additional $25 to reserve your 20' x 20' camping site. An adult who buys a ticket can add on up to four kids 12 & under for free. For families, consider the Family Weekend Pass which includes 2 adults tickets, up to 4 kids 12 & under, and a camping site included at a lower price.

To buy tickets, go to: http://pagathering.com/#pricing

2022 VENDORS:

(To be announced)

2022 INSTRUCTORS:

(To be announced)

2022 SEMINARS/DISCUSSIONS:

(To be announced)

2022 WORKSHOP:

(To be announced)

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REI Wilderness First Aid Course (2 Day) near Allentown, PA

Needs a location

This wilderness first aid course is at the AMC Mohican Outdoor Center near Blairstown, NJ which is a bit of a drive for most of us. It's about 1 hour 15 minutes drive northeast of Allentown, about 2 hours drive from Reading, and 2 hours 30 minutes from Philly or Lancaster. However, given how hard it is to find these sorts of classes in our area, it may still be worth the drive for some folks.

Course Title: "Wilderness First Aid with NOLS and REI"

Date & Time: Sept. 23rd, 9:00am - Sept. 24th, 5:00pm (2 full days)

Location: AMC Mohican Outdoor Center - 50 Camp Mohican Rd., Blairstown, NJ

Cost: $355.00 for REI members, $385 for non-members

Where to Buy Tickets: https://www.rei.com/events/46423/wilderness-first-aid-with-nols-and-rei/293409

What You'll Learn:
Prepare for the unexpected in this hands-on introduction to wilderness medicine program taught by our partners at NOLS. If you work at wilderness camps, enjoy weekend family outdoor activities, or recreate outdoors, this is for you! During this two-day, 16-hour course you will learn the Patient Assessment System, how to provide effective first aid treatments for common outdoor injuries and illnesses, and how to make appropriate evacuation decisions. Instruction will take place in classrooms and outdoor settings regardless of weather, be prepared for any condition. Course completion results in a Wilderness First Aid certification.

IMPORTANT: NOLS is requiring all students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on all NOLS Wilderness Medicine courses. Wilderness Medicine instructors will review student vaccination cards at the start of the course. Please be sure to bring your vaccination card with you to your course.

  • You may be eligible to recertify your NOLS Wilderness Advanced First Aid, Wilderness First Responder, or W-EMT (wilderness portion only) using this course. Review NOLS recertification policies before registering - https://www.nols.edu/en/courses/wilderness-medicine/recertify

  • Close physical contact is an inherent part of this course. Review the NOLS COVID-19 Student Disclosure linked below for information about how NOLS is responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gear list (Required) - You must bring this to class:

  • Closed toed shoes
  • Face Covering(s) - Masks should be two or more layers and fit snugly under the chin and over the nose and mouth. Please come prepared with more than one as your primary mask may get wet and no longer be functional.
  • Lunch
  • Notebook and Pen or Pencil
  • Personal Prescription Medications - Including, but not limited to, epinephrine auto-injectors for anaphylactic allergies.
  • Snacks
  • Water Bottle
  • Weather Appropriate Clothing - Moisture wicking synthetic or wool layers to help keep you comfortable and/or dry.

Gear List (Optional) - You can bring this if you want:

  • Personal Camera
  • Sit Pad
  • Sun Protection - Lip balm, sunscreen, wide-brim hats, etc.

Provided by REI - You don't need to bring this:

  • Group First Aid Kit - Contents include wound care items and over the counter medications for minor injuries and illnesses

About the Event Host:
Recreational Equipment, Inc., commonly known as REI, is an American retail and outdoor recreation services corporation. It is organized as a consumers' co-operative. REI sells sporting goods, camping gear, travel equipment, and clothing. It also offers services such as outdoor-oriented vacations and courses. The closest REI stores to our area are in King of Prussia & Conshohocken, but you can also order online from https://www.rei.com

Weekly Hike in Valley Forge Nat'l Park (FREE)

Needs a location

This weekly hike on the trails along Mount Misery and Mount Joy in Valley Forge National Park is a great way to practice some basic land navigation skills and just chat & get to know each other. If you're looking to get into hiking & backpacking for recreation, this sort of weekly practice can help you get in shape for it. From a survival standpoint, hiking is good practice if you ever have to get somewhere in a disaster situation where the roads are blocked, jammed with cars, or unsafe for some reason.

Unlike some of the formal training events, this one is FREE!

We'll meet in the parking lot by the Delaware Memorial on River Road in Valley Forge, PA - at 5:15pm sharp. (This is the parking lot near both the old train station and Washington's headquarters.) I'd recommend trying to arrive 5 or so minutes early, so a slight delay doesn't leave the rest of us waiting.

The total distance we'll cover is between 4-5 miles depending on the route we take, but there's a lot of up & down and the ground is rocky, so it can be challenging. If you're new to hiking, I suggest just bringing a water bottle, but for those who are in pretty good shape and want to challenge themselves physically, I'd recommend bringing a backpack with some weight in it that you think you can carry over this distance - maybe start with 10-20 lbs and then work your way up from there. (Make sure you've got a well-fitting backpack meant for hiking with waist & chest straps rather than a typical school backpack. For weight, I've found that a pair of dumbbells works well, since if the pack starts hurting your back you can take them out & carry one in each hand. Just make sure to wrap them in a towel so they don't roll around in your pack too much.)

What to wear:

  • Athletic shirt, preferably something that's breathable and not 100% cotton, since this tends to be more comfortable when it's hot & humid.
  • Shorts can be more comfortable if it's hot, but long hiking pants or cargo pants could be safer, since the park has deer and deer mean ticks. Jeans can work too, but they're often uncomfortable when it's hot & humid.
  • The ground is rocky & uneven, so you'll want to wear either high-top hiking shoes or boots to protect your ankles from rolling, and you'll probably want thicker socks for more padding to avoid blisters. Padded insoles can also help with shock absorption.
  • On more humid days, some people may want to wear sweatband or bring a small gym towel or washcloth to wipe the seat out of their eyes.
  • I'd recommend spraying yourself with bug repellant containing DEET to keep the ticks, flies & mosquitos away.

What else to bring:

  • Water bottle or water bladder for your backpack, possibly with some electrolytes
  • A printed copy of the Valley Forge Nat'l Historical Park trail map (optional, but handy) - http://npmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/valley-forge-trail-map.pdf
  • A small collapsible umbrella or poncho if the weather forecast calls for rain
  • Trekking poles if you need them for stability
  • Epipen and/or inhaler if you have severe allergies or asthma

Note: If you're going to wear a backpack with some weight in it, I'd recommending reading this short article on how to maintain good rucking posture:
https://pathfinderrucktraining.com/blogs/pathfinder-ruck-training-the-blog/7-tips-for-good-rucking-posture

Briefly, here's the 7 tips the article mentions:

  1. Adjust your pack for a snug fit
  2. Keep your head & eyes up
  3. Lean slightly forward at the waist
  4. Keep your core tight & back straight
  5. Swing your arms
  6. Don't let your hips "swagger"
  7. Use powerful strides, heel to toe

Project Appleseed Marksmanship Clinic (2-Day) near Lancaster

Needs a location

Event Description:
"Project Appleseed" is a project run by the Revolutionary War Veteran’s Association (RWVA) to revitalize America’s heritage of rifle marksmanship and to promote America's Revolutionary War history. These workshops are relatively low-cost and suitable for both beginners and experienced shooters.

Project Appleseed's Marksmanship Clinics events are typically two-day programs that teach the rifle marksmanship skills that were once commonly practiced in America. The Instructors put in nearly 200 hours of training so they can teach the skills that will one day allow a Rifleman to be accurate out to 500 yards. This distance is known as the traditional “Rifleman’s Quarter Mile” and has been part of America’s marksmanship repertoire since our country’s earliest days. During breaks, the instructors will tell you the true story of the American Revolution, including the details of the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775.

Event Date & Time:
Sat., Oct. 1 - Sun., Oct. 2; 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Please get there a little early for registration, signing waivers, and getting setup.

Cost:

  • Adult Ticket = $75 + $10 range fee
  • Youth Ticket (under 18 with Parent/Guardian) = $30 + $10 range fee
  • Military/Police with ID = $30 + $10 range fee

Purchase Tickets at https://goappleseednow.org/?event=quarryville-pa-appleseed-october-1-2-2022

Note: Tickets are non-refundable. You'll receive your ticket in your email - if you don't see it, check your Junk/Spam folder, then contact the organizer at https://appleseedinfo.org/contact

Safety Notice:
Firearms must be cased and left in vehicle until after the Safety Briefing. Do not bring your firearms out until instructed to bring them to the firing line. No loaded firearms on the range unless on the firing line and load command has been given. Eye and ear protection required. No illegal firearms are allowed. Both Centerfire and 22 Rimfire rifles are allowed at this event. No rifle cartridges over 8mm cal or handgun cartridges over .45 cal are allowed.

What to Bring - Personal Items:

  • A teachable attitude (most important thing)
  • Ear protection (muffs and plugs)
  • Eye protection
  • Elbow pads or shooting Jacket
  • Ground cover (Rug remnant will work)
  • A hat
  • Little notebook (those little 2.5 X 3.5 work well)
  • Pen – not only for taking notes, but for marking your targets. A Sharpie marker is handy as well – and can mark your sights as well, so you won’t lose/forget your zero.
  • Sun Screen
  • Lots of water (stay hydrated)
  • Light Lunch
  • Snacks
  • Folding Chair (not necessary, but nice)
  • Wet wipes
  • Bug spray
  • Necessary clothing for any kind of weather

Rifle specific preparations:

  • Centerfire or 22 Rimfire rifle
  • Note: See the Appleseed Liberty Training Rifle document: https://appleseedinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/LTR.pdf
  • Rifle preferably zeroed for 25 meters
  • At least 500 rounds of ammo for a two day event
  • Sight adjustment tools
  • GI-style Web Sling - https://store.rwvaappleseed.com/page13.html
  • Two mags. 10 rds. each. Bring extra mags if you have them.
  • Gun cleaning supplies and lube
  • Instructions for your rifle (if you have them)
  • Something to cover your rifle to keep blowing sand or rain off it.
  • Staple gun with staples, or thumb tacks, or push-pins.
  • Back-up rifle (if you have one)

Ready your equipment

  • Be prepared for blowing sand and dust, rain, mud - i.e. all those weather conditions a rifleman would have to generally put up with.
  • In event of blowing sand and dust, you’ll need to totally degrease your rifle. Any lube should be a dry lube, like graphite. Be ready to protect your rifle with a plastic rifle bag or a simple waterproof wrap for the action.
  • Be ready to protect ammo and mags from the same weather. Ziplock bags are great for this.
  • You should function-test your rifle and, if possible, have it zeroed for 25 meters. Doing so will leave you properly sighted for the 25m Army Qualification Test (AQT).
  • It’s a good idea to get down into the prone position and dry-fire ten shots “by the numbers.” If you will do this three times a week, you’ll be way ahead of everyone else. While you’re at it, put a GI web sling on your rifle, and get it adjusted so it supports the rifle in prone position.
  • Practice at home is a GREAT way to prep for arriving at the range. By doing so, your range time will be FAR more productive.

For additional details, check out the "How to Prepare" page: https://appleseedinfo.org/how-to-prepare/

State Laws to be aware of:

  • State gun laws at the NRA: https://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/state-gun-laws/pennsylvania/
    It is the responsibility of attendees to know and comply with all State and Federal Firearms Laws.

Past events (187)

HFC Butchering Class near Lancaster

Needs a location

Photos (136)